DEL Equipment (UK), Britain’s number one manufacturer of column, tuckaway and bin lifts, is raising its game after acquiring the rights to supply, build and support the world-renowned ZEPRO range of cantilever lifts and sliders.
The deal – which was concluded for an undisclosed sum – opens up new markets to DEL, which is based in Witney, Oxfordshire. Its own lifts open and close manually and are aimed primarily at operators of light- and medium-sized commercial vehicles – ZEPRO’s products, by contrast, are designed for heavy-duty trucks and semi-trailers, and incorporate powered deployment as well as lifting systems.
Both companies are part of the multi-national Cargotec Corporation’s HIAB division, which is the largest tail-lift manufacturer in the world, and are renowned for the ‘bullet-proof’ build quality and reliability of their products.
The ZEPRO range was previously marketed in the UK by an agent based in Northern Ireland and wholly-owned by Dublin-based transport refrigeration and tail-lift specialist Technical Support Services. The TSS operation will continue to serve ZEPRO customers throughout Ireland, but from 1st April DEL assumes responsibility for supplying and supporting operators in England, Scotland and Wales. The two companies are working closely to ensure a smooth transition for customers.
Given DEL’s strength in this market, and its professional network of approved aftercare providers, the new arrangement offers ZEPRO the prospect of a much higher profile in the UK, and a significant increase in sales.
ZEPRO is based in Sweden, where it manufactures a wide range of cantilever and slider tail-lifts. Its products will now be shipped to the mainland UK where DEL will adapt them for use by domestic operators in its own production facility.
DEL plans by 2018 to have established a significant market share for ZEPRO lifts supplied to UK-based operators. Most will be cantilever platforms with carrying capacities of 500-3,000kg – when not in operation a cantilever lift forms the rear closure of the truck or trailer, negating the requirement for a back door and thereby saving weight. ZEPRO sliders are installed beneath the truck or semi-trailer chassis, and allow unhindered access to the rear doors.
DEL Managing Director Martin Saint declares: “The ZEPRO range represents a perfect ‘fit’ for our business. Customer satisfaction is our first priority and this extension to our product portfolio means that we are now in a position to supply a complete range of tail-lifts able to meet any requirement. We’re particularly excited that for the first time we can offer a broad selection of products which are perfectly suited to those running heavy trucks and semi-trailers.”
Although ZEPRO currently accounts for a relatively small share of the UK market, one operator that does rely on its tail-lifts is West Midlands-based SPAR distributor Blakemore Logistics. Its Distribution General Manager Dave Higgs says: “We’ve been a ZEPRO customer for a long time now, because its products are proven to last the course.”
Blakemore Logistics operates 187 trailers, the vast majority of which are fitted with ZEPRO lifts – most are cantilevers although the line-up also includes a number of sliders, which are more appropriate to certain applications. “We’re still running trailers which are 15 years old, but we’ve not had to refurbish the tail-lifts because they’ve never missed a beat,” adds Mr Higgs.
DEL Equipment (UK) has been designing and manufacturing tail lifts in Britain since 1987, and moved to its current, 64,000 sqft factory in Witney in 2006. The company has achieved impressive growth in each of the last five years and sold a record number of lifts last year on a turnover of £12 million – 60% of these were column lifts, for which DEL is the market leader.
Martin Saint concludes: “Through continuous research and product portfolio upgrading, DEL is advancing its offering to meet customers’ needs and expectations globally, with products that reduce life time costs, are durable, reliable, safe and easy to use. DEL’s product quality is guaranteed by innovative technical leadership. Our product development is based on our customers’ needs and our Production System allows us that flexibility to optimise utilisation between our facilities to provide the shortest delivery times.”