The Heico Companies has acquired Dutch firm Ancra Systems B.V. with plans to bring the company’s automatic truck loading/unloading system to North American markets.
Ancra Systems is based in Boxtel, Netherlands and expands Heico's holdings of cargo management entities. Heico is a parent holding company for a portfolio of more than 36 businesses involved in manufacturing, construction and industrial services.
“This acquisition will bring advanced loading system technology to the North American trucking and material handling sectors and extend the advantages of automation throughout the warehouse, to the docks and into the trailers,” said Steve Frediani, president and CEO of Heico’s Ancra unit. “The addition of Ancra Systems positions Heico as a global player in the automated cargo management, loading, control and unloading space.”
Ancra’s automated system can load or unload a trailer with palletized cargo in about three minutes, according to the company. The system can also have safety benefits as forklift-based cargo movement leads to about 34,800 serious injuries each year, according to OSHA. The automated system can reduce the opportunity for human error within a facility and potentially increase safety.
“Automation and the efficiencies it brings has already permeated many dimensions of manufacturing and warehouse operations in Europe and North America,” said Marc Hezemans, managing director for Ancra. “The difference is that many European operations have been enjoying the additional benefits of our automated truck loading and unloading systems for more than 20 years.”
Ancra offers six different systems with custom-designed capabilities that include a Chain Conveyor System and Skate System for palletized freight, a Roller Conveyor System for air cargo, a Slat Conveyor System for mixed and palletized freight, a Plastic Belt System for mixed and palletized freight and a Belt Conveyor System for loose loaded parcels.
The Skate Loader and Load Runner Plus systems require no trailer mounted interface upfits or retrofits to gain the benefits of the ATLS.
Likely candidates for the company’s system applications are manufacturers or distributors of high-volume, relatively standardized products operating in closed-loop environments, JIT scenarios and certain one-way loading applications. Industries include trucking, logistics, material handling, food, beverage, cold chain and a wide variety of manufacturers, particularly Tier One and Tier Two suppliers in close proximity to customers.
“We expect to have our North American sales and technical support in position by the end of the first quarter of 2017,” said Marcel Berkers, sales director for Ancra. “We’ve watched these systems positively change industries around the world, and we expect the same thing to occur here in North America as well.”