Celebrating their 20-year anniversary of lifting innovation, Combilift (Monaghan, Ireland) officially opened their new $57 million, 500,000 sq ft global headquarters and manufacturing facility that will allow them to double production. Established in 1998, Combilift currently exports 98 percent of their products to 85 countries through a 250-strong international dealer network.
This purpose-built factory is set on a 100 acre site with room for expansion. With 11 acres of roof space, it is one of the largest manufacturing operations under one single roof in the Republic of Ireland. Incorporating the latest manufacturing processes with a focus on sustainability, the new factory will enable the company to double their output in a single shift across all production lines. Four 90 m moving assembly lines produce a finished truck every 15 minutes. A full 30 percent of the roof space is covered in skylights that enable staff to work in natural daylight without the assistance of artificial lighting. Lighting is provided through 1,100 LED light with individual PIR sensors. Solar panels supply 185 kW of energy with a one MW Biomass plant fueled by recycled wood (pallets, etc) to heat the spraying boots and assembly area, and 110,000 litres of rainwater is harvested for use throughout the facility.
More than 50 truckloads of finished products are dispatched to 85 countries each week. Spare parts are also shipped across the world from Monaghan to the dealer network. Certified to international quality and safety management standards, the new headquarters and manufacturing facility has been awarded ISO 9001 international quality management system, ISO 14001 Environment Management and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series.
“Mass customization is the new frontier for both the customer and the manufacturer,” explained Martin McVicar, the managing director of Combilift and an acknowledged world leader in the material handling sector, as he attributed the company’s impressive growth to this industrial trend. “Increasingly customers are expecting products to be tailored to meet their needs. Forklift producers that offer customized equipment generally produce low volume, but we are setting a benchmark by offering the mass production of tailored machines, resulting in a strategic advantage for our users. Traditional forklift manufacturers focus on high volume mass production of the same products. We evolve with our clients, producing new products each year. The flexibility in this new facility means that we can continue to accommodate any customer request for a customized material handling system because we can double production and remain focused on the needs of our customers and dealers. We have become much more than a forklift manufacturer and are transforming the transport and logistics sector with our innovative, space-spacing products.”
Combilift offers a free logistic and warehouse design service: Combi-Connect allows the customer to see the benefit the product will bring to their business. “Our engineers proactively design, plan and produce systems in collaboration with our customers by offering material flow analysis and 3D animations. We work with customers to produce warehouse designs to visualize the capacity potential as well as the optimum flow of materials on their site,” added McVicar. “We invest seven percent of our annual turnover (revenue) in research and development (R & D) to enhance our customization capability. We are intensifying the collaboration with our customers in the warehouse and material handling sectors. The intent is to maximize return on revenue (ROI).”
Established by McVicar and technical director Robert Moffett in 1998, Combilift is a privately held and fully capitalized company that developed the world’s first multi-directional all-wheel drive IC engine-powered forklift. In their first year of operation, they produced 18 units, 17 of which were exported. They have more than doubled in the last five years and now have 40,000 units in operation in over 85 countries, with a focus on niche market segments and a proven track record of launching one to two new products annually. In the first ten years the company concentrated on the long load material handling sector, then later diversified by developing a number of innovative space-saving warehouse and heavy load handling products. In the last five years they have entered the pedestrian forklift market with the introduction a number of unique lifts that benefit from patented multi-positional operator tiller arm technology.
Combilift sees a growing demand for pedestrian trucks driven by safety concerns where customers and/or employees are in the vicinity of operating forklifts. “It is our intention to significantly expand our pedestrian forklift range, as can be seen with the launch of the high lift capacity Combilift Powered Pallet Truck (Combi-PPT),” stated McVicar.
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