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October 2018
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Combilift celebrates 20 years with new world headquarters, new product and a party
Eileen Schmidt
Eileen Schmidt

In just two decades, leaders of the business Combilift say the company has maintained its Irish roots while also becoming a major presence on the world stage as a manufacturer of multi-dimensional forklifts and long handling solutions.

Founded by Robert Moffett and Martin McVicar, both of whom boast engineering backgrounds, Combilift was the result of Moffett and McVicar’s effort to design “the world’s first internal combustion engine powered, all-wheel drive, multi-directional forklift,” the company website said.

Today, the company bills itself as a material handling solutions provider. Combilift’s current product lines include: multidirectional forklifts, sideloader forklifts, pedestrian stackers, straddle carriers, poultry and agricultural forklifts, and warehousing forklifts, according to the business website. 

This year, the business opened a global manufacturing and world headquarters in Monaghan, Ireland to coincide with the 20th anniversary of operation. The new $50 million facility is 500,000-square-feet, housing the company’s 550 employees.

“We have employed an additional 230 people since we announced our plans for this factory in 2015 and the combination of this state of the art production plant and the growing skilled workforce will allow us to double production within the next five years,” said McVicar, managing director, in a press release. The statement said the company will be looking to hire skilled technicians, design engineers, logistics and supply chain specialists and workers with mechanical and electrical mechatronics skills.

At an official opening of the facility in April, McVicar said the production will double in the next five years, thanks to the state of the art plant and the skilled workforce, according to a company statement. 

Combilift exports 98 percent of its products to 85 countries through an international dealer network.

McVicar said the growth of the operation is due a strategy of mass customization and innovations. “Mass customisation (sic) is the new frontier for both the customer and the manufacturer as customers are increasingly expecting products to be tailored to their requirements,” he said, in the statement, adding that the new facility will allow Combilift to “accommodate any request for a customized material handling solution.”

McVicar said Combilift leaders see the operation as more than a forklift manufacturer, but rather a transformer of the transport and logistics sectors.

In addition to the new facility, Combilift this year launched a purpose built order picker. The Combi-OP is the first purpose built order picker for long products on the worldwide market, according to a company statement. 

Some other facts and figures cited in video produced by Combilift include:

  • 3 million pounds of steel used per week
  • There is a seven-day turnaround from fabrication to final product
  • A customized truck is produced every 15 minutes
  • The new warehouse includes 60 welding bays, three automatic shot blasters, and 12,000 pallet locations

Eileen Schmidt is a freelance writer and journalist based in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has written for print and online publications for the past 12 years. Email editorial@mhwmag.com or visit eileenmozinskischmidt.wordpress.com to contact Eileen. 

 
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