Huge new plant for COMBILIFT

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

FOR A COM­PANY that has 40,000 units in use world­wide, Combilift i s a brand that has f lown a bit un­der the radar in New Zealand, but that could change with the open­ing of a new plant that will en­able the man­u­fac­turer to dou­ble i t s out­put within the next five years.

The com­pany was founded t wo decades ago by Martin McVicar and Robert Mof­fett who had al­ready made a name for him­self by de­sign­ing the Mof­fett Mounty, a truck­mounted fork­lift.

There are t wo main prod­uct lines. The first i s with Combilift’s roots in what i s de­scribed as a unique range of fork­lifts, which were de­vloped when the com­pany saw a need to have in­no­va­tive rather than ‘me too’ prod­ucts in a crowded mar­ket space. These started with the unique mul­tidirec­tional C Se­ries and now in­cludes

other mod­els for side­load­ing and nar­row aisle work. Rather than work i n the stan­dard fork­lift area Combilift has spe­cialised around long loads, nar­row aisle lo­gis­tics and man­u­fac­tur­ing ap­pli­ca­tions – with the var­ied f leet in i t s own plant show­ing just how well they work in that en­vi­ron­ment. We will cover the range fur­ther in a future i ssue.

The sec­ond line i s the strad­dle car­ri­ers. These were orig­i­nally built for con­tainer han­dling at de­pots, where they pro­vide an ef­fi­cient way to l oad and un­load con­tain­ers and stack up to t wo- high. This range has now been de­vel­oped for han­dling any l ong l oad with ap­pli­ca­tions i n mov­ing struc­tural steel, con­crete beams and pan­els and such like. They find ap­pli­ca­tions i n man­u­fac­tur­ing, bridge build­ing as well as l ogis­tics. There are around 50 cur­rently op­er­at­ing i n New Zealand and we will also cover these i n a f uture i ssue.

Over t he years, t he com­pany ex­panded t hrough sev­eral f ac­to­ries, so i n 2015 i t was de­cided to bring all t he strands back to­gether and build a new plant.

The new f ac­tory cov­ers 46,500 sqm on a 100- acre site at a cost EUR50m. There are f our pro­duc­tion l i nes churn­ing out a f i nished t r uck ev­ery 15 min­utes. Combilift em­ploys around 550 staf f di­rectly and an­other 250 i n l ocal sup­pli­ers – i t only man­u­fac­tures some key com­po­nents i nhouse, bring­ing many oth­ers i n f rom sub­con­trac­tors.

The f ac­tory i s very close to the North­ern I re­land bor­der, across which around 60 staff l i ve. Cur­rently, the big­gest i ndi­ca­tor that you have crossed i nto the South i s that the road signs change f rom kilo­me­tres to miles and the l i nes at the side of the road f rom yel­low to white. Should Brexit go ahead and a hard bor­der i s put i n place, staff will be af fected.

Combilift ex­ports 98 per­cent of i t s pro­duc­tion to 85 coun­tries and the new plant will en­able i t to dou­ble pro­duc­tion. At the of­fi­cial open­ing, McVicar com­mented that the com­pany’s strength i s mass cus­tomi­sa­tion; that i s, hav­ing proven mod­els but be­ing will­ing and able to adapt to cus­tomer needs whilst still pro­duc­ing on a pro­duc­tion line. This i s aided by i nvest­ing 7 per­cent of turnover i n R& D.

Sus­tain­abil­ity i s also t aken care of. The new plant now uses wa­ter- based paint, r ain­wa­ter i s har­vested f or j et wash­ing and bath­rooms, so­lar pan­els are on the roof and t here i s a 1 MW biomass plant f uelled by re­cy­cled wood f rom pal­lets and pack­ag­ing f rom i nwards goods.

With the new plant in oper­a­tion and some in­ter­est­ing new prod­ucts we can ex­pect to see many more Com­bilifts in New Zealand.

PLANT. ETOTHE NEW ENTRANC ONE OF THE LINES.

DEMM PUB­LISHER, CATHY PARKER WAS A GUEST AT THE OPEN­ING OF COMBILIFT’S-EURO GLOBAL HEAD­QUAR­TERS AND MAN­U­FAC­TUR­ING FA­CIL­ITY IN MONAGH AN, IRE­LAND.

MORE R&D THE TILT TA­BLE. CHAS­SIS READY FOR ASSEM­BLY. ASSEM­BLY IN PROGRESS. STRAD­DLE CAR­RIER. R&D COM­PO­NENTS.

STRAD­DLE CAR­RIER FRAME.

CADCAM IN THE ENGI­NEER­ING OF­FICE.

NEARLY THERE.

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