Huge new plant for COMBILIFT
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.