Concrete Products

JUL 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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92 • JULy 2018 COVER STORY MATERIAL HANDLING Ireland's Combilift has built a global presence in material handling equipment over the past two decades. To differentiate its offerings from standard machines, it initially focused on multidirectional lift trucks to handle long products, especially lumber, siding and steel service center stock, and navigate narrow storage conditions. Through Combilift USA, North Carolina, the manufacturer is well established in North American building materials and warehouse material handling equipment markets, and is now looking to bigger, taller orders with the Straddle Carrier series. The three-axle Combi-SC cranes are available in 22- to 120-ton capacity; the four-axle MG (Mobile Gantry) models in 45- or 90-ton capacities. Combilift USA has delivered series models to one U.S. and two Canadian precast and pipe operations, and aims to replicate in gantry-style cranes the successful template it parlayed in customized forklift solutions. NEW FLAGSHIP Backed with an international network of 250 dealers, Combilift exports nearly all of its output to 85 countries. It is gearing up for more exports to North America and around the globe on the strength of a $55 million, 500,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in Monaghan, about 90 minutes north of Dublin. Headcount is projected to grow considerably from its current 550, with an emphasis on skilled tech- nicians, design engineers, logistics and supply chain specialists, plus those with mechanical and electrical mechatronics skills. "We have employed an additional 230 people since we announced our plans for this factory in 2015. 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," says Managing Director Martin McVicar, who co-founded the business in 1998 with Technical Director Robert Moffett. "Combilift has set the benchmark for mass production of customized, innovative products. Mass customization is the new frontier as customers are increasingly expecting products to be tailored to their requirements. We take feedback from customers and dealers to identify solutions that best match their specific needs. We evolve with our clients." Combilift invests 7 percent of its annual sales to in research & development to improve machine customization capability and maximize equipment users' returns on investment, McVicar notes, adding, "The flexibility in our new facility means that we can con- tinue to accommodate any request for a customized material handling solution. We also see ourselves as much more than [an equipment] manufacturer and are transforming the transport and logistics sector with our innovative, space-spacing products and services." Combilift developed the world's first multidirectional, all-wheel drive forklift powered by an internal combustion engine. In its first year of operation, Combilift produced 18 units, 17 of which were exported. The company has more than doubled in the last five years, and counts more than 40,000 machines running in upwards of 90 countries. "Combilift has always focused on niche market segments and has a proven track record of launching one to two new products annually," McVicar observes. "In the first 10 years, [we] concentrated on the long load material handling sector. Between 2008 and 2018, CombiLift diversified its product ranged by developing heavy load handling products." — Combilift USA, Greensboro, N.C., 877/COMBI56; www. New plant, technology investments steer Combilift to bigger picks The new flagship occupies a 100-acre site and, with an 11-acre foot- print, is one of Ireland's largest manufacturing operations under a single roof. Skylights comprise 30 percent of the roof area and augment 1,100 LED fixtures with individual PIR sensors. Solar pan- els supply 185 kW of energy, while a 1-MW biomass plant—running on recycled wood fuel—heats assembly areas and spraying booths. Combilift holds ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environ- ment Management and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safe- ty Assessment Series certifications. Concrete Products (entry, interior) PHOTO: Combilift

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