Combilift’s 13th year has definitely not been an unlucky one for this dynamic materials handling manufacturer. It has launched new models, introduced more innovations to its range and sales-wise has had an impressive year as MD Martin McVicar explains: “In 2011 we produced in excess of 2,300 units in total across our product range, exceeding our highest levels of 2008 when it comes to personnel and sales figures. We have taken on over 50 new staff, bringing the head count at the manufacturing facility and HQ to 220. We have also built a dedicated new facility for our Straddle Carrier, which needed a larger production area than our forklifts due to its size.”
January saw the global launch of the Combi-RT, designed specifically for the requirements of the poultry sector. It was developed together with one of the UK’s largest providers to the poultry processing sector, Keyo Agricultural Services and both companies believe this rough terrain truck represents a significant step forward in the handling of live poultry. Martin McVicar: “Most forklifts previously used in this sector have been modified versions of mainstream models. We took the exact requirements of catching, handling and transportation into account to develop this purpose built, no-compromise machine, which reduces the stress levels and enhances the welfare of the poultry.” The RT is a finalist in the Innovation category for the upcoming FLTA awards.
On the company’s largest ever stand at CeMAT in May Combilift showcased 16 exhibits, over a third of which were shown for the first time. The skilled drivers of the Combi-CB display team also had their premiere at CeMAT, drawing large crowds for their regular performances of the impressive CB dance routine. By far the largest exhibit was the Straddle Carrier, designed for the flexible and economic handling of containers and similarly oversized loads. The Straddle Carrier was developed after Combilift spotted a gap in the container handling market for a cost effective, very light but nevertheless extremely stable alternative to container handling forklifts, reach stackers or mobile cranes. It offers customers complete independence when it comes to moving products around a site. Savings made by not having to hire other equipment make for a very quick return on the initial capital investment. The standard Straddle Carrier is a three-wheel patented design model, with a 35t capacity, with much lower ground pressure per wheel than reach stackers even when loaded to full capacity.
The Combilift ‘core’ C series has also been given a makeover and now comes with a roomier cab, a redesigned dash panel for improved ergonomics and a curved windscreen with the addition of more glass for even better driver visibility. The original 2.5t capacity 4-way counterbalance design Combi-CB range has been augmented by the addition of 3t and 4t CB’s with the option of AC electric power on the two lighter capacity models. BAE Systems has recently taken delivery of an electric 3t CB which is in operation at its Samlesbury site in the north-west of England. The CB’s ability to handle different sized loads such as packs of timber, standard pallets and longer, more cumbersome CIC containers which hold aircraft canopies has enabled BAE to significantly reduce the amount of trucks in its goods-in area for more streamlined, cost effective and safer handling procedures.
Never one to rest on its laurels, watch this space for news of more Combilift innovations in 2012.
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