MATERIALS HANDLING: Combilift for Western Cape
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COMBILIFT, the Irish forklift manufacturer currently exporting to more than 50 markets in the global economy, including the Western Cape, has celebrated its tenth anniversary with the launch of the Combi-CB, a compact instrument needing very little space and capable of turning 360 degrees on the spot.
Having achieved a sharp growth curve over the decade since its first vehicle was sold, the company now claims world leadership in multi-directional forklifts and in long load handling. Says MD Martin McVicar: “Our innovative products have revolutionised the material handling industry by offering customers significantly improved space savings and productivity.
We currently have over 9 000 units in operation, with capacities from 2.5 to 14 tonnes.”
Danie Oosthuizen, Western Cape marketing manager of Shamrock Handling Concepts, the South African distributors of Combilift forklifts, says he has actively been building a market over the past year and a half. Current customers include Builder’s Warehouse, Union Steel and Euro Steel.
The company’s vehicles have three power sources to suit the environmental needs of the user: diesel, LP gas or electricity. Two smaller rubber wheels in front are balanced by only one large wheel in the middle of the vehicle’s other end, resulting in the world’s first all-wheel drive, engine-powered, multi-directional forklift.
In line with the corporate culture of engineering innovation, Combilift has turned out some 15 models. “We offer a customised range to suit various individual requirements,” says McVicar. “This customer-led approach has been a strong component of our success. Combilift can bring increased manoeuvrability and space savings to nearly any business that involves the transportation of long loads.”
The design, based on space-saving and improved storage capabilities in confined spaces, proved to be what the market wanted - within just four years Combilift was exporting to over 40 countries.
A larger factory was opened in 2006, capable of producing over 2 000 units annually. The latest model has meant a further expansion of the manufacturing premises. Some 9 500 units will be in operation by the end of this year and turnover is estimated to reach i100m by next year, one year ahead of Combilift’s 2006 projections.
Locally, ex-VAT prices range from R670 000 to R2.1 million. Before a quote is finalized, says Oosthuizen, a thorough study is made of the customer’s needs and the potential gains in storage space. The new compact model will retail at R555 000.
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