The last gang in town
12 December 2012
The only counterbalance factory left in the UK provides the bedrock for Hyster's offering to the EMEA region. Simon Duddy travelled to Craigavon to report for HSS readers. Approximately 14,000 forklift trucks are manufa
Approximately 14,000 forklift trucks are manufactured each year at the NACCO Materials Handling Group (NMHG) factory in Craigavon, Northern Ireland. In April, the international materials handling press descended on the plant for the Hyster Promise to Proof event designed to provide evidence and proof of the Hyster promise.
Kate Pointeau, Hyster brand manager explains: "The Craigavon factory provides the perfect platform from which to uncover what is behind the Hyster brand and prove that what we say is true with evidence and fact." The press were invited to inspect a range of trucks, tour the production line and examine quality procedures, interview key personnel and join in presentations about how Hyster and its distribution partners connect with forklift users to provide application specific solutions.
The Craigavon factory is the only counterbalanced forklift truck factory left in the UK and served as an ideal venue for the event, as 83% of all products manufactured in the Craigavon plant are exported to Europe, Russia, Africa and the Middle East, making the site a significant contributor to the UK's export drive.
"By inviting press to this event, we wanted to prove that UK forklift manufacturing is not only strong, it is leading in design and manufacturing quality," says Kate.
The 35,896 m2 (386,241 sq ft) Craigavon factory opened in April 1981, now employs over 600 people and is the most vertically integrated NMHG facility worldwide. It has seen significant investments in the last couple of years and maintains a philosophy of high volume, low cost, high quality and on time delivery.
In January 2012, The European Foundation of Quality Management awarded the NMHG plant in Craigavon, the prestigious Northern Ireland Quality Award 2011.
Hyster benefits from the expertise and resources of a global manufacturing organisation, with operations in 12 locations across the globe producing quality components and assembling complete trucks for different world markets. All manufacturing sites are ISO certified and employ world class manufacturing technology and state of the art processes, including Demand Flow Technology (DFT). The Craigavon plant makes a significant contribution to the overall NMHG output.
From concept to launch, every new Hyster product follows a carefully structured development process. Each step must confirm that the product will deliver all the intended benefits to its future users.
Thorough testing and life-cycle simulation verify the dependability of the truck design, while close cooperation among manufacturing, marketing and service functions ensures that new products can be built and supported to consistently high quality standards.
At world-class test facilities, components and prototypes undergo test cycles equivalent to years of continuous truck operation in extreme conditions. Field testing in "real life" application sites, then allows Hyster to gather further data and confirm that the product is meeting all the design targets before launching to market.
In addition to design centres at NMHG factories across the world, the Hyster brand will now also benefit from the opening of a concept centre in Hampshire. The new centre complements and supports the existing design centres with a truly global view and the highly experienced team of engineers will develop 3D models, build prototype forklifts and components, test and validate equipment prior to introduction into the manufacturing process.