Lift truck manufacturer, Hyster-Yale Group, is expanding its site in Northern Ireland as it celebrates 40 years in business.
The Craigavon facility, which was officially opened on in April 1981, was built and equipped with the most up-to-date robot systems and equipment.
Over the years the plant has grown to be the largest volume forklift plant in the UK, manufacturing thousands of electric, diesel, and LPG forklifts each year for export throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The site, around 30 miles from Belfast, employs hundreds of people from the local area. This year, five team members will also celebrate the milestone of 40 years with the company, while more than 100 current employees at the site have 30 years or more of service.
“The success of our plant at Craigavon is driven by our people, where we see incredible dedication, perseverance, and loyalty from the team at all levels, with an average length of service of 17 years,” commented Jim Downey, plant manager for Hyster-Yale Group EMEA in Craigavon. “Over the last four decades, our people have worked together to conquer challenges, embrace new opportunities, and maintain forward momentum, and that is why our facility continues to succeed, evolve, and grow.”
Transformation remains key to the Craigavon facility, where expansion of the 500,000ft2 site is currently in progress, in preparation for future manufacturing demands and product lines.
The company has invested millions over the past two years developing the factory, which incorporates leading technologies and up-to-date automated systems. The extension will also create dozens of new jobs, including continued investment in apprenticeships.
“We have great confidence in the talent pool in Northern Ireland and are fortunate to have so many long-standing employees that bring with them significant expertise, including many of our management team who started their careers here on the shop floor,” added Mr Downey. “However, at the same time, we are keen to optimise our operations with automation and new ways of working that best support our workforce and deliver the quality our customers need.”
Quality is key to the facility at Craigavon, which has been the recipient of numerous awards in its history. Among the team’s achievements is ISO 50001 certification for its commitment to energy efficiency, and sustainability continues to be a key driver for the company during its latest site expansion.
The new 60,000ft2 extension to the factory will be known as the Sands Building, in honour of Harry Sands, former senior VP and managing director, EMEA, for Hyster-Yale Group based in Craigavon, who retired in 2020 after 40 years with the company.