Hyster president Paul Laroia (left) in the Hyster E80AC and Yale president Don Chance (right) in the first truck produced in Greenville, the Yale K58.
Nacco Materials Handling Group (NMHG) has celebrated production of its 500,000th forklift, the Hyster E80AC, at the Greenville, North Carolina, plant.
Greenville plant manager Don Mills paid tribute to NMHG employees for their dedication and commitment to quality and delivery he said was consistent with the same high standards implemented when the plant opened 32 years ago.
According to Cox News Service
, NMHG's Greenville presence began when its predecessor, Eaton Corp, opened a 350,000 square foot (32,516 sqaure metre) plant in the Greenville Industrial Park in 1974. The Greenville plant then had 128 employees, manufactured two models of forklifts and delivered 300 units in 1974.
In 1984, Nacco Industries took over the business and it became known as Yale Materials Handling Corp. In 1989, Hyster-Yale Materials Holding Inc Nacco was formed and the name was later changed to NMHG.
Today NMHG Greenville's 500,000 square foot (46,452 square metre) facility has more than 600 employees and manufactures more than 28,000 forklifts annually. NMHG, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, sells forklifts under the Hyster and Yale brands.
National Fork Truck Heritage Centre founder and owner James Brindley said the first commercial forklift in the world was a Yale.
"In 1924, the Clark Company produced a prototype lifting machine. Its operating mechanism was very basic and relied totally on open linked chains for its lifting capability. Due to the machine having no tilt facility, it is extremely doubtful it was designed to handle unit loads.
"As such, the Yale Company was the first to see the potential in producing a truck to deal with unit loads and, in 1925, built the first commercial battery-powered truck to have raising forks and a mast with tilting capability," Brindley said.
To view a picture of the first forklift, a Yale 1925, see last week's industry profile on James Brindley