Hyster is currently a global leader in forklifts and warehousing solutions. However, it started as a manufacturer of lifting machinery and winches. Most of its production was concentrated in the northwest United States and dealt mostly with the wood and logging industry. A couple years after the first forklift trucks were invented Hyster became synonymous with quality manufacturing. Over the previous eighty years Hyster has continued to expand and grow its product line. The growth of its products coupled with its want to stay service oriented has allowed Hyster to mature into the global participant it is now.
In the period between 1940 and 1960, Hyster continued its growth throughout the western world. In 1946, Hyster opened a plant in Danville, Illinois that was entirely dedicated to mass producing trucks. This allowed Hyster to drive its costs down and, simultaneously, offer a better quality product at industry aggressive rates. In 1952, Hyster began its first foray in to the international production market through opening its first plant in the Netherlands. The Netherlands plant was originally designed to produce two products: Hyster 40" and the Karry Kranes.
Between the late 50's through the sixties, Hyster continued to expand into new markets. They began building container handlers in the US in 1959 to satisfy the ever expanding demand for transportation goods. In 1966, Hyster developed a process for enabling a lift truck to go both forward and backwards using the same pedal. This pedal was referred to as the Monotrol pedal, which revolutionized the industry. Later in the decade Hyster opened a R and D centre in Oregon that was concentrated on improving the design and functionality of forklifts. The centre is still one of the world's best testing facilities in the materials handling industry.
As demand for materials handling equipment continued to expand swiftly during the 60's, Hyster needed to reorient its focus towards these new mass markets. As a consequence, in 1970, the XL design philosophy was born. The XL design philosophy allowed Hyster to supply superior quality at a more inexpensive cost. A further expansion in production capabilities was necessitated by the need in Europe for Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles. To plug this hole, a plant in Craigavon, Ireland was opened in 1980. Through the 1980's Hyster continued to focus on developing industry leading lift trucks. The Hyster brand name was recognized throughout the world for its commitment towards excellence. This attention to excellence produced many suitors for the enterprise. In 1989, a large international corporation based in Ohio called NACCO Industries bought Hyster and started an aggressive expansion strategy. NACCO rapidly changed the XL philosophy with a more driver oriented lift truck that concentrated on operator comfort, which is identified as the XM generation of trucks.
With the comprehensive change towards just-in-time management methods, Hyster has been required to keep up with the trends through investment in new and diverse technologies. Acquisitions and investments were made in the US, Italy, Netherlands, and many other places all over the world. All of these investments have made Hyster a international leader in the forklift market. Recently, Hyster celebrated its eightieth anniversary as an industry leader of materials handling equipment, which consists of over three hundred different models of forklift trucks.
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