Here comes the Combiwaltz
By Allan Jackson – September 2008
Hotels in and around Monaghan in Ireland were packed to capacity in early September as members of the media from all round the world jetted in to attend the launch of the Combi-CB, Combilift’s unique new compact multi-directional forklift truck.
The contingent of South African journalists were bussed from our hotel, the magnificent Castle Leslie, to Combilift’s new headquarters in Gallinagh in the heart of rural County Monaghan, just outside the town of Monaghan.
We arrived in a typical Irish on-and-off drizzle but found our hosts were well prepared with large umbrellas (green, of course) for each of the nearly 200 guests. We soon learnt that Combilift had been formed in 1998 by Martin McVicar and Robert Moffett, who had designed the truck-mounted Moffett Mountie forklift. Moffet sold his business manufacturing the Mountie and, together with McVicar, formed Combilift, where he soon developed the Combilift, the first engine-powered multi-directional forklift.
It wasn’t long before we were introduced to the new CB in a show which left the assembled media buzzing with interest. A truck and trailer carrying a 40ft container appeared in the car park and the container was unloaded using a Moffett-designed side-lifter, integrated into the trailer.
Once the container was safely on the ground, its doors burst open and out drove four of the new machines in their standard green and grey colour scheme. I was frankly amazed at the manoeuvres they could accomplish, thanks to their multi-directional three-wheel drive systems.
The machines demonstrated their ability to move in any direction and spin on their axes, but an even more impressive display was to follow after a short factory tour. The four CBs, two of which were driven by Moffett’s red-headed sons Sam and Josh, put on a show for us.
I had heard of the Old Tennessee Waltz and the Last Waltz, but never that it had been done by forklifts as well. Yet there we were, being enthralled by the sight of the four CBs pirouetting and gliding about in perfect time to the music. Move over Riverdance, here comes Combiwaltz!
There was one very special experience in store for many of us when we were taken up in turns for a flip over the Monaghan countryside by Moffett in his helicopter. The view was incredible and, with green fields in every direction, you can quite easily see why it’s called the Emerald Isle.
Later on in the day, we were taken on a bus trip to various Combilift customers in the vicinity. We visited a builder’s merchant, who had been running a Combi-CB for a year on a trial basis.
It was easy to see that the machine was equally at home in the confined spaces of the warehouse, picking goods for customers, or out in the yard moving stacks of pipe or pallets of peat. The same operation also has a 4-Ton Combilift which is used for heavier loads or longer ones, such as roof trusses.