DUBLIN — Combilift, the Ireland-based manufacturer of forklifts, celebrated its 25th anniversary on Sept. 25 at its headquarters in Monaghan, Ireland, with the release of new products that can help optimize material handling for roofing distributors.

Combilift's newest product, the Combi-AGT (Autonomous Guided Forklift Truck), is an automated narrow-aisle forklift. Using a laser-based guidance system, the Combi-AGT can operate autonomously in guided aisles and free-roaming while also featuring a manual driving option.

Martin McVicar, CEO of Combilift, said the company invests 7% of its annual revenue in R&D.

"It's really an innovation culture," he said. "We've been developing over the last 25 years, and thankfully, it has allowed us to really develop products."

The automated forklift is already being used in the United States, mainly in the steel industry. McVicar recounted how one of its first customers in North America was a metal roofing manufacturer, so its machines have long supported the industry.

Combi-AGT_550.jpg"It enabled them to handle these long, corrugated sheets of product out narrow doors, saving space, and metal roofing was one of the first industries ... we really made an impact on."

The company said in a statement that it has deliberately taken its time to incorporate automation into its products.

"As with any new launch we have carried out extensive field tests to make sure it is 100% fit for purpose and exactly what our customers want," the company said in a statement. "The Combi-AGT signals a new milestone in product development with further expansion of our autonomous range."

The company has also introduced Combi-Connect, a telematic software that provides real-time data for improved fleet management. Combilift made a point of saying the system provides useful insights versus simply providing raw data.

While more data can be drawn from electric forklifts, company representatives said the telematics can be used on other trucks regardless of fuel type.

Combilift's milestone is marked by the company employing 800 people in Monaghan and more than 200 people globally. The company held a celebration at its Monaghan headquarters, including a factory tour, as well as at nearby Castle Leslie.

Be sure to visit roofingsupplypro.com next week for or more information about Combilift's new products and 25th anniversary.