As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, it’s vital that businesses adapt their practices to keep their employees and clients safe, and keep business rolling. With social distancing and hygiene a top priority, new best-practices and processes need to be implemented, as well as rethinking how offices and warehouses operate.

Materials handling equipment specialists, Combilift, is rising to the challenge of adapting to the new normal as workers return to work in its Ireland-based headquarters.

After a three week shutdown at the Monaghan manufacturing plant and headquarters in Ireland, Combilift implemented several changes in how it operates to better protect its 600 plant workers from the contagious virus.

Traditional thumb-print entry requirements were replaced with an individual fob system to reduce exposure at the plant, as well as utilising thermal imaging cameras which notify HR of any workers displaying high body temperatures.

In addition to new entry practices, Combilift has implemented two shifts for workers, halving the number of employees at the plant at any one time and allowing for more room to ensure social distancing procedures.

On the warehouse floor, markers have been set up to indicate safe working distances of 2m and the cafeteria has been closed and eight smaller cafeterias opened in designated zones to accommodate different areas of the factory.

Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder of Combilift, at the headquarters in Monaghan, Ireland

Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder of Combilift, at the headquarters in Monaghan, Ireland

Martin McVicar, CEO and co-founder of Combilift, said Combilift is also limiting face to face meetings where possible to further ensure safety measures.

“I give regular updates by video instead of the personal staff assemblies that we previously did every six weeks and this ongoing communication ensures that employees are continually informed and therefore understand that the measures we are taking are in everyone’s best interests,” Mr McVicar said.

The pandemic has also affected the way the sales department operates with international and local travel restrictions affecting the team’s ability to visit prospective customers.

However, Combilift has implemented a new, innovative approach to client relations with the help of technology.

Sales associates are now able to utilise Whatsapp and Facebook video chat to meet with clients face to face. The video chat option also allows potential customers to take videos and images of sites that have potential for improved efficiency.

From there, Combilift can use the video footage to create a 3D virtual site model and map out areas where their products can increase storage space and efficiency.

Mr McVicar said the new approach will allow customers to benefit from Combilift’s expertise in space optimisation and warehouse layouts to ensure that they make optimum use of one their most precious commodities – space.

In addition to the innovative changes it has made to keep their employees safe, Combilift has also developed a ground-breaking piece of medical equipment to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Drawing on its expertise in engineering and software design, the manufacturer has utilised electronic control flow valves to create the Combi-Ventilate – a sophisticated ventilator splitting system which is able to split the flow of a ventilator into multiple ventilation stations.

This innovative device is able to be produced at a quarter of the cost of a traditional ventilator and had a 5 week turn around from conception to final product – saving time, money and possibly lives.

This partner content is brought to you by Combilift. For more information, visit

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