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Hyster is an industry leader in the materials handling industry that has been in business for more than 80 years. However, it started as a producer of lifting machines and winches. Most of its production was concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and dealt mostly with the lumber and logging industry. A couple years after the first forklift trucks were invented Hyster became synonymous with quality production. Over the previous 80 years Hyster has continued to get bigger and develop its product line. The expansion of its products coupled with its desire to stay service oriented has allowed Hyster to mature into the worldwide player it is in the present day.
Hyster experienced major improvements through the 1940's and 1960's. In 1946, Hyster opened a plant in Danville, Illinois that was totally committed 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.
Hyster continued to aggressively expand its production operations throughout the 50's and 60's. They started building container handlers in the United states in 1959 to meet with the ever growing demand for transportation goods. In 1966, Hyster developed a method for enabling a lift truck to go both forward and backwards using the same pedal. This pedal was termed the Monotrol pedal, which revolutionized the industry. Later in the decade Hyster opened a R and D centre in Oregon that was focused on enhancing the design and performance of forklifts. The centre is still one of the world's greatest testing facilities in the materials handling industry.
The sixties was characterized by rapid growth throughout the whole materials handling industry. Due to this, Hyster considered it necessary to refocus its approach towards these emergent mass markets. Hence, in 1970, the XL design philosophy was born. The XL design philosophy allowed Hyster to offer greater quality at a more inexpensive price. A further expansion in manufacturing capabilities was necessitated by the demand in Europe for Internal Combustion Engine Trucks. To plug this hole, a plant in Craigavon, Ireland was opened in 1980. Through the 80's Hyster continued to concentrate on developing industry leading forklifts. The Hyster brand name was known throughout the world for its dedication towards quality. This attention to quality brought numerous suitors for the business. In 1989, a large multinational corporation based in Ohio called NACCO Industries purchased Hyster and started an aggressive growth plan. NACCO rapidly replaced the XL philosophy with a more driver oriented truck that focused on operator comfort, which is known as the XM generation of forklifts.
The changing requirements of Hyster's valued clientele, led by changes in supply chain management, required Hyster to continuously innovate and make investments in new production technology throughout the next few decades. Acquisitions and investments were made in the US, Italy, Netherlands, and a lot of other places throughout the globe. All of these investments have made Hyster a global leader in the lift truck market. In 2009, Hyster celebrated its eightieth anniversary as an industry leader of materials handling equipment, which includes over 300 different types of lift trucks.