Linamar Corp.’s Skyjack division, Guelph, Ontario, Canada is outlining a larger program of activities that have seen a global transformation of its manufacturing footprint in the last 12 months. This transformation is set to represent a potential global unit capacity increase of 235 percent globally when compared to today’s (2022) capacity and will take the number of manufacturing plants from two in Canada to five globally with new facilities in China, Europe (Hungary) and Mexico.
“Prior to COVID we were pushing the boundaries at our Canadian plants to the extent that we simply had no more space. COVID itself brought a new series of challenges that highlighted the need to revisit supply chain and logistics structures with a view to more localization,” said Ken McDougall, Skyjack president.
The initial phase of development has seen an increase in fabrication and vertical integration at the company’s Canadian plants. These changes will see a focus on the production of vertical masts, DC, and RT scissors, with telehandlers and booms moving to the new plant in Mexico. Skyjack also will develop the Canadian plants as an innovation hub that will see an increased advanced engineering structure and the co-ordination of design and development activities across the company’s regional structure, now consisting of three regional business units: Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.
“It is an exciting time for our Canadian plants. Our plans call for a significant increase in headcount and a positive change as we develop vertical integrations and an improved work environment,” McDougall added.
Earlier in 2022 Skyjack announced its intentions to open manufacturing facilities in China. This project would consist of two phases. The first units came off the production line in September 2022, marking the completion of phase one which saw the use of a 35,000 sq. ft. facility utilized with the help of Skyjack’s parent company, Linamar. Their plant, located in Tianjin, initially focused on the company’s smaller DC scissors. Phase two, which was launched with a ground-breaking ceremony in October 2022, will see a greenfield facility developed with 400,000 sq. ft. This plant’s production will focus on DC scissors and booms with output supplying to the Asia-Pacific and Australian regions. This new facility is scheduled to be in production in the third quarter of 2023.
“We have had our eye on the Chinese market for some time. The key to success here is the ability to commit to the region and in turn that means an in-market manufacturing presence. We have been lucky enough to benefit from our parent company’s existing infrastructure in the short term and we are now focused on building up sales and distribution networks,” McDougall said.
The year 2022 also saw increased activity in Europe as Skyjack expanded in Oros, Hungary. The facility offers 113,000 sq. ft. of space. Production of the new SJ45 AJ and SJ60 AJ articulating boom product started in October 2022 and the plant is destined to supply articulating booms, telescopic booms, DC and compact RT scissors to Europe. January saw the first telehandler come off the production line of the new Skyjack Mexican plant. Located in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, the plant has two phases. Phase one sees a 200,000 sq. ft. plant for telehandlers and booms, with the focus of production aimed at the Americas region. Phase two, which has already been initiated, will see an additional 490,000 sq. ft. of space.
McDougall added, “2022 was a busy year and it is great to see how our global team achieved so much so quickly. 2023 will be even more exciting as this capacity comes on stream. This and some exciting new product later in 2023 will make it a memorable year.”