Northern Ireland: Global engineering excellence in materials handling serving the Indian market

Northern Ireland, a region of the United Kingdom, renowned for its engineering heritage is a recognised centre of excellence in the design, engineering, production and operation of materials handling equipment for a broad range of industries including construction, mining and quarrying, recycling, and transportation.

Its engineering legacy has changed the world, from Harry Ferguson and the development of the first agricultural tractor to John Dunlop, the inventor of the pneumatic tyre, the tradition lives on through our world-class cluster of materials handling companies.

Today, machinery manufactured in Northern Ireland is used by customers worldwide for applications as diverse as iron ore mining in India, road construction in South America, diamond exploration in South Africa, sand washing in Qatar, screening demolition waste in Russia and recycling in Saudi Arabia.

Much of the technology within the global mobile screening industry was, in fact, pioneered in Northern Ireland. A history of innovation stretching back almost 50 years, has led to the development of an extensive cluster of successful export-led companies.

Among international corporations now manufacturing machinery in Northern Ireland are industry leaders Terex, Caterpillar, Sandvik and NACCO, the latter producing Hyster and Yale forklifts in Northern Ireland for customers in key global markets. The Terex Corporation, which has a manufacturing operation in India , includes the Powerscreen brand, a globally recognised name in mobile screening and crushing machinery.

Additionally, there are many indigenous Northern Ireland companies operating internationally and they are all entering into India to take advantage of growing opportunities in the region as well as supplying Indian construction and mining companies working in third markets, from North Africa to South America.

CDE Asia, with its base in Kolkata, is probably the best-known indigenous materials handling company from Northern Ireland in India. Other smaller and fast emerging companies, bred from the innovation within the sector and its exposure to international markets, are supplying products ranging from rock breakers and block-making to conveyors and port handling equipment.

FG Wilson, the Caterpillar subsidiary, is Europe's biggest volume manufacturer of diesel and gas powered electricity generators for prime, emergency and standby power. The company also has a manufacturing operation in Pondicherry, India.

The sector is also supported by an extensive supply chain manufacturing specialist fabrications and components and offering vast experience in engineering design. Two world class universities, Queen's University Belfast and the University of Ulster, along with a network of further education colleges, many of which have engineering centres, work closely with the industry on R&D, new product development and lean manufacturing techniques using state-of-the-art computer aided design, as well as in programmes to expand the skills and knowledge of managers and workers.

Northern Ireland, therefore, offers a comprehensive range of machinery for materials handling operations worldwide and has unrivalled knowledge, skills and expertise in developing efficient, cost effective and competitive solutions which regularly exceed the requirements of customers in global markets. The sector continues to invest in innovation and maintaining its global competitiveness and we are always open to welcoming new investors seeking to tap into this exciting and global cluster.

The government of Northern Ireland, through Invest Northern Ireland and its trade promotion activities, has been helping the cluster to do business in India for over 20 years. Since we opened our business development office in Mumbai (and soon in Bangalore) in 2007, we have supported clients at events such as IMME, BC India and Excon.
NBM&CW November 2011
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