Hyster is a global business that builds more than 300 distinct versions of forklifts. However, it began as a manufacturer of lifting equipment and winches. Most of its production was concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and dealt primarily with the timber 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 expand and increase its product line. The expansion of its products coupled with its want to stay service oriented has allowed Hyster to develop into the global participant it is at the moment.
The 30 years between 1940's and the 1960's saw a enormous evolution in the amount of products offered under the Hyster brand name. In 1946, Hyster opened a plant in Danville, Illinois that was totally devoted to mass manufacturing trucks. This allowed Hyster to force its costs down and, at the same time, offer a better quality product at industry aggressive prices. 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 manufacturing operations throughout the fifties and 60's. They began constructing container handlers in the United states in 1959 to satisfy the ever growing demand for transportation goods. In 1966, Hyster developed a method for allowing 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 improving the design and performance of forklifts. The centre is still one of the world's best testing facilities in the materials handling industry.
As demand for materials handling equipment continued to expand rapidly throughout the 1960's, Hyster considered it necessary to reorient its focus towards these new mass markets. Hence, in 1970, the XL design philosophy was born. The XL design philosophy allowed Hyster to afford greater quality at a more inexpensive cost. A further expansion in production capabilities was necessitated by the demand in Europe for Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles. To fill this gap, a plant in Craigavon, Ireland was opened in 1980. Through the 1980's Hyster continued to concentrate on developing industry leading lift trucks. The Hyster company name was known throughout the globe for its commitment towards excellence. This attention to quality produced many suitors for the company. In 1989, a large international business based in Ohio called NACCO Industries bought Hyster and began an aggressive expansion strategy. NACCO quickly changed the XL philosophy with a more driver oriented lift truck that focused on operator comfort, which is identified as the XM generation of forklifts.
The changing needs of Hyster's valued clientele, led by changes in supply chain management, required Hyster to continuously innovate and invest in new manufacturing technology during the next few decades. Acquisitions and investments were made in the United States, Italy, Netherlands, and numerous other places all over the globe. All of these investments have made Hyster a global leader in the lift truck market. Recently, Hyster celebrated its eightieth anniversary as an industry leader of materials handling equipment, which comprises over 300 various versions of forklift trucks.