Combilift partners with author for children's book
December 18, 2020 | 1:20 pm CST
Robert Moffett (Technical Director Combilift), Martin McVicar (CEO & Co Founder Combilift) with Emer Conlon (Author).

Combilift, the Ireland based forklift and material handling company, has partnered with an award-winning author Emer Conlon to create a new children's book in time for Christmas.

At first glance, the pairing of a children’s book and one of the largest indigenous companies in Ireland, may not seem like a likely fit. However, when asked about this, Conlon explains, “I approached Combilift just over a year ago, with a view to proposing a novel, unique way to communicate with existing and potential customers, as well as being involved in the education of the next generation.  The idea was to write a children’s book which ‘cartoon-izes’ the main Combilift products and transforms them into characters that children will love.  I wanted to also use it as a marketing tool for the adults and so I used the USPs of the actual forklifts and turned them into the superpowers of the characters! That way both adults and children would get something from the book!” 

“Martin McVicar (CEO & Co-Founder) really liked the idea – especially the educational aspect for children," said Conlon. "As a result of his astuteness, we proceeded with the book and CombiKids was created. So Combilift, is ‘Lifting Innovation’ and now CombiKids is ‘Lifting Imaginations’ “

According to Conlon, when writing the book, “The Forklift trucks and their Secret Superpowers”, it was important to achieve a balance between Combilift branding and creating a story featuring endearing characters that children would fall in love with. The Combilift adventure is filled with drama and excitement. The book also has a couple of ‘baddies’ – (not Combilift trucks). For further enjoyment, there is a three-page Activity Section at the back of the book that includes something for all age groups. There is a mix of one-off activities (i.e. Join the Dots and a Word Search Puzzle) and activities that can be completed again and again (a Maze, Spot the Difference and a Map of the World). "These will add to the engagement and interaction that children will get from the book,” said Conlon.

McVicar explains, “We believe it was very important to be involved with the education of the next generation and to that end, we already have a number of programs including, apprenticeships, tours, etc. However, our new CombiKids initiative will involve even younger children with Combilift. The idea is that little ones, would 'buy-into’ the Combilift brand when they are young by creating an association with it - thus encouraging future engineers and lots of other budding talent, as well as motivating children to read. It is a great way to highlight Combilift to a wider community that may not be overly familiar with it”.

The CombiKids book highlights overcoming difficulties, the importance of friendship and that bullying is unacceptable.  Needless to day, the hero is always a Combilift truck who 'saves the day'. Also as the forklift trucks are all different shapes and sizes - there is an element of, no matter what someone looks like or what shape or size they are, it is important to be accepting of others and of differences.

With Combilift’s unique portfolio of forklifts, the company aims to change the way businesses handle and store materials, especially long and awkward loads, or when space is limited.  Employing more than 600 people in their headquarters in Monaghan and with customers in more than 85 countries, Combilift is a significant force in the material handling industry. 

Combilift is a proud member of Guaranteed Irish, and the CombiKids book very much reflects this.  Supporting local businesses and the importance of Irish jobs - particularly during Covid19 - is incredibly important to the ethos of Combilift, said McVicar. With that in mind the book is printed by Winters Print, Drogheda, illustrated by Jon McCormack, Kildare and typeset by idesignworx, Monaghan. In addition, Combilift is also very mindful that charities are suffering during the pandemic in terms of support and donations and has committed to donating ALL proceeds from book sales to Make a Wish. To purchase the CombiKids’ book or for further information on the characters, visit

Also, in the spirit of the holidays, the company released a whimsical video of their forklifts in action. Watch it below.


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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editor of FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.