Member Profile: Penny Hydraulics

20 February 2020

Tell us a bit about your business? When were you founded, where are you based and how many people do you employ?

Penny Hydraulics was founded over in 1978 by a mining engineer John Penny. Back then the company focused on mining equipment servicing and repairs.

As the mining industry started to decline, the company diversified its product range into vehicle mounted lifting equipment, goods lifts, lighting winch systems, nuclear decommissioning and service.

John Penny fitted the first crane in a van in 1981 & we started manufacturing SwingLift in 1982. We have always been based out of Clowne in North Derbyshire and have over 90 people in our workforce.

What does the business do?

As mentioned previously we have a number of different divisions in the business. Most relevant to the SMMT would be our range of vehicle mounted lifting equipment; we design, manufacture, install, train and service a range of cranes and hydraulic loading platforms.

Our lightweight SwingLift cranes are the perfect solution for vans, they can lift up to 500kg whilst taking very little payload or space of the vehicle and are extremely popular within the utilities and highways industries as well as anyone who needs to lift heavy or bulky items from kerbside to the bed of a van.

Our fully hydraulic PH crane range is lightweight, user-friendly and innovative; the ideal solution for light commercial vehicles. The PH range is ideal for pickups and trucks and includes models between 0,5 and 5 tm lifting capacity and offers a variety of optional extras and accessories including stabiliser legs, high-speed hoists and radio remote controls.

In our range of hydraulic loading platforms, the unique LoadLift product is a compact and durable hydraulic platform lift suitable for installation in the side and rear door of vans. We recently developed a lightweight and lower cost version of the LoadLift – perfect for anyone who needs to move up to 100kg.

How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?

Very good. Like many other manufacturing businesses, Brexit created an atmosphere of uncertainty and caution amongst our customers. However, since December business has been very positive and we have secured a number of large orders including over 800 SwingLift cranes for a large national fleet.

Moving forward our pipeline is very positive and we are even having to consider investment for an additional space to work on the vehicles and potentially more fitters to keep up with demand.

What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?

The fact that although we’ve faced some challenging times due to external factors such as political uncertainty, the current outlook for vehicle mounted lifting equipment is very optimistic. Business hasn’t ground to a halt after we left Europe and we are continuing to prosper in the current economy. This of course could change, and we are prepared for this — in the meantime we are continuing to grow and are exploring new opportunities.

We are also looking to develop our export portfolio of overseas partners. Last year we exported to over 25 countries around the world and are finding opportunities in both Europe and from further afield.

Finally, we are looking to develop a new range of products to bring to the market — it is an exciting time, however, as these are still in development we cannot say too much just yet!