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Hill Sign Auto-Loc Quick Hitch Deal With USA Distributor

Hill Engineering Ltd signed an agreement to supply its unique 'Safety First' Auto-Loc excavator quick hitch to Woods Equipment Company, one of the USA's largest independent manufacturers and suppliers of construction and agricultural equipment attachments.

Woods Equipment Company provides customers in the USA and Canada with a large selection of attachments for excavators, wheel loaders, tractor loader backhoes and skid steer loaders.

Auto-Locs are now being manufactured by Hill and delivered to Woods for sale in the United States. All hitches are produced at Hill Engineering's factory in Newry, Co. Down, Ireland. Invest Northern Ireland has helped Hill Engineering to ramp up its overseas marketing capability, as well as significantly improve productivity and efficiency at its Newry factory.

The supply deal was signed by Hill Engineering's founder and Managing Director, Ian Hill, and representatives of Woods Equipment Company at the CONEXPO 2008 event in Las Vegas.

Ian Hill said, "There is no American-made quick hitch with the unique safety features to be found in the Auto-Loc, which is why Woods Equipment Company has decided to take it on board. The sales agreement represents a major breakthrough for us as it gives us inroads into Woods' vast distribution network of more than 2,000 construction equipment dealers across North America and Canada."

Woods Equipment Company’s Chairman, President & CEO, Fred Korndorf, said: "The Auto-Loc is fully automatic, with a visible safety mechanism, so there is no need for the operator to leave the excavator cab to remove or insert a safety pin when changing from one attachment to another. This rules out the risk of a safety pin being inserted incorrectly or not being inserted at all, which is why we consider it to be the safest and best engineered quick hitch on the market today."

Graham Davis, Invest NI's Director of Regional Economic Development, said: "The high quality and innovative nature of Hill Engineering's product has differentiated the company from its competitors and is indicative of the high level of technical expertise shown by Northern Ireland engineering manufacturers. Having identified a commercial opportunity, the company has successfully brought its products to market and is performing strongly, adding significant value to the local economy."

"This deal with Woods Equipment Company is an indicator of the high esteem in which Hill Engineering's products are held in the market. I wish both companies every success with their working relationship going forward."

The advanced design of the Auto-Loc allows the operator to visually confirm from within the cab that the bucket or other attachment is securely locked in position, a vitally important and potentially life saving safety feature.

Another advantage is that it is multi centred, allowing the use of a mixed range of machine attachments such as hammers and rippers. It can be used in the face shovel position and a certified lifting eye is fitted as standard.

More than 6,000 Auto-Loc fully automatic quick hitches are now in regular use around the world, with continuing excellent feedback being received from users.

Originally established in 1994, Hill Engineering moved to new £4.5million, 85,000sq.ft, purpose-designed, state-of-the-art premises in 2006, whilst retaining its original nearby factory as a dedicated research & development facility.

Hill also produce a range of heavy duty steel excavator buckets, enabling them to provide a top quality hitches and buckets package for its customers, and the company is currently investing around £2 million in the robotic automation of their entire bucket production line.

All Hill products are ISO 9001 and CE accredited and as a customer focused organisation with a flexible approach they can tailor equipment to meet individual customer requirements.

Hill Engineering Managing Director, Ian Hill, concluded: "We constantly strive to design and manufacture top quality products to the highest possible world-class standards, with safety always an over-riding consideration."