Earth-moving machinery maker JCB today has celebrated the production of its 500,000th backhoe loader, the machine that made the company famous.
ON Monday chairman of JCB Sir Anthony Bamford joined hundreds of employees at world HQ in Rocester to celebrate the 500,000th milestone.
The first backhoe was made in Rocester, Staffordshire in 1953. Called the Mark One, it brought the wonder of hydraulic power to construction equipment for the first time.
In the first full year of production in 1954 just 35 of the machines were built and it took more than 20 years for the first 50,000 to be made. Today one JCB backhoe loader is manufactured every three minutes.
The versatile machine – which uses a large bucket at the front for earth moving and an articulated hydraulic arm to dig out earth – remains the world’s 4th most popular machine in the construction equipment sales league table.
“When my father pioneered this machine all those years ago we could never have imagined how successful it would be and how it would totally mechanise jobs that until then had been done by hand,” said Sir Anthony Bamford.
He added its high versatility would ensure the product will continue to thrive.
In 1980 the company saw the £24 million launch of the technologically advanced 3CX backhoe loader, a more fuel-efficient version. Today’s JCB backhoes can be powered by the JCB Ecomax engine, a development which will save customers up to 11% in fuel costs.
Sir Anthony added: “The original 3CX launch was a pivotal moment in JCB’s backhoe history and from there the product went from strength to strength and laid the foundations for growth of the company and the introduction of a product range of over 300 machines you see today. “
JCB backhoes are manufactured in the UK, India and Brazil and the company sells the product in 120 different countries.
The business unit which manufactures the machines has won seven Queen’s Awards.
Royalty, Prime Ministers, politicians and TV stars have all been photographed in the cab of JCB backhoes. The machine was even the subject of a song which made the top of the charts.
The 500,000th unit was destined for a customer in Russia.