JCB unearths a mini milestone

Posted on 7 Jan 2016 by Jonny Williamson

JCB is celebrating following the production of its 100,000th mini excavator, with the promise of more innovative machines to come as the company builds on its position as an industry leader.

JCB’s first mini excavator – an 801 model weighing in at 1.4 tonnes – rolled off the production line in 1989 when just over 450 machines were made.

By 1992, there were four models in the range and annual production rates had risen to 1,000 units.

Now the company is celebrating the production of its 100,000th compact excavator – a 10-tonne 100C-1 – one of 22 models in today’s range which spans one to 10 tonnes. All are manufactured at the JCB Compact Products factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire, where it employs more than 350 people.

According to the company, the global mini excavator sector is one of the most competitive areas of the global construction equipment market and is worth an estimated £4bn annually.

More than 20 major manufacturers challenge for a slice of this valuable business and with almost 200,000 mini excavators sold around the world every year, it’s the biggest single part of the annual 700,000-unit construction equipment market.

JCB CEO, Graeme Macdonald commented: “JCB has an innovative, powerful and robust range of mini excavators which keep growing in popularity.

“From being a challenger in the market 25 years ago, JCB is now firmly established as an industry leader, setting trends for design innovation and manufacturing excellence.

“To have produced 100,000 compact excavators really is something for the whole JCB team to celebrate and with more additions to the range due this year we can look forward to more growth in this important sector of the market.”

JCB has been rising to the growing opportunity presented by the mini excavator sector in recent years with a £15m investment in manufacturing technology and new product development.

This has seen the launch in the past two years of brand new models including the 65R-1; 67C-1; 85Z-1; 86C-1; 90Z-1, and 100C-1 models, which compete in the six; eight; nine, and 10 tonne weight categories respectively.

JCB’s mini excavators were first manufactured at the company’s plant Rugeley, Staffordshire, before production switched to JCB Compact Products in 1999 to cater for rapid expansion of the range.

The company has won two Queen’s Awards for International Trade for huge increases in exports, in 1994 and 2007.