The official opening of a renovated mini and compact excavator factory by Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) – HCME – has taken place in Oosterhout, the Netherlands.
The new 8,000m2 facility is part of a modernisation programme which began in January this year. Hitachi said that it would mean enhanced efficiency at the factory that is responsible for producing the ZX10 to ZX85 models.
It said it would also meet the growing demand for Hitachi mini and compact excavators across Europe.
The factory’s general manager, Marco Verhoef, said, “We have already doubled our output since 2014 from 2,500 to 5,000 machines by 2018.
“The renovation of the factory was necessary to help us grow further, and will enable us to produce more than 7,000 machines per year, according to market demand.”
Hitachi said that as part of the upgrade, a state-of-the-art, semi-automatic assembly line had been installed, as well as new equipment and paint booths.
The staff at the factory have also adopted the “takt time” approach, which the company said meant completing an activity within a certain amount of time, resulting in an optimal work flow. Inventory has also been reduced by following the kanban method of lean manufacturing.
The official opening was marked with confetti released by HCME president and CEO Makoto Yamazawa, and director production and procurement Kazutoshi Yoshioka.
Verhoef thanked the factory’s 100 employees for their effort and resilience in recent months. Production at the site had continued throughout the six-month renovation programme.
He said, “Thanks to all of our dedicated personnel, we now have a fully redesigned and modernised factory, and are very proud of what we have achieved. We are ready for the future, to supply more machines at shorter delivery times and lower costs.”