By Chris Sleight22 April 2008
This year will also see the launch of JCB's largest ever machine, the 50 t class JS 520, which will be shown as a concept machine at the Conexpo show in Las Vegas in March.
Rental companies will focus their keenest interest, however, on the company's new mini excavators, telehandlers and compact wheeled loaders. The 2 t 8020 is an important model in Europe, and features a reduced tail swing design. Its weight means it is the largest machine that can be towed behind pick-up trucks in many European countries.
JCB says the boom and dipper on the machine offer the best performance in the 2 t class, providing 19 kN of breakout force and a 2.6 m dig depth. The variable width undercarriage is a standard feature.
Further up the range is the 8055, a 5.5 t class machine that is available as either a reduced or zero tail swing version. Replacing the 8052, the new machine offers higher breakout forces and, at 5.5 km/h, a higher travel speed.
Also new in JCB's compact range are two small wheeled loaders. The 403 is a 27 kW, 0.3 m3 bucket machine aimed at agriculture and landscape markets. The larger 56 kW 409, with its 1 m3 bucket as standard, will be of more interest in the construction industry. It has a straight tipping load of just under 5 t and the maximum travel speed is 20 km/h.
One of the smallest machines JCB makes is the new HTD5, a 500 kg capacity walk-behind dumper. It comes with a 0.3 m3 skip, but despite its diminutive size, the machine offers a tipping height of 1.45 m.
Last year's Bauma's exhibition saw JCB unveil its new ‘HiViz' range of Loadall telescopic handlers, and this line has just gone into full production. As the name suggests, visibility from the cab is the key selling point with these machines, and the new 535-125 and 535-145 illustrate this well.
At the rear, the boom pivot point is 235 mm lower, while a shorter chassis has made the rear overhang a little smaller too. This improves the rear visibility as well as making the new models more manoeuvrable than their predecessors.
Both offer a lift capacity of 3.5 t. The 535-125 offers a lift height of 12.3 m, while the 535-140 can reach up to 13.8 m high. Power for both comes from JCB's own Stage IIIA diesel engine, rated at 63 kW as standard, with the option of a 74.2 kW version.
Many of these new machines will be on show at this year's major construction equipment exhibitions. Given that this year's step of the Stage IIIA engine emissions laws affect 37 kW to 75 kW units, events like Samoter, Smopyc and Conexpo could well see more new equipment from JCB.
The buoyancy of the construction equipment market is encouraging JCB to invest in its factories and expand its range of equipment. Besides the on-going £36 million (€53 million) expansion of its backhoe loader plant in New Delhi, India, JCB plans to spend £7 million (€10 million) on a new attachments factory near its existing facilities in Uttoxeter, UK.
JCB's chief operating officer, Mathew Taylor (pictured), speaking to customers and the press at an event in Jerez, Spain at the start of the year, said 2007 had been a record year for JCB; "We sold more than 70000 machines around the world, and this was +30% higher than in 2006...Despite weakening in North America, the total world market is anticipated to have grown between +12% and +13% in 2007."
Mr Taylor said increased demand from the world's emerging markets had been one of the major factors behind the growth, but mature markets also performed strongly; "The UK was up +19% in 2007, and there was growth in Western Europe as a whole. In these markets it was fuelled by growth in the rental markets, relatively low interest rates and, until very recently, the return of business confidence."