Hitachi completes €10m investment in Netherlands mini excavator factory
By Murray Pollok10 October 2013
Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) (HCME) has completed a €10 million reorganisation of its mini excavator plant in Oosterhout, the Netherlands.
The facility now integrates the assembly and manufacture of Zaxis-5 mini excavators alongside Hitachi’s special application machines, a move that the company said will increase efficiency, reduce costs and provide more reliable delivery times.
The investment includes a new machining centre, which has increased productivity by up to six times. The factory produces boom, arm, blade, track frame and mainframe for mini excavators and front attachments for all special application products.
“At first glance, there is no similarity between Hitachi mini excavators and special application machines,” said Tonny Engels, general manager of the Oosterhout facility, “However, we have successfully aligned these diverse product categories by combining the skills of our workforce for the production, painting and assembly processes.”
Mr Engels said the new processes would increase operational efficiency, make delivery times more reliable and reduce costs; “Ultimately, we would like to have a situation in which job sharing is more commonplace and a more flexible workforce is at our disposal.”
The reorganisation of the factory sees arms and booms produced for the minis and special application machines in separate lines, before they go through the same machining process.
The full range of Zaxis-5 mini excavators has also been introduced to the factory, and three models from the existing line-up – the ZX16-3, ZX17U-2 and ZX18-3 – are now completely produced in the factory, with engines and hydraulic equipment supplied from Japan.
The ZX22U-2, ZX27-3, ZX29U-3, ZX33U-5 and ZX38U-5 originate from Japanese machines, with the front attachment and blade added at Oosterhout. The ZX10U-2, ZX48U-5, ZX55U-5 and ZX65USB-5 models are imported from Japan as complete products. In the near future, the ZX85US-5 will move from Amsterdam to Oosterhout.
Other investments include a fully automated paint booth, with outsourced shot blasting and primary paint coat for special application machines.