JCB’s backhoe milestone
By Sandy Guthrie11 December 2012
The 500,000th backhoe loader to be made by JCB was marked this week in a ceremony at its world headquarters in the UK.
JCB claimed that the backhoe loader was the machine that made the company famous around the world, and the first one rolled off the production line in Rocester, Staffordshire, UK, in 1953.
In the first full year of production, 1954, just 35 of the machines – the Mark One – were built, and it took more than 20 years for the first 50,000 to be made. Today, the company claims that a JCB backhoe loader rolls off its production lines every three minutes.
The company added that the backhoe loader was still one of the biggest selling pieces of construction machinery, and remained the world’s 4th most popular machine in the construction equipment sales league table.
JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford joined hundreds of employees to celebrate the 500,000th milestone.
He said, “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.
“The backhoe is the world’s most versatile piece of construction machinery and that is what ensures the product will continue to thrive.”
JCB said it had always invested heavily in its backhoe loader range. An early catalyst for growth was in 1980, which saw the £24 million (€29.7 million) launch of the 3CX. Now, said the company, customers are about to starting reaping the fuel saving benefits of the launch of JCB backhoes powered by the JCB Ecomax engine, a development which is said to save 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.
The 500,000th JCB backhoe to be produced was a 5CX model, which is said to be JCB’s most productive – able to shift 344 tonnes of earth per hour, or load 196 lorries a day.