From garage to global force: JCB marks 75 years in business
JCB was founded on October 23rd, 1945 by the late Joseph Cyril Bamford in a tiny lock-up garage in the Staffordshire market town of Uttoxeter.
The foundation for the growth that was to follow was the manufacture of a tipping trailer made out of war time scrap which today stands proudly in the showroom of JCB’s World HQ. It was produced in his garage and sold for £45 at the town’s market.
1953 proved to be a pivotal year for new products when Mr Bamford invented the backhoe loader with the launch of the JCB Mk 1 excavator. It was the first time a single machine had been produced with a hydraulic rear excavator and front mounted shovel. This ingenuity still bears fruit today: JCB has manufactured more than 600,000 backhoes and they are now made on three continents. 1953 was also the year that the famous JCB logo - recognised the world over - was first used.
1978 another landmark was achieved: the construction of JCB’s second factory in the UK, JCB Transmissions in Wrexham. But it was the decision to start manufacturing in India in 1979 that heralded a period of global expansion as Anthony Bamford spotted the potential of this market. Today JCB has factories in New Delhi, Pune and Jaipur and India is now JCB’s biggest market behind the UK.
1995 JCB was celebrating its 50th anniversary with a visit by HM The Queen to its World HQ, where she unveiled a replica of the Uttoxeter garage where Mr Bamford began his business all those years ago.
In 2004 employees gathered at the World HQ for a commemorative photo to mark the production of the 500,000th machine. It had taken just short of 60 years to reach that milestone. The next half million machines would be produced in the next nine years. It was also the year that JCB took the bold step into engine production with the launch of the Dieselmax engine, manufactured at JCB Power Systems in Derbyshire. In 2005 JCB opened its factory in Pudong, China. This was followed in 2009 by a £40 million investment in JCB’s factory in Ballabgarh, India to create the world’s biggest backhoe loader factory. In 2010 JCB announced a $40 million project to develop a brand new range of skid steer and track loaders to be manufactured at its North American HQ. Global manufacturing extended to Brazil in 2012 and British Prime Minister David Cameron officially opened the new £63 million facility in Sao Paulo state.
2016 was a year of milestones as the company celebrated the production of the 200,000th Loadall telescopic handler. Today JCB is the world’s number one producer of telescopic handlers. In this year JCB also marked the production on its 100,000th mini excavator and celebrated 25 years of production of the revolutionary Fastrac tractor. It was also the year when the new JCB Hydradig was launched to international acclaim.
If 2017 was a year of milestones, 2018 was certainly a year for exciting product introductions with the unveiling of JCB’s first ever electric excavator leading the way. The 19C-1E electric mini excavator was developed in response to customer demands for a zero emissions machine which could work indoors, underground and close to people in urban areas. Once fully charged, it is ready to put in a full normal working day on the building site. The year also saw the launch of the hugely successful X-Series range of tracked excavators and the start of site dumper manufacturing at the World HQ in Rocester. JCB also announced a £50 million investment in a new factory to produce cabs in Uttoxeter.
As JCB entered its 75th anniversary year, JCB marked the production of the 750,000th backhoe loader. In June, JCB was previewing an exciting new development after developing the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator as JCB continued to lead the sector on zero and low carbon technologies. The 20-tonne 220X excavator powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has been undergoing rigorous testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than 12 months. The exciting development means JCB is the first construction equipment company in the world to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen, considered by many to be the fuel of the future.
Further innovations and manufactural expansions are sure to come in the next 75 years.