JCB this week marked the production of its 500,000th backhoe loader — the machine that made the company famous. JCB’s first backhoe rolled off the production line in Rocester, Staffordshire, England, in 1953. Called the Mark One, it brought hydraulic power to construction equipment for the first time.
In 1954 — the first full year of production — just 35 of the machines were built, and it took more than 20 years for the first 50,000 to be made. Today, one JCB backhoe loader rolls off the company’s production lines every three minutes.
The backhoe loader is still one of the top-selling pieces of construction machinery and remains the world’s fourth most popular machine in the construction equipment sales league table.
To celebrate production of the 500,000th machine, JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford joined hundreds of employees at the world headquarters in the United Kingdom.
“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 mechanize jobs that until then had been done by hand," said Bamford. “The backhoe is the world’s most versatile piece of construction machinery and that is what ensures the product will continue to thrive.”
As well as backhoes, JCB also manufactures Loadall telescopic handers, tracked and wheeled excavators, wheeled loaders, mini and micro excavators, utility vehicles, skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders, compaction equipment, rough-terrain forklifts and Fastrac tractors.
JCB backhoes are manufactured in the U.K., India and Brazil, and the company sells the product in 120 different countries.
The 500,000th JCB backhoe to be produced was a 5CX model, which is the most powerful commercially available JCB backhoe ever made. It is also JCB’s most productive model and is able to shift 344 tons of earth per hour or load 196 trucks a day. The 500,000th machine is destined for a customer in Russia, a key market for the company.
JCB is the world’s third-largest construction equipment brand and has 22 plants on four continents: 11 in the U.K., six in India and others in Brazil, the U.S., China, Germany and France. The company employs more than 10,000 people worldwide.
JCB is privately owned by the Bamford family.