JCB is celebrating 50 years of wheeled loading shovel manufacture – and 20 years since opening a multi-million pound UK factory dedicated to this product line – with production hitting record highs to meet growing demand for agricultural, earth-moving, quarrying, construction and waste management applications.
Over the past five decades the company’s award-winning loaders have increasingly been adopted by farmers and contractors needing high capacity machines for filling silage clamps, clearing cattle yards, loading manure and lime spreaders, and out-loading bulk grain and fertiliser stores. And in that time the JCB range has expanded to include compact and bulk-loading machines, as well as telescopic boom models, while introducing many market-leading technologies and establishing JCB as a global leader in the loader business.
JCB entered the wheeled loader market by acquiring Chaseside Engineering, based in Lancashire, north-east England, with production of its seven rigid chassis machines getting fully underway in 1969 at JCB’s Rocester factory in Staffordshire.
In that first year, just 298 examples of the former Chaseside machines were built but today JCB builds tens of thousands of 25 different loader models on assembly lines in Brazil, China and India – as well as in the UK, of course, where 2019 also marks the 20th anniversary of JCB opening a multi-million pound factory dedicated to these products in Cheadle, Staffordshire.
Having gained new engineering skills and expertise with the Chaseside acquisition, the first JCB-designed wheeled loaders arrived in 1971 with the launch of the 413 and 418.
These featured an articulated chassis for maximum manoeuvrability and a cab mounted on the front section to provide the operator with an unmatched view of the working area.
The first agricultural loader – the 1.0cu m 410 Farm Master – was launched in 1983 to be followed by the 412 and 425 Farm Master in 1990. Subsequent ‘S’ versions came with increased power, more poweshift transmission speeds and other features that gave them the added performance, traction and ability to climb silage clamps that contractors and large farming operations wanted.