Postcards from Las Vegas

March 1, 2008
Never Be Satisfied Not resting on its laurels, 63-year-old JCB launches spate of new products at ConExpo. One of the mottos of Mr. JCB, Joseph Cyril Bamford,

Never Be Satisfied

Not resting on its laurels, 63-year-old JCB launches spate of new products at ConExpo.

One of the mottos of Mr. JCB, Joseph Cyril Bamford, was “never be satisfied.” Even if you think you're the best, always be trying to improve. One visit to the JCB factory in Rocester, Staffordshire, England, and it becomes immediately evident that JCB — 63 years after Bamford began it in a tool shed where he engineered the company's first machine — is not resting on its laurels. The company's 17 new models presented at ConExpo in Las Vegas reflect JCB's efforts to continually improve on its already high standards.

RER visited JCB's headquarters in the United Kingdom and observed firsthand JCB's commitment to customer service and technical and engineering excellence at its sprawling factory, parts distribution center, engine plant and other facilities in the Midlands region of England. JCB is proud of its customer service, its ability to support customers even in remote areas of the world with 24-hour parts delivery and 24/7 product support. JCB has 17 plants on four continents: 10 in the U.K.; three in India and others in the United States, China, Germany and Brazil.

Also clearly evident is JCB's single-minded pursuit of excellence. “This is the only business we're in,” says JCB's CEO John Patterson, a 37-year-veteran of the company. “We don't have oil business, we don't have railway business, we don't make cars or anything else. If we fail at this, we are finished. We can't afford to fail.”

Coming off another record sales years, JCB is driven to continue to grow in the global marketplace. JCB is strongly committed to growing its distribution network, concentrating primarily on entrepreneurial independents that are dedicated JCB dealers, rather than multi-line.

“We need to expand our dealer network,” says Patterson “We would love to be doubling our network over the next four or five years.” Expecting significant growth in the compact equipment market, Patterson envisions having dealers that specialize in that product segment, with others taking on the broader JCB range.

And a broad range it is. “We produce 280 different models in different families of products,” Patterson says. “Families” include broad groups such as skid-steer loaders, mini-excavators, backhoes, telehandlers and excavators. The company also makes landscaping tractors, industrial and rough-terrain forklifts, compaction equipment, tracked and wheeled excavators, loading shovels, articulated dump trucks and more.

In the backhoe segment, JCB is introducing its Midi CX, a compact machine positioned between the skid-steer 1CX and all-wheel-steer 2CX. The unit has a re-designed air-conditioned cab, and JCB's Smooth Ride System, which allows the front loader arms to float while traveling, reducing bounce and increasing load retention.

The 3CX backhoe loader's revised gearing enables the unit to achieve road speed of 22 miles per hour, with new servo brakes. Redesigned loader geometry provides greater dump angles and roll back for improved material retention, while V-shaped side panels facilitate carrying lengths of pipe. A Tier-3 DieselMax engine is EPA- and CARB-compliant. Backhoe bucket breakout for the 3CX-14 increases its weight capacity 18 percent to 13,701 pounds, and JCB increased dipper arm breakout 10 percent, with boomlift capacities up 10 percent as well. Precision controls reduce trenching cycle times 9 percent.

The 3CX and 4CX have improved air-conditioning and a 25-percent larger operator's seat.

Long a major player and one of the early pioneers of telescopic handlers, JCB is introducing the first four models in a new range of high-boom lift-and-place Loadall telescopic handlers, designed to meet the specific needs of U.S. contractors — particularly framers, roofers, steel erectors, masons and general contractors — and rental companies. The high-boom Loadalls feature larger cabs, side-mounted Tier 3-compliant engines, servo hydraulic control levers and rear-axle stabilization on all but the smallest models.

The Loadall 506-36, which replaces an earlier version, provides a lift capacity of 6,000 pounds and a working height of 36 feet. The 507-42 provides 7,000 pounds lift capacity and a working lift height of 42 feet, while the 509-42 has a 42-foot lift height with lift capacity of 9,000 pounds. The 510-56 has a 10,000-pound lift capacity and a working height of 56 feet.

The new telehandlers will be manufactured at JCB's Savannah, Ga., plant.

JCB is also expanding its range of JS tracked excavators with three new machines. The 63,945-pound JS290, the 79,380-pound JS360 and 114,660-pound JS520 were exhibited at ConExpo. The units are powered by Isuzu 6-cylinder Tier 3-compliant engines.

JCB manufacturers its own axles and transmissions, most of its own components and cabs, as well as a growing number of its engines. The company is unique in that it carries no debt. As Patterson says, “If we don't have the money for something, we don't buy it.” Given its growing market share around the world, it manages to still buy what it needs and more.
Michael Roth

Case Launches 17 at World of Concrete

Case shows it's still in the big leagues with an ambitious presentation at World of Concrete.

Case Construction Equipment hit the 2008 trade shows running at the World of Concrete with 17 new machines and equipment redesigns including skid-steer loaders, telehandlers, compact track loaders, backhoe loaders and a wheel loader.

Starting with the heavy, the 521E model wheel loaders, an addition to Case's E Series line of wheel loaders, features an electronically controlled engine with increased horsepower, a more comfortable cab with a payload capacity of 2.5 cubic yards. The Tier-3 certified engine incorporates a common-rail fuel-injection system, which allows highly pressurized fuel to mix efficiently for cleaner combustion and increased fuel economy.

In the wheel loader, as in all new Case machines, the cabs are more roomy, and comfortable with more thorough heating and cooling. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the front, with a sloping rear engine compartment, visibility is enhanced.

“The operator has a clear, direct view to the front tires, the bucket edge and the work site,” says Case brand marketing manager Dave Wolf.

The unit features a standard single-level joystick loader control with forward-neutral-reverse quick shuttle switch with a transmission downshift button to facilitate operator control.

Case introduced three telescopic handlers. The TX742 (6,600 pounds, 42-foot reach), TX842 (8,000 pounds, 42-foot reach) and TX945 (9,000 pounds, 45-foot reach) are designed for enhanced visibility, with four forward and three reverse gears. The 153-inch turning radius is designed for maneuverability in confined spaces.

The TX742 is rated at 95 net horsepower, while the TX842 and TX945 are rated at 108 net horsepower. “All three machines can reach a top speed of 22 mph in forward and 14 mph in reverse for quick maneuvering across the jobsite,” says brand marketing manager Jim Hughes.

Front and rear work lights and mirrors are standard. The machines feature three available steering modes. “Front-wheel steer provides maximum control at high transport speeds,” adds Hughes. “Four-wheel steer provides maximum maneuverability and a tight turning radius; and crab steer provides maneuverability when stacking pallets or working beside a structure.”

Case did a lot of research to see what its customers were looking for, what they liked about current machines and what they didn't like.

“There are three main drivers,” says Hughes. “Cab comfort, productivity, serviceability. The machine offers outstanding visibility for the forks whether they are in the fully extended and down position, or fully raised position. We've got ample legroom and space inside the cab. We talked with a lot of customers during our test phase and they really comment how spacious that cab is.”

In addition to a more spacious cabin, many of Case's new machines feature conveniences such as outlets for cell phones, radios and MP3 players.

Case also presented its new 400 Series 3 line of skid-steer loaders, which also emphasize more powerful engines, redesigned cabs and more efficient serviceability. Tier-2 certified engines are available on the 410, 420, 430, 435, 440, 445, 450 and 465 skid-steer loaders, which range from 57 to 83 net horsepower. The 420, 430, 435 and 445 Series 3 machines have Case 3.2-liter turbocharged engines.

The units are designed to excel in cold weather, with the 410 Series tested to start unaided at 0 degrees F, while the rest are designed to start unaided at -10.

Case also introduced the new M Series 3 line of loader/backhoes. The Super M and Super M+ units feature pressure compensated load-sensing hydraulics to improve fuel efficiency, helping move more yards per gallon of fuel. The M Series 3 units are available with one-touch idle built into the Case Pilot controls, allowing the operator to return the engine to idle at the touch of the button.

Compact Equipment Pioneer Turns 50

Bobcat celebrates a half century of innovation in the compact equipment industry.

Brothers Cyril and Louis Keller had no idea in 1957 when they discovered the need for a self-propelled loader that was lightweight and small enough to clean around poles on the second floor of a turkey barn that their invention would be the first entry in what is today the compact equipment industry.

2008 marks the 50-year anniversary of the partnership between the Keller brothers and E.G. Melroe, founder of Melroe Manufacturing Company, which developed the Melroe Self-propelled Loader — a three-wheeled, front-end loader that was the precursor to the skid-steer loaders of today.

To celebrate its milestone anniversary Bobcat Co. hosted a media event Jan. 21, near Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev., to announce the Bobcat 50 Years Unleashed North American Road Tour, the How Bobcat Has Unleashed Me Contest and several new product introductions.

The road tour kicks off May 17 at Bobcat of Knoxville in Knoxville, Tenn., and will hit 23 stops in the United States and Canada before ending in August with a homecoming event in Gwinner, N.D., and a Bobcat employee event in Bismarck, N.D. The exhibit will include an overview of Bobcat history, Bobcat equipment from the past 50 years and Bobcat collectibles and memorabilia from the past half century.

At each tour stop, 10 attendees will be selected as finalists for The Great Road Tour Giveaway. At the end of the tour, finalists from each dealership will be included in a national drawing. The winner of The Great Road Tour Giveaway will receive one of two $50,000 contractor equipment packages.

The Bobcat Unleashed Me Contest asks users to share how Bobcat equipment has helped them perform work better, smarter and faster. To enter, equipment users are asked to write a brief essay about their experiences with Bobcat equipment and fill out an entry form at the Bobcat 50 Years Unleashed website, The grand-prize winner will receive a $75,000 Bobcat gift certificate and five, second-prize winners will receive $1,000 gift certificates, good for products or attachments of the winner's choice at a Bobcat dealership.

Entries will be judged on creativity, quality, completeness and originality of answers, as well as supporting documents provided. The contest concludes on May 30.

RER got a sneak peak of Bobcat's new roller suspension system, which was introduced at ConExpo this month. The new system was developed to increase operator comfort and minimize maintenance while remaining durable through robust steel components. In addition, maintenance point improvements include a larger drive sprocket area and an undercarriage design that sheds debris and has clean-out holes to allow pressure washing.

The roller suspension system is currently available as an option on the Bobcat T320 compact track loader and will be added to other Bobcat compact track loader models throughout the year.

Another innovation from Bobcat is the loader radio remote control system that was designed for applications that require two or more people who want to minimize worksite environment discomforts.

Operators can start the skid-steer or compact loader engine and operate the drive, lift, tilt and auxiliary hydraulic functions from approximately 1,500 feet away with the radio remote control transmitter. The system, which is useable for up to 15 hours on a rechargeable battery, is beneficial when used with hydraulic breakers for demolition; buckets and dozers for scraping out barges and ships; grapples for grabbing various materials; and trenchers and stump grinders for more visibility of the work area.

Bobcat also introduced its V417 VersaHandler telescopic tool carrier, which is the fourth model in the VersaHandler line, but the first to offer the Bob-Tach attachment mounting system. Select attachments for large-frame skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders and all-wheel-steer loaders are approved for use with the V417.

Designed with rental companies in mind, the 10,648-pound V417 TTC features a 75-hp turbocharged engine, a lift height of 17 feet and a 4,400-pound load capacity.
Brandey Smith