To support growing demand, Komatsu has begun producing the company’s HM400-5 articulated haul trucks at its factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. While the trucks were produced in Chattanooga in the mid-2000s, in 2009 production shifted to the company’s plant in Ibaraki, Japan, where it has remained until now.
Used primarily in construction, quarry and mining applications, the 473-HP HM400-5 is designed to move material across challenging terrain while delivering productive, consistent performance for operators of all experience levels. To celebrate the new production line, Komatsu and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) hosted U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann along with other local and state officials for a launch event at the company’s Chattanooga plant.
“For years, Komatsu has been a proud member of our Chattanooga-area community, providing hundreds of good-paying jobs and generating a massive economic impact for Chattanooga and Tennessee,” said Rep. Fleischman. “Bringing back production of Komatsu's HM400-5 trucks is another sign of our strong local workforce and shows the confidence business leaders have in Chattanooga's economy and our values of hard work, low taxes, and free enterprise. I am excited that Komatsu is expanding their operations here in Chattanooga and investing in our community.”
Production of the truck has already driven an increase in Komatsu’s spend with local and regional suppliers. Additionally, the new line will offer more opportunities for area students to gain experience in manufacturing. Komatsu's Chattanooga plant currently has a pre-apprenticeship program that employs high school seniors part-time, allowing them to earn credits toward a full apprenticeship certification through Chattanooga State Community College.
“We have seen the demand for our HM400-5 trucks grow significantly in both the U.S. and Canada, which is why we began producing the trucks here in the U.S.,” said Rod Schrader, chairman and CEO, Komatsu North America. “The domestic production of this popular truck supports Komatsu's commitment to jobs and manufacturing in the U.S., and also enables us to contribute far more to the local Chattanooga economy.”
“AEM is honored to partner with Komatsu to host Congressman Chuck Fleischmann as we celebrate the return of production of the HM400 articulated truck to Chattanooga. Today’s event is a vital reminder that equipment manufacturing in the United States is alive and well, with a future destined to create more family-sustaining jobs in America,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM’s senior vice president of government and industry relations. “As our industry continues to face supply chain disruptions and worker shortages, we need our elected officials to support policies that will help strengthen equipment manufacturing in America. We are grateful to Congressman Fleischmann for his leadership in Congress and his support for policies that will help equipment manufacturers invest in their communities, grow their businesses, and hire more Americans.”
In addition to the HM400-5 trucks, the plant produces midsize hydraulic excavators and intelligent excavators, as well as some machines for the forestry market. Approximately 525 people are employed at the Chattanooga campus. Of those employees, 425 are part of the manufacturing operation, while 100 work for other divisions of Komatsu.