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Fifty years of JCB wheeled loaders

Digger Blogger | 12:00, Thu May 23 2019

JCB may be synonymous with the backhoe loader but in 2019 it celebrates 50 years of manufacturing wheeled loading shovels.

The JCB wheeled loader
The JCB wheeled loader

It is a market that JCB entered with the acquisition of UK-based Chaseside Engineering in 1968, taking on its seven rigid-axle machines.

Relocation of production lines from Chaseside’s plant in Blackburn, Lancashire took several months and it was all systems go by the start of 1969, which marked the start of the first full year of shovel manufacturing at JCB’s expanding Rocester factory in Staffordshire. In that first year, the fledgling wheeled loader division built just 298 machines, primarily for domestic customers.

1969   the Chaseside loading shovels were in full production at Rocester by 1969
1969 the Chaseside loading shovels were in full production at Rocester by 1969

1971   along with the 418 the 413 was the first JCB designed machine and they featured cabs mounted on the front section of the machines
1971 along with the 418 the 413 was the first JCB designed machine and they featured cabs mounted on the front section of the machines

As the 50th anniversary is marked, JCB now produces thousands of wheeled loaders in factories in the UK, India, Brazil and China. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of JCB opening a factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire dedicated to the production of wheeled loaders.

The first JCB-designed machines arrived in 1971, with the launch of the 413 and 418 models, replacing the former Chaseside models. These shovels featured a cab mounted on the front section of the articulating chassis, to provide the operator with an improved view of the working area. They were also equipped with an oscillating centre pivot, to ensure that all four wheels remained in contact with the ground, delivering maximum tractive effort.

At that time, JCB launched a tracked loading shovel, the 110, the first of its type to feature a hydrostatic transmission and twin tiller loader controls. The machine was the first to be awarded with a Design Council Award in 1972. The crawler loader would continue to be developed, with the 112 and 114 models, well into the 70s.

1972   the 110 is the first to be awarded a design council award
1972 the 110 is the first to be awarded a design council award

1972   the innovative centre pivot steer JCB 413
1972 the innovative centre pivot steer JCB 413

In 1973 the 423 and 428 were launched, taking JCB into heavier wheeled loader territory. A year later the Design Council again recognised JCB, for the 418 design, the company’s second award in just two years for what was still a fairly young business unit.

1973   machining of wheeled loader chassis components
1973 machining of wheeled loader chassis components

1973   the anatomy of a JCB articulated wheeled loading shovel
1973 the anatomy of a JCB articulated wheeled loading shovel

1975   the 112 crawler loader made its debut
1975 the 112 crawler loader made its debut

1975   the 418 won a design council award
1975 the 418 won a design council award

1976   the 114 was launched
1976 the 114 was launched

By the early 1980s the division had expanded again, with the introduction of the 428 landfill compactor. JCB recognised that different industry sectors required individual machine specifications, a focus that has remained to this day, with JCB building specific models for construction, quarrying, agriculture and waste handling. The first 410 Farm Master model would be launched just two years later in 1983, continuing a relationship with the farming community that has was established along with the company in 1945.

1979   the 413 wheeled loader at work
1979 the 413 wheeled loader at work

1981   the 410 wheeled loader is launched to develop a market for smaller customers such as builders merchants
1981 the 410 wheeled loader is launched to develop a market for smaller customers such as builders merchants

 

By that time, the 410, 420 and 430 models had also arrived, again moving the sector forwards with the introduction of four-ram loader linkages. These parallel lift arms would prove essential for materials handling duties in particular. JCB still offers customers a choice between a four-arm lift package or the Z-bar linkage favoured by the quarry industry on many loader models.

 

1981   the launch of the 428 landfill compactor
1981 the launch of the 428 landfill compactor

1982   the 410 was among the new generation of wheeled loaders featuring 4 ram loader linkages
1982 the 410 was among the new generation of wheeled loaders featuring 4 ram loader linkages

1983   the 410 Farm Master wheeled loader was the first dedicated agricultural loading shovel
1983 the 410 Farm Master wheeled loader was the first dedicated agricultural loading shovel

1984   the 410M 1B was  JCB's first military wheeled loader
1984 the 410M 1B was JCB's first military wheeled loader

1986   launch advertising for the new 425
1986 launch advertising for the new 425

 

Another sector with which JCB has enjoyed a positive relationship is the military, the company developing the 410M-1B military wheeled loader in 1984. As well as being specifically designed and built to meet the needs of military operation, each machine was shipped with £1,000 of spare parts, to ensure continued operation in even the most remote areas.

1986   the 415 was introduced alongside the 425
1986 the 415 was introduced alongside the 425

JCB continued to develop its growing range of wheeled loaders, moving into the compact market in 1987. The 406 was the first JCB compact loader and the first to have the cab mounted on the rear section of the articulating chassis. This model was soon joined by the 408 in 1989 and the 408 Farm Master in 1990.

1987    JCB's first compact loader,  the 406 was introduced
1987 JCB's first compact loader, the 406 was introduced

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1988    JCB launched the 435 loading shovel
1988 JCB launched the 435 loading shovel

1989    JCB introduced the 408 compact loader
1989 JCB introduced the 408 compact loader

1990   the 408 Farm Master made its debut
1990 the 408 Farm Master made its debut

1994   a new range of machines with rear mounted cabs including the 411 and 416 was introduced
1994 a new range of machines with rear mounted cabs including the 411 and 416 was introduced

1994   a variant of the 409 farm master was launched
1994 a variant of the 409 farm master was launched

 

Following the success of the compact models, JCB went on to redesign its heavier loaders, with the launch of the 411, 412S and 416 in 1994. These new machines all featured a much-improved operator’s cab, mounted on the rear section of the chassis for the first time.

1994   the 1.1 cubic metre bucket capacity 411 is launched to replace the JCB 410
1994 the 1.1 cubic metre bucket capacity 411 is launched to replace the JCB 410

They were followed just a year later by the 414S, 426, 436ZX and JCB’s first telescopic boom wheeled loader, the 409TM. With 22 years of market-leading telescopic handler experience, JCB’s decision to combine the talents of its wheeled loading shovel chassis with a telescopic boom from the Loadall division proved an inspired one. It brought together the versatility of a telehandler boom, with the precision control of an articulated machine.

1994   the 1.3 cubic metre bucket capacity JCB 416 is launched to replace the JCB 415
1994 the 1.3 cubic metre bucket capacity JCB 416 is launched to replace the JCB 415

Additional compact models followed in 1996, while 1997 would prove one of the most decorated years for the company’s loader business. In 1997 JCB picked up a Queen’s Award for Export Achievement for the loader range, along with a Royal Agricultural Society of England Silver Medal Award for the 412 Farm Master Servo Plus. A new range-topping 456ZX model joined the line-up, alongside 410ZX and 411ZX hydrostatic compact models and two additional Telemasters - the TM200 and TM270.

1995   a number of wheeled loaders including the 436 were launched
1995 a number of wheeled loaders including the 436 were launched

1997   the 411b ZX in action
1997 the 411b ZX in action

1997   the new TM270 Telemaster joined the line up
1997 the new TM270 Telemaster joined the line up

1998   the 446 wheeled loader was introduced
1998 the 446 wheeled loader was introduced

2002   the TM300 Telemaster was introduced
2002 the TM300 Telemaster was introduced

2005   the 406 compact loader with new parallel lift geometry was introduced
2005 the 406 compact loader with new parallel lift geometry was introduced

If 1997 was a big year for products, 1999 would prove an even more eventful year for the business, with a move to purpose-built new premises in Cheadle, Staffordshire. With the ability to boost production, the multi million pound facility - producing under the name JCB Earthmovers - would prove critical to further fuel product expansion and sales growth.

By the early 2000s, the company’s range of wheeled loaders and telescopic loaders was well established, with the addition of new 407, 408 and 409 hydrostatic loaders, the TM300 Telemaster and the 456HT loader. In 2006, JCB Earthmovers was again given a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the International Trade Category, a feat that would be repeated in 2009.

2006   the 456ZX became Stage III3A (and US EPA Tier 3) compliant
2006 the 456ZX became Stage III3A (and US EPA Tier 3) compliant

2007    JCB introduced the 436ZX Stage IIIA compliant wheel loader
2007 JCB introduced the 436ZX Stage IIIA compliant wheel loader

2010   the TM220 Agri Telemaster made its debut
2010 the TM220 Agri Telemaster made its debut

2012   the 467 is launched as the largest machine in the JCB wheel loader range
2012 the 467 is launched as the largest machine in the JCB wheel loader range

2014   the command plus cab was introduced on the new 457
2014 the command plus cab was introduced on the new 457

The first decade of the new century culminated with the launch of the 436E-M  (Military) and 436E-MWW (Medium Winterised Waterproof) military wheeled loaders, with the MWW variant the first to be completely waterproofed and winterised.

As with other JCB businesses, much of the second decade of this century has been taken up with meeting exhaust emissions legislation, as JCB’s wheeled loaders have passed through Tier 3 and Tier 4 Interim and Final standards. The company is currently preparing to provide customers in Europe with Stage V compliant models in 2019 and 2020.

2016   DNA from the 457 is rolled out to 411, 417, 427S and 437 models
2016 DNA from the 457 is rolled out to 411, 417, 427S and 437 models

2014 saw the dawn of a new era in cab design with the launch of the all new ‘JCB CommandPlus’ cab. The powerful JCB 457 was the first machine to show off the completely new cab, offering operators the ultimate in comfort. This totally new ROPS structure has A pillars that have been moved out to the same width as the rear of the cab, providing a larger interior with a panoramic front windscreen. The machine features JCB’s Command Driving Position, with revised pedals, a new adjustable steering column and seat-mounted hydraulic controls.

This decade has also seen JCB’s wheeled loader line continue to expand, as the line-up has grown with both larger and smaller models. The largest loader, the 467, launched in 2012, while the company’s smallest model, the 403, arrived in 2017.  

2017   the 403, JCB's smallest ever wheeled loader, is introduced
2017 the 403, JCB's smallest ever wheeled loader, is introduced

The company has also spread its global footprint, as facilities in India commenced production of wheeled loaders in 2012. JCB started production of the 426 loader in Brazil in 2014 and in 2017 it started production of wheeled loaders in China.

JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope says: “Over the past 50 years, JCB’s wheeled loader range has evolved into a major part of our product portfolio. Fifty years is a long time but our sights are firmly on the future and we are committed to bringing new levels of innovation to this range. The launch of the spacious CommandPlus cab on our wheeled loaders was a pivotal moment in this machine’s history and this innovation really did put operator comfort at the heart of the design.

JCB now offers 25 different wheeled loader models and manufactures the product on three continents. With our innovative range we are very well placed to increase our sales in a sector which has grown rapidly around the world for three consecutive years.”

 

MPU

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