The JCB 520 was originally introduced to the market in 1977 and these machines were set to revolutionise the way materials were handled on construction sites and also in the agricultural sector.
Initial research by JCB into producing this type of machine was started back in 1973, although another company was to launch the very first telescopic handler a year later. That company was called Liner who chose the 1974 Public Works Exhibition in London to showcase its new “Giraffe” site placing vehicle as it was then described.
Many of those machines made it into the marketplace but the concept didn’t really take off initially. Once JCB launched the 520 there was no looking back and the company really made the product their own. I spent some time operating some early 520 machines during my time with Wimpey’s and they were very well received on the sites where I operated them.
The first machines were only two wheel drive so becoming bogged was a bit of a problem, and it has to be said that they did suffer from transmission problems in those early days. This was addressed in 1980 with the launch of the 525 which was still powered by the 72hp Leyland engine but was now using the JCB “Powertrain” transmission which was a vast improvement on the previous drive train. Later in the same year a 4 wheel drive version was launched which solved any previous traction issues that had arisen.
The rest as they say is history and the JCB Loadall range is probably one of the companies most successful products, which has grown and developed over the years and now has over 15 different machines as well as a number of different agricultural specific models.
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