JCB’s Ł40 million investment in the Heavy Products plant has taken quality standards to new heights and given the company the capability to produce 8,000 excavators a year.
The JCB Heavy Products facility is now in full production following the business’ transfer from its historic base in the centre of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire to a new site on the outskirts of the town. The 450,000 sq ft plant is split into two main parts – as assembly area and a large fabrication area – and is manned by 48 highly skilled teams manufacturing a range of 25 tracked and wheeled excavators from seven to 46 tonnes.
And the investment has signalled an opportunity to build even better quality machines. As a result, JCB today also announced that for JS excavator customers in the UK and Ireland it was doubling the standard manufacturer's warranty from one year to two or up to 3,000 hours.
JCB Heavy Products Managing Director John Gill said: “Without doubt, this factory is one of the most modern excavator manufacturing plants in the world and I’m extremely proud of the facility we have here.
“Since JCB began manufacturing the new JS range in 2003 we have built a reputation for the quality, durability, power, controllability, efficiency and comfort of our excavators. The massive investment we’ve undertaken in building this new factory means we can enhance that reputation still further by building machines of higher quality.
“JCB’s range of JS tracked and wheeled excavators already have a formidable reputation for high quality. Taking those quality levels to new heights was at the heart of the decision to invest Ł40 million in excavator manufacturing. This is a very exciting phase in the development of JCB’s excavator business.”
Part of the Ł40 million investment has been in new machining centres which put JCB in direct control of component quality. The new machining centres are also able to self-position and ‘find’ components to maximise machining accuracy, giving consistent quality to fabrications.
In addition, the company has invested in brand new paint booths with a six-stage painting process which offers customers the ultimate and most durable paint finish – ensuring the machine looks new for longer, enhancing its resale value for customers.
New measures to ensure hydraulic cleanliness are also a key hallmark of the new factory with the introduction of ‘clean rooms’ for the assembly of all core hydraulic components to prevent contamination. There is also a ‘clean room’ for the building of a component kit for specific machine specifications.
The new factory is also split into two main areas: fabrication and welding and assembly, a layout which is key to enhancing quality because it eliminates the potential for contaminants to infiltrate the assembly area from the welding and fabrication shop.
JCB’s pre-delivery tests of machines have always been exhaustive, but the ‘hot-test’ at the new JCB Heavy Products factory has been increased from two to three stages. There is also a 200-point check on the machine’s finish before it leaves the factory.