Production landmark for JCB engine plant

Half a million and counting....JCB today celebrated the production of its 500,000th engine. Employees at JCB Power Systems are pictured marking the occasion in front of the milestone figure spelt out in engines.

A division of excavator manufacturer, JCB has passed a major production milestone.

JCB Power Systems has produced its 500,000th four-cylinder diesel unit.

The engines first began rolling off the production lines at the plant in Foston, Derbyshire in November 2004, back when the company employed just 64 people.

In the first year of production just 10,000 of the engines were made but since then the business has grown dramatically, with production volumes expanded and the workforce increased to almost 400.

It took eight years to build the first 200,000 JCB engines and only five years to build the next 300,000 – highlighting the rapid growth in the business. The expansion also saw JCB India begin production of engines in 2010 at its headquarters near Delhi.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said: “There have been many great achievements at JCB over the years and engine manufacturing is a truly great success story. In 2004 we relied entirely on external suppliers for our engines. Today the JCB engine powers more than 70% of the machines JCB makes and we sell it very successfully to other manufacturers for a wide variety of uses.

“What is more important is that we have complete control over our engine technology and production, giving us the freedom to innovate and to offer our customers engines which are clean, fuel efficient, easy to maintain and economical. Production of half a million engines is a wonderful milestone and I congratulate the whole team for achieving such a momentous landmark.”

This year has been a milestone year for the engine company, having invested £10m into the Foston plant to provide new CNC machining centres and associated automated processes.

The investment has spawned around 30 new jobs and allowed the company to produce cylinder heads, engine blocks and bedplates – the major engine components – in-house for the first time, boosting efficiency and ensuring that very demanding quality targets are met.

Production has also started this year of a brand-new fuel-efficient 3-litre engine following the culmination of a £31m investment programme which included support of £4.5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. It is the third engine line to be launched by JCB since production first started.

In 2016 the company also celebrated winning two Queen’s Awards, including one for Innovation, for the development of the JCB EcoMax engine, with its low-emission combustion system. The other award was for International Trade, recognising growth in overseas third-party sales of the JCB engine family by more than 325% between 2012 and 2014.