|Founder||Joseph Cyril Bamford|
|Headquarters||Rocester, England, UK|
|Products||Construction, agriculture, waste handling and demolition machinery|
|Revenue||£4.1 billion (2019)|
Number of employees
JCB is a manufacturer of equipment for construction, agriculture, waste handling, and demolition, based in Rocester, England. It produces over 300 types of machines, including diggers (backhoes), excavators, tractors, and diesel engines, across 22 factories spanning Asia, Europe, North America, and South America; its products are sold in over 150 countries.
Joseph Cyril Bamford Excavators Ltd. was founded in 1945 by Joseph Cyril Bamford and continues to be owned by the Bamford family. In the UK, India, and Ireland, the word "JCB" is often used colloquially as a generic description for mechanical diggers and excavators and now appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, although it is still held as a trademark.
JCB is owned by JCB Research which has only two shares, both owned by Anthony Bamford. JCB Research is an unlimited company, which does not have to file public accounts.
A Reuters study of JCB group accounts found that between 2001 and 2013, the JCB group paid £577 million to JCB Research.
JCB was founded by Joseph Cyril Bamford in October 1945 in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England. He rented a lock-up garage 3.7 by 4.6 m (12 by 15 ft). In it, using a welding set which he bought second-hand for £2-10s (= £2.50) from English Electric, he made his first vehicle, a tipping trailer from war-surplus materials. The trailer's sides and floor were made from steel sheet that had been part of air raid shelters. On the same day as his son Anthony was born, he sold the trailer at a nearby market for £45 (plus a part-exchanged farm cart) and at once made another trailer. At one time he made vehicles in Eckersley's coal yard in Uttoxeter. The first trailer and the welding set have been preserved.
In 1948, six people were working for the company, and it made the first hydraulic tipping trailer in Europe. In 1950, it moved to an old cheese factory in Rocester, still employing six. A year later, he began painting his products yellow. In 1953, his first backhoe loader was launched, and the JCB logo appeared for the first time. It was designed by Derby Media and advertising designer Leslie Smith. In 1957, the firm launched the "hydra-digga", incorporating the excavator and the major loader as a single all-purpose tool useful for the agricultural and construction industries.
In 1960, JCB's hydraulic tractors entered the North American market, proving a long-lasting success. JCB became, and still is, the brand leader in the world. By 1964, JCB had sold over 3,000 3C backhoe loaders. The next year, the first 360-degree excavator was introduced, the JCB 7.
In 1978, the Loadall machine was introduced. The next year, JCB started its operation in India. In 1991, the firm entered a joint venture with Sumitomo of Japan to produce excavators, which ended in 1998. Two years later, a JCB factory was completed in Pooler near Savannah, Georgia in the US, and the next year a factory was opened in Brazil.
In December 2000, JCB was fined €39.6m by the European Commission for violating European Union antitrust law. The fine related to restrictions on sales outside allotted territories, purchases between authorised distributors, bonuses and fees which restricted out of territory sales, and occasional joint fixing of resale prices and discounts across different territories. JCB appealed the decision, with the European Court of First Instance upholding portions of the appeal and reducing the original fine by 25%. JCB appealed to the European Court of Justice but this final appeal was rejected in 2006, with the court slightly increasing the reduced fine by €864,000.
Production of the first engine designed and manufactured by JCB, the JCB444 diesel engine, began in 2004. In 2005, for the first time in nearly forty years, JCB bought a company, purchasing the German equipment firm Vibromax. In the same year, the firm opened a new factory in Pudong, China. By 2006, the firm had 4000 employees, twice what it had in 1975.
Planning of a new £40 million pound JCB Heavy Products site began following the launch of an architectural design competition in 2007 managed by RIBA Competitions, and by the next year, the firm began to move from its old site in Pinfold Street in Uttoxeter to the new site beside the A50; the Pinfold Street site was demolished in 2009. During that year, JCB announced plans to make India its largest manufacturing hub. Its factory at Ballabgarh in Haryana, was to become the world's largest backhoe loader manufacturing facility.
JCB shed 2,000 jobs during the recession, but in 2010 it announced it was recruiting up to 200 new workers.
The company was a member of the CBI business lobby group until 2016. In October 2016, it was reported that JCB had left the CBI in the summer of 2016 following the Brexit vote. JCB has also been a significant donor to the UK Conservative Party; since 2007 JCB and related Bamford entities have given the party £8.1m in cash or kind. JCB chairman Anthony Bamford donated £100,000 to Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit group.
JCB has 22 factories in the UK, Germany, North America, Brazil, Australia, India and China. The company employs some 12,000 people on four continents and sells its products in 150 countries through 1,500 dealer depot locations. The company has a range of more than 300 products.
JCB is headquartered in Rocester which is also the production site for backhoe loaders and telescopic 'Loadall' handlers. It has a further three production plants in nearby Cheadle, Staffordshire (JCB Earthmovers, JCB Landpower and JCB Compact Products), one in Rugeley (JCB Cab Systems), three in Uttoxeter (JCB Attachments, JCB Heavy Products and JCB World Parts Centre), one in Foston, Derbyshire (JCB Power Systems) and one in Wrexham in North Wales (JCB Drivetrain Systems). In July 2013 the company opened a dedicated logistics hub in Newcastle-under-Lyme. This facility is the central hub for component distribution to production facilities, as distinct from the World Parts Centre in Uttoxeter which distributes spare parts to dealers and customers.
In December 2013 it was announced that the Rugeley Cab Systems plant would move to a new facility in Uttoxeter which would allow the in-sourcing of cab assembly currently contracted to third parties. This investment is to be accompanied by the expansion of the Rocester and Cheadle production sites by 2018.
Its Indian factories are based in Faridabad, Haryana; Jaipur, Rajasthanand Pune, Maharashtra, its US factory is in Pooler, Georgia, its Brazilian factory in Sorocaba, São Paulo, and its Chinese factory was completed in 2005 in Pudong near Shanghai. JCB also owns Vibromax, a German compaction equipment company based in Gatersleben.
JCB has also licensed its name and image to a line of consumer power tools, manufactured by Alba.
The products are sold through franchised dealerships, many of which are often exclusive and cover whole countries.
JCB dominates the Indian construction equipment market with every three out of every four construction equipment sold in India being a JCB. JCB India's revenue rose more than twelve times to $1 billion in 2012–13 from $75 million in 2001. The Indian operations of the UK company account for 17.5% of its total revenue.
Many of the vehicles produced by JCB are variants of the backhoe loader, including tracked or wheeled variants, mini and large versions and other variations for carrying and moving items, for example forklift vehicles and telescopic handlers for moving materials to the upper floors of a building site. Wheeled loading shovels and articulated dump trucks are also produced.
JCB now has its X Series, an updated version of the J series Tracked 360° excavators ranging from the JZ70 (7-tonne zero tail swing excavator) to the JS460 (46-tonne tracked excavator). In 2008 at Con expo JCB revealed a new top range JS520 which included the new style paint job with rams painted black.
Wheeled 360° excavators ranging from the JS130W to the JS200W.
Machines can be produced with either monoboom or a triple-articulated boom
Industrial and agricultural wheeled loaders from compact 6-tonne hydrostatic machines to larger 25-tonne quarrying machines using a mix of 4- and 6-cylinder diesel engines.
JCB has also made its name in the tractor world by producing one of the first such machines that features proper suspension and is capable of travelling at speed on roads. The JCB Fastrac entered production in 1990. Prior to this design, the suspension was difficult because of the fixed-height connections required to farm machinery, and tractors were notoriously slow on the roads. Dependent on the model, the Fastrac can travel at 50 km/h, 65 km/h or 75 km/h (40 mph). At launch the Fastrac was featured on the BBC television programme Tomorrow's World, and years later as Jeremy Clarkson's tractor of choice in Top Gear. From 2006 the company also produces a range of compact tractors designed for grounds-care, horticultural, and light agricultural duties.
In April 2006, JCB announced that they were developing a diesel-powered land speed record vehicle known as the 'JCB Dieselmax'. The car is powered by two modified JCB 444 diesel power plants using a two-stage turbocharger to generate 750 bhp, one engine driving the front wheels and the other the rear wheels.
On 22 August 2006 the Dieselmax, driven by Andy Green, broke the diesel engine land speed record, attaining a speed of 328.767 miles per hour (529.099 km/h). The following day, the record was again broken, this time with a speed of 350.092 miles per hour (563.418 km/h).
JCB acquired the German company Vibromax, which manufactures compaction equipment.
The company also promotes constructive play for children of all ages and has launched a website dedicated to encouraging outdoor activities for children and their parents.
The JCB logo dates from 1953; from 1960 the company typewriters were given an extra key to render it accurately.
To demonstrate his faith in the hydraulic fail safes on JCB machines (which lock the arms in the event of a loss of hydraulic pressure, preventing them from crashing to the ground), Joe Cyril Bamford arranged to have several backhoes raise themselves up on their arms, and drove his car beneath them.
This has since developed into a world-famous demonstration of the versatility of the backhoe configuration. The JCB display team (JCB Dancing Diggers) tour agricultural shows and produce videos, showing some of the unusual ways in which such vehicles can support themselves or manoeuvre. For example, it is quite common for drivers to support the vehicle on both buckets, either for turning on the spot without damaging ground, or for spinning the tracks in a puddle to clean them. The display team expanded this concept into a sort of vehicle gymnastics. The drivers are members of JCB's demonstration team, who visit prospective customers and demonstrate machines on the customer's property.
JCB became famous in India named as 'JCB ki Khudai(JCB digging)' thanks to memes about its digging activities.
JCB Insurance Services Ltd
JCB Insurance Services was founded in 1984 by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford as a fully owned subsidiary to provide for the insurance needs of the customers purchasing the firm's equipment, with the funding they obtained from another fully owned subsidiary, JCB Finance. The insurance subsidiary provides all-risks policies, with optional additions for road risks coverage, and for public liability and employers liability.
JCB Research is described as an obscure company worth £27,000 which donated £2m to the Conservative Party, making it the largest donor in the run up to the 2010 election. Ownership of the company which has never filed accounts is disputed by the Bamford brothers. According to The Guardian, much of the Bamford money was held in shares in offshore trusts.
Sales to Israel
JCB has been included on a UN Human Rights Council list of companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements.
In 2020 the British government decided to investigate a complaint that JCB’s sale of equipment to Israel did not comply with the human rights guidelines set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The UK National Contact Point (NCP), part of the UK’s Department of International Trade, agreed to review a complaint against JCB submitted by a charity, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights. JCB said it had no “legal ownership” of its machinery once sold to Comasco, its sole distributor of JCB equipment in Israel.
In 2020, JCB received a £600m loan in emergency financial aid from the UK government, during the coronavirus pandemic, despite its ultimate ownership being in the Netherlands and having reported a record £447 million profit the previous year. Its chief executive Graeme Macdonald said: “Although not a public company, we are eligible for CCF because of our contribution to the UK economy. We don’t expect to utilise it in the short-term but it gives us an insurance policy if there is further disruption from or second spike or other impact around the world.”
According to Ethical Consumer, JCB has six subsidiaries in jurisdictions considered to be tax havens, in Singapore, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Delaware and Switzerland.
In popular culture
- JCB is prominently featured in the song "JCB" by music group Nizlopi, which achieved UK number one status. The song is about a boy who goes to work with his father for the day.
- A JCB (not talking) named Jekub appears in volume 2 (Diggers) of The Bromeliad (alias Nomes) series by Terry Pratchett.
- The Lego Technic range featured a scale-model of the JCB backhoe (Set 8862), complete with working hydraulics systems (simulated using pneumatics) and many other features of the original.
- The 2017 movie Alien: Covenant featured 20 JCB machines in a spacecraft's "terraforming bay" to be used on a mission to establish a new colony on another planet.
- JCB was a major sponsor of the Williams F1 Formula 1 team, with its logo prominent on the F1 cars and hospitality for 2018 season. In 2019 it became a sponsor of Racing Point F1 Team.
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- The Uttoxeter Sentinel
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- Construction and Agricultural Equipment. Generators. – MTA Angola's JCB Exclusive Dealer – Construction ¦ Agriculture ¦ Generators
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- "Constructive Play: What is it and why is it important?".
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- JCB Academy website
- Jamie Doward (14 November 2010). "Feud between Bamford brothers threatens to cast light on funding for Tories". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
- "UN releases list of companies with ties to illegal Israeli settlements". Middle East Eye. 12 February 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- editor, Patrick Wintour Diplomatic (13 October 2020). "JCB challenged over machinery used to demolish Palestinian homes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 October 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Tovey, Alan (3 June 2020). "JCB gets £600m government loan as 'insurance policy'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- Williams, Ollie. "Bank Of England Spends Billions Bailing Out Europe's Richest Families". Forbes. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- "Ethical Consumer researches JCB in support of Palestine Action launch". Ethical Consumer. 6 August 2020. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
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