Australian construction equipment distributor JCB CEA is celebrating the 60th birthday of the iconic JCB backhoe loader that has helped to shape the world.
JCB founder Joseph Cyril Bamford manufactured the original JCB backhoe in 1953, creating for the first time a single machine with a front shovel and rear excavator arm.
The concept developed rapidly, with the launch of the Hydra-Digger in 1956 and the heavier, more powerful JCB 4 in 1960. By the 1980s JCB equipped backhoe loaders with powershift transmissions, four-wheel drive, extending dipper arms, and multi-purpose front buckets, which brought increased performance and productivity for operators.
The JCB brand attracted a host of dedicated followers, including Glenn McLeod, dubbed “Turbo” by his friends after the JCB Turbo Site Loader. Glenn began selling a broad range of equipment for JCB in 1986, but he has a particular affection for the backhoe.
“The backhoe loader offers so much in versatility. They can do everything for everyone and that’s what initially caught my eye,” Glenn said.
“The 1980s were an exciting time for the Australian construction industry with the land development boom and the Queensland migration, and the backhoe loader was king. In those days, everything was done with a backhoe when a house was being built – clearing the land, digging foundations, putting in drainage systems – everything from go to whoa was done with one machine.”
Today, backhoe loaders are the fourth most popular machine in terms of global plant equipment sales, despite the evolution of new and competitive products over the past 60 years. JCB’s iconic backhoe is the biggest selling in the world – and has been for 13 consecutive years.
The company has developed its technology and engineering expertise as well, now building its own market-leading range of diesel engines, its own transmissions and hydraulic systems. Even the cabs are designed, assembled and fabricated in-house, allowing JCB to control quality and design at every stage of the build process.
“JCB was founded on the success of the backhoe loader and there are still exciting developments to come,” Glenn said.
Glenn now works across a variety of roles with JCB, including sales and operational training.