Hitachi Construction Machinery Marks 70 Years: From cable-operated shovels to integrated grade control

Hitachi Topcon excavator Grade ControlHitachi Construction Machinery Company is celebrating its 70th year of full-scale production.

The Japan-based company kicked off mass production of construction machinery in 1950 with the U06 cable-operated shovel. Five years later, the company added a compact (U03) and a larger model (U16).

In 1965, the company introduced the first hydraulic excavator made in Japan, the UH03, with entirely Japanese technologies, the company says.

Hitachi UH03 excavator

Hitachi’s UH03 became the first hydraulic excavator in Japan made of all Japanese technologies. Photo credit: Hitachi Construction Machinery

Throughout the years, Hitachi expanded its lineup of construction equipment, adding additional excavators and launching articulated wheel loaders, as well as other heavy equipment for construction, forestry and mining industries. In 1971, it introduced the first fully hydraulic crawler crane, the KH150.

In 1983, Hitachi and John Deere forged the beginnings of a partnership that remains intact today. What began as a supply agreement has grown into three joint-venture manufacturing plants and marketing operations in North America and South America. In 1985, Hitachi Construction Machinery (America) Corp. was formed.

In 2010, the company formed a joint venture with KCM, formerly Kawasaki Construction Machinery, to develop Tier 4 Final diesel emissions technology for wheel loaders. Hitachi later acquired KCM. In 2017, it made Hitachi Construction Machinery Loaders America, which operates as a wholly owned subsidiary, and dropped the KCM brand name.

Hitachi Construction Machinery continues to innovate. Its latest technology of integrated grade control for its excavators comes from a partnership with Topcon. In 2019, Hitachi launched its EX-7 Series excavators.

“Hitachi’s longevity is so impressive, and it’s a tribute to the machine quality and innovation,” says Jonny Spendlove, product marketing manager, excavators, Hitachi Construction Machinery – Americas.