Kubota Corporation has unveiled plans for a £100m expansion of its Hirakata Plant, the company’s main mini-excavator manufacturing facility in Japan, significantly enhancing its production capacity. The expansion will see Kubota increase its annual production capability from 48,000 to 78,000 units, helping tackle not only the high demand across Europe and North America, but also the future demand predicted in Asia and other emerging markets.
“The increase in production capacity perfectly aligns with the ambition and expectation for a growth in demand for mini-excavator technologies here in the U.K, and across the construction industry as a whole,” explains Rob White, Division Manager, Construction, Kubota UK. “Expanding production capabilities by more than 60% ensures Kubota U.K will be able to continue providing its customers with good lead times and access to the latest mini-excavator technologies, as demand increases. And of course, all of this will continue to be supported through our vital dealer network and aftersales offering to ensure Kubota remains first choice in the U.K and Ireland for mini-excavators.”
As part of the new expansion, an entirely new building will be erected and focus on the painting and assembly of the machines, streamlining the manufacturing process and creating more workspace allowing for more machining and welding equipment. The investment will total approximately JPY 17 billion (£100m+), with the new facility covering an area of 12,150m2. Kubota expects the start of operations for the assembly line to commence in Q4 2024, with the painting line becoming operational a year later, in Q4 of 2025.
Alongside the physical developments at the facility, Kubota is also investing in new technologies that will be included within its new manufacturing process that offer additional product and environmental benefits. For example, the new painting process will adopt an environmentally friendly powder that minimises paint loss and significantly reduces volatile organic compounds (VOC), in addition to the electrodeposition painting, which helps towards anti-rust prevention. Kubota will also reuse the heat generated by these coating processes and employ solar power generation equipment installed on the roof of the new building to reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing processes overall.
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a migration from cities to suburbs and in turn a more residential-focused construction industry worldwide than before. This is parallel to an increase in construction backed by infrastructure investments and urban development by countries throughout the world. It is for these reasons that Kubota anticipates the current growth in demand for mini-excavators to continue primary in Europe and North America going forwards.