Hitachi increases excavator efficiency


Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) has announced it is expecting to increase efficiency in the production of its excavators following the official opening of its Dutch excavator factory.

A special ceremony last month, attended by a select group of the company’s customers and employees, saw the mini and compact excavator facility in Oosterhout, Netherlands, be reopened following the completion of renovations.

The extensive modernization program began in January this year and now following its completion, Hitachi expects production efficiency of the ZX10 and ZX85 vehicles at the factory to improve.

The factory’s general manager, Marco Verhoef, said, “We have already doubled our output since 2014 from 2,500 to 5,000 machines by 2018. The renovation of the factory was necessary to help us grow further, and will enable us to produce more than 7,000 machines per year, according to market demand.”

New approach
As part of the upgrade, a new semi-automatic assembly line has also been installed at the 8,000m2 facility, as well as new equipment and paint booths. The staff at the factory have also adopted the ‘takt time’ approach, which means completing an activity within a certain amount of time and results in an optimal work flow. Inventory has also been reduced by following the kanban method of lean manufacturing.

The official opening was marked by Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) president and CEO, Makoto Yamazawa, and director for production and procurement, Kazutoshi Yoshioka, releasing confetti. Speaking at the event, Verhoef thanked the factory’s 100 employees for their effort and resilience in recent months.

Production at the site had continued throughout the six-month renovation program.

Hitachi increases excavator efficiency

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.

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