January 16, 2015 by On-Site Magazine
Kobelco Construction Machinery has announced plans to build a hydraulic excavator production facility in Spartanburg, allowing it to reduce the production lead time of machines for its North American customers and improve its capabilities for meeting market needs.
Site preparation for the production facility will begin in April 2015 and is expected to be completed in December 2015. Kobelco’s $41-million investment will involve the development of a 156,000 sq.- ft. production factory, 17,000 square foot office building, machinery parking and a testing area. The facility will sit on approximately 85 acres of land with space for future production capacity expansion, with access to major domestic ports, including Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA.
With an estimated annual capacity of 1,800 units, the US factory will begin mass production in January 2016. Kobelco plans to begin its production with standard machines weighing 20 tons and larger and increase the product line offerings and capacity in accordance with market development. Future production plans at the US facility are expected to include most of Kobelco’s excavator models.
“We are very excited to begin a new phase of our growth in North America,” states Pete Morita, president and CEO of Kobelco Construction Machinery USA. “The announcement of our new manufacturing facility follows the move last fall into our much larger and enhanced new North American Headquarters and Parts Distribution facility in Katy, TX.”
The development of Kobelco’s North American production factory will reduce operational burden on the Itsukaichi factory in Hiroshima, Japan while also allowing for the reorganization of Kobelco USA into a company with integrated production and sales, all on US soil. After the production of standard models for the US is transferred, the Hiroshima factory is expected to continue maintaining full production in order to accommodate the expansion of newly developed areas, focusing on Europe, the Middle East and the Near East.
Kobelco produces a full range of crawler excavators in the 3,000 to 184,000 lb. classes for the rental, landscape, construction, aggregate, roadbuilding, material handling, site preparation, recycling and ancillary markets and includes zero tail swing, standard, long-reach and compact models.