JCB (company)

J.C. Bamford Excavators Ltd., universally known as JCB, is a British multinational corporation, with headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, manufacturing equipment for construction, agriculture, waste handling and demolition. It produces over 300 types of machines, including diggers (backhoes), excavators, tractors and diesel engines. It has 22 factories across Asia, Europe, North America and South America; its products are sold in over 150 countries.[3][4]

J.C. Bamford Excavators Ltd.
Private company
IndustryHeavy equipment
FounderJoseph Cyril Bamford
HeadquartersRocester, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Key people
Anthony Bamford
Jo Bamford
ProductsConstruction, agriculture, waste handling and demolition machinery
Revenue£3.35  billion (2018)[2]
Number of employees
Approximately 11,000[3]

JCB was founded in 1945 by Joseph Cyril Bamford, after whom it is named; it continues to be owned by the Bamford family. In the UK, India and Ireland, the word "JCB" is often used colloquially as a generic description for mechanical diggers and excavators and now appears in the Oxford English Dictionary, although it is still held as a trademark.[5]


20th century

JCB was founded by Joseph Cyril Bamford in October 1945 in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, England. He rented a lock-up garage 3.7 by 4.6 m (12 by 15 ft). In it, using a welding set which he bought second-hand for £2-10s (= £2.50) from English Electric, he made his first vehicle, a tipping trailer from war-surplus materials. The trailer's sides and floor were made from steel sheet that had been part of air raid shelters. On the same day as his son Anthony was born, he sold the trailer at a nearby market for £45 (plus a part-exchanged farm cart) and at once made another trailer. At one time he made vehicles in Eckersley's coal yard in Uttoxeter. The first trailer and the welding set have been preserved.

In 1948, six people were working for the company, and it made the first hydraulic tipping trailer in Europe. In 1950, it moved to an old cheese factory in Rocester, still employing six. A year later, he began painting his products yellow. In 1953, his first backhoe loader was launched, and the JCB logo appeared for the first time. It was designed by Derby Media and advertising designer Leslie Smith. In 1957, the firm launched the "hydra-digga", incorporating the excavator and the major loader as a single all-purpose tool useful for the agricultural and construction industries.[6]

In 1960, JCB's hydraulic tractors entered the North American market, proving a long-lasting success. JCB became, and still is, the brand leader in the world. By 1964, JCB had sold over 3,000 3C backhoe loaders. The next year, the first 360-degree excavator was introduced, the JCB 7.[7]

In 1978, the Loadall machine was introduced. The next year, JCB started its operation in India. In 1991, the firm entered a joint venture with Sumitomo of Japan to produce excavators, which ended in 1998.[8] Two years later, a JCB factory was completed in Pooler near Savannah, Georgia in the US, and the next year a factory was opened in Brazil.

21st century

In December 2000, JCB was fined €39.6m by the European Commission for violating European Union antitrust law.[9] The fine related to restrictions on sales outside allotted territories, purchases between authorised distributors, bonuses and fees which restricted out of territory sales, and occasional joint fixing of resale prices and discounts across different territories.[10] JCB appealed the decision, with the European Court of First Instance upholding portions of the appeal and reducing the original fine by 25%. JCB appealed to the European Court of Justice but this final appeal was rejected in 2006,[11] with the court slightly increasing the reduced fine by €864,000.[12]

Production of the first engine designed and manufactured by JCB, the JCB444 diesel engine, began in 2004.[13] In 2005, for the first time in nearly forty years, JCB bought a company, purchasing the German equipment firm Vibromax. In the same year, the firm opened a new factory in Pudong, China. By 2006, the firm had 4000 employees, twice what it had in 1975.

Planning of a new £40 million pound JCB Heavy Products site began following the launch of an architectural design competition in 2007 managed by RIBA Competitions,[14] and by the next year, the firm began to move from its old site in Pinfold Street in Uttoxeter to the new site beside the A50; the Pinfold Street site was demolished in 2009. During that year, JCB announced plans to make India its largest manufacturing hub. Its factory at Ballabgarh in Haryana, was to become the world's largest backhoe loader manufacturing facility.[15]

JCB shed 2,000 jobs during the recession, but in 2010 it announced it was recruiting up to 200 new workers.[16]

The company was a member of the CBI business lobby group until 2016. In October 2016, it was reported that JCB had left the CBI in the summer of 2016 following the Brexit vote.[17] JCB has also been a significant donor to the UK Conservative Party; since 2007 JCB and related Bamford entities have given the party £8.1m in cash or kind.[18] JCB chairman Anthony Bamford donated £100,000 to Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit group.[17]

Worldwide operations

JCB has 18 factories in the UK, Germany, North and South America, Australia, India, China, and the CIS.[4] The company employs some 12,000 people on four continents and sells its products in 150 countries through 1,500 dealer depot locations. The company has a range of more than 300 products.[19]

JCB is headquartered in Rocester, United Kingdom, which is also the production site for backhoe loaders and telescopic 'Loadall' handlers. It has a further three production plants in nearby Cheadle, Staffordshire (JCB Earthmovers, JCB Landpower and JCB Compact Products), one in Rugeley (JCB Cab Systems), three in Uttoxeter (JCB Attachments, JCB Heavy Products and JCB World Parts Centre), one in Foston in Derbyshire (JCB Power Systems) and one in Wrexham in North Wales (JCB Drivetrain Systems). In July 2013 the company opened a dedicated logistics hub in Newcastle-under-Lyme.[20] This facility is the central hub for component distribution to production facilities, as distinct from the World Parts Centre in Uttoxeter which distributes spare parts to dealers and customers.

In December 2013 it was announced that the Rugeley Cab Systems plant would move to a new facility in Uttoxeter which would allow the in-sourcing of cab assembly currently contracted to third parties. This investment is to be accompanied by the expansion of the Rocester and Cheadle production sites by 2018.[21]

Its Indian factories are based in Faridabad (Haryana), Jaipur[22] and Pune, its US factory is in Pooler, Georgia, its Brazilian factory in Sorocaba, and its Chinese factory was completed in 2005 in Pudong near Shanghai. JCB also owns Vibromax, a German compaction equipment company based in Gatersleben.

JCB has also licensed its name and image to a line of consumer power tools, manufactured by Alba PLC.

The products are sold through franchised dealerships, many of which are often exclusive and cover whole countries.[23]

JCB dominates the Indian construction equipment market with every three out of every four construction equipment sold in India being a JCB. JCB India's revenue rose more than twelve times to $1 billion in 2012–13 from $75 million in 2001. The Indian operations of the UK company account for 17.5% of its total revenue.[24]


Many of the vehicles produced by JCB are variants of the backhoe loader, including tracked or wheeled variants, mini and large versions and other variations for carrying and moving items, for example forklift vehicles and telescopic handlers for moving materials to the upper floors of a building site. Wheeled loading shovels and articulated dump trucks are also produced.


JCB now has its X Series, an updated version of the J series Tracked 360° excavators ranging from the JZ70 (7-tonne zero tail swing excavator) to the JS460 (46-tonne tracked excavator). In 2008 at Con expo JCB revealed a new top range JS520 which included the new style paint job with rams painted black.

Wheeled 360° excavators ranging from the JS130W to the JS200W.

Machines can be produced with either monoboom or a triple-articulated boom

Wheeled loaders

Industrial and agricultural wheeled loaders from compact 6-tonne hydrostatic machines to larger 25-tonne quarrying machines using a mix of 4- and 6-cylinder diesel engines.


JCB has also made its name in the tractor world by producing one of the first such machines that features proper suspension and is capable of travelling at speed on roads. The JCB Fastrac entered production in 1990. Prior to this design, the suspension was difficult because of the fixed-height connections required to farm machinery, and tractors were notoriously slow on the roads. Dependent on the model, the Fastrac can travel at 50 km/h, 65 km/h or 75 km/h (40 mph). At launch the Fastrac was featured on the BBC television programme Tomorrow's World, and years later as Jeremy Clarkson's tractor of choice in Top Gear. From 2006 the company also produces a range of compact tractors designed for grounds-care, horticultural, and light agricultural duties.

Military vehicles

JCB also makes a range of military vehicles, which also concentrate on load-handling and excavation.[25] These include the JCB HMEE.

JCB Dieselmax

In April 2006, JCB announced that they were developing a diesel-powered land speed record vehicle known as the 'JCB Dieselmax'. The car is powered by two modified JCB 444 diesel powerplants using a two-stage turbocharger to generate 750 bhp, one engine driving the front wheels and the other the rear wheels.

On 22 August 2006 the Dieselmax, driven by Andy Green, broke the diesel engine land speed record, attaining a speed of 328.767 miles per hour (529.099 km/h). The following day, the record was again broken, this time with a speed of 350.092 miles per hour (563.418 km/h).

JCB Vibromax

JCB acquired the German company Vibromax, which manufactures compaction equipment.

JCB Phones

JCB licenses its brand for a series of rugged feature phones and smartphones targeted at construction personnel. The design and marketing contract was awarded to Data Select in 2010.[26]


The JCB logo dates from 1953; from 1960 the company typewriters were given an extra key to render it accurately. The company has mainly advertised in the trade publications and their advertisements have won many awards, particularly for photography. The logo was designed by Leslie Smith, and is off-set at 18 degrees from the horizontal and 22 degrees from the vertical—the angles Joe Bamford liked.

Display team

To demonstrate his faith in the hydraulic fail safes on JCB machines (which lock the arms in the event of a loss of hydraulic pressure, preventing them from crashing to the ground), Joe Cyril Bamford arranged to have several backhoes raise themselves up on their arms, and drove his car beneath them.

This has since developed into a world-famous demonstration of the versatility of the backhoe configuration. The JCB display team (JCB Dancing Diggers) tour agricultural shows and produce videos, showing some of the unusual ways in which such vehicles can support themselves or manoeuvre. For example, it is quite common for drivers to support the vehicle on both buckets, either for turning on the spot without damaging ground, or for spinning the tracks in a puddle to clean them. The display team expanded this concept into a sort of vehicle gymnastics. The drivers are members of JCB's demonstration team, who visit prospective customers and demonstrate machines on the customer's property to prove the machine's suitability for the task at hand.

JCB became very famous in India thanks to memes about its digging activities.[27]

JCB Insurance Services Ltd

JCB Insurance Services was founded in 1984 by JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford as a fully owned subsidiary to provide for the insurance needs of the customers purchasing the firm's equipment, with the funding they obtained from another fully owned subsidiary, JCB Finance. The insurance subsidiary provides all-risks policies, with optional additions for road risks coverage, and for public liability and employers liability.[28][29]

JCB Academy

JCB is the sponsor of JCB Academy, a new secondary school in Rocester which had its first intake of pupils in September 2010.[30]

JCB Research

JCB Research is described as an obscure company worth £27,000 which donated £2m to the Conservative Party, making it the largest donor in the run up to the 2010 election. Ownership of the company which has never filed accounts is disputed by the Bamford brothers. According to The Guardian, much of the Bamford money was held in shares in offshore trusts.[31]

  • JCB is prominently featured in the song "JCB" by the music group Nizlopi, which has achieved UK number one status. The song is about a boy who goes to work with his father for the day.
  • A JCB (not talking) named Jekub appears in volume 2 (Diggers) of The Bromeliad (alias Nomes) series by Terry Pratchett.
  • The Lego Technic range featured a scale-model of the JCB backhoe (Set 8862), complete with working hydraulics systems (simulated using pneumatics) and many other features of the original.
  • JCB was a major sponsor of the Williams F1 Formula 1 team, with its logo prominent on the F1 cars and hospitality for 2018 season. In 2019 it became a sponsor of Racing Point F1 Team.

See also


  1. "Sir Anthony Bamford's son takes over key JCB business". theconstructionindex. 20 October 2011.
  2. "RECORD SALES FOR JCB AS MARKET REBOUND STAYS STRONG". JCB. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  3. "Company Information". J C Bamford Excavators Limited. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  4. "A Global Manufacturer". J C Bamford Excavators Limited. Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  5. Glancey, Jonathan (20 April 2007). "Classics of everyday design No 16". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  6. Phillips, David (5 March 2001). "Obituary: Joseph Bamford". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  7. "J C Bamford Excavators Ltd". 21 November 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  8. Diesel Progress, North American edition – October 1998
  9. European Commission. "Commission fines JCB for unlawful distribution agreements and practices". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. "JCB hit by £22m competition fine". The Guardian. 22 December 2000. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  11. "End of the line for JCB's six-year fight against £21m EU fine". Birmingham Post. Birmingham Post. 22 September 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  12. "JCB appeal leads to increased fine". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  13. JCB.COM news on JCB 444 engine Archived 31 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  14. The Uttoxeter Sentinel
  15. "Economic Times April 3, 2009". The Economic Times. 3 April 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  16. "Staffordshire-based JCB creates hundreds of new jobs". BBC. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  17. Chan, Szu Ping (10 October 2016). "Manufacturing giant JCB ends CBI membership over anti-Brexit stance". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  18. "Tories boosted by construction donations". The Construction Index. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  19. "Company Information". JCB. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  20. "Press Release". JCB. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  21. "Press Release". JCB. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  22. "JCB India to set up Rs 500 cr facility at Mahindra World City". Business Line. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  23. Construction and Agricultural Equipment. Generators. – MTA Angola's JCB Exclusive Dealer – Construction ¦ Agriculture ¦ Generators
  24. "JCB perfects the art of manufacturing in India". Livemint. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  25. "BATTLESPACE – In this issue". Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  26. Garwood, Michael. "Data Select set to lose JCB exclusive?". Mobile News. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
  28. "JCB Insurance improves Plantmaster policy". 19 September 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  29. "JCB launches insurance website". 16 January 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  30. JCB Academy website
  31. Jamie Doward (14 November 2010). "Feud between Bamford brothers threatens to cast light on funding for Tories". Guardian newspapers. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
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