Kobelco opens U.S. excavator manufacturing plant
By Andrew Macklin
June 7, 2016 – Kobelco Construction Machinery USA recently celebrated the opening of its new hydraulic excavator production facility in North America. Construction of the $41 million facility was completed within one year and, presently, it’s ramping up to mass produce 1,800 units/year.
Kobelco held a special event at the new facility in Spartanburg, SC to mark its official opening. Attendees of the event included honored guests from: parent company Kobe Steel of Japan, Kobelco Construction Machinery Co. Ltd. of Japan, Kobelco Construction Machinery USA of Katy, TX, the South Carolina department of commerce, the Spartanburg County council and representatives of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.
Kobelco presented donation checks to Spartanburg Community College as gratitude for their hospitality during construction, and the R.D. Anderson Applied Technology Center, a local school for students interested in entering the workforce. The first Kobelco excavator produced at the U.S. facility was unveiled and the ceremony was brought to a close as corporate officials and special guests of the community participated in a ribbon cutting. Following the event, attendees were given a full tour of the manufacturing facility and customer experience center, where they observed one of the first SK210LC-10 excavators manufactured at the facility in action.
Kobelco chose the Spartanburg location from nearly 50 candidate sites across eight states for the property’s vast amount of land and nearby access to major domestic ports. Sitting on approximately 85 acres, Kobelco’s new manufacturing facility includes a 156,000 square foot production plant, 17,000 square foot office building and areas for both machinery parking and demonstration. The property also provides Kobelco with plenty of space for future production capacity expansion. Development and construction of the facility took one year and involved moving 367,000 cubic feet of earth and 14,680 truckloads as part of the site preparation.
Mass production at the North American facility has begun with conventional machines weighing 20-plus tons and Kobelco’s revolutionary Generation 10 excavators are the first models being produced. Product line offerings and capacity will be increased in accordance with market development, and future production plans at the facility are expected to include most of Kobelco’s excavator models. By taking full advantage of its new manufacturing facility, Kobelco USA is further enhancing its service functions, reinforcing its foundation in the North American market, continuing to increase the presence of Kobelco hydraulic excavators, and putting a group-wide effort into growing its market share in North America.