Last week Pitchcare was invited to attend the official press launch of JCB Groundcare's range of machinery. It was an exhilerating experience, giving all those who attended the opportunity to see the vast scale that this British company operates. While the name JCB is synonymous with top quality construction excavators, the companies plans to expand into other markets are being built on solid British expertise.
The fact that JCB is the world's 4th largest manufacturer of construction equipment and has 17 plants on four continents bears testament to the ethos that the privately owned and family run company adheres. 10 plants are in the UK, three in India and the others in the USA, Brazil, China and Germany. JCB employs more than 6300 people.
The company has just celebrated its 60th anniversary and manufactured over 45,000 machines, so just talking to the exuberant Jo, Grandson of founder Joseph Cyril Bamford, it's hardly suprising that this great family tradition continues to forge British engineering forward.
JCB is adding to its range of products for the important groundcare market throughout 2006 and continuing to develop its European dealer network.
The company has launched:
- A new compact tractor range
- An 800kg micro excavator
- The JCB Groundhog utility vehicle complete with new cab options
- The new Mini CX 4X4 backhoe loader
- The new ZT20D Zero Turn Mower
The addition of the new products underlines the significant progress made by JCB Groundcare since the division was set up in 2004.
In the UK, the products are sold through a dedicated network of 15 dealers covering the whole country through 60 depot locations. The range of products is also proving successful in Europe where JCB's subsidiary companies in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Holland have now started their own JCB Groundcare operations.
The JCB Groundcare dealer network is supported by the JCB Service organisation, providing the very best in parts and service back-up.
JCB Groundcare, Director, Jo Bamford, said: "Groundcare represents a massive global opportunity for JCB and our dealers because the world market is worth almost £7 billion.
"In the two years since we established JCB Groundcare, significant progress has been made with the product range and in establishing a dealer network. By the end of this year we will have dealers covering the whole of western Europe."
One of JCB Groundcare's successes has been with the JCB Groundhog, with a number of significant sales into country estates, agriculture, specialist hire companies, sports venues, utility companies, golf courses and grounds maintenance contractors.
This year JCB has added the 8008 micro excavator to its range, an 800kg machine with compact dimensions which make it ideal for landscapers and small plant and tool hire businesses.
Also joining the line up is a range of compact tractors. These are fully specified tractors with mid and rear PTOs and three point linkages. The JCB compact tractor range will consist of five models from 23hp to 54hp and will be marketed with a range of grass cutting and grounds care attachments.
JCB Groundcare is also offering the JCB Mini CX 4x4. This builds on the success of the Mini CX, JCB's smallest-ever backhoe loader. The 4 Wheeldrive version will improve performance in difficult conditions.
WRAPS COME OFF JCB'S NEW RANGE OF COMPACT TRACTORS
JCB Groundcare launches five new compact tractors - set to become the flagship models of its specialist range for the grounds maintenance industry.
The robust new tractors - which span from 23 to 54 horsepower - are ideal for use by grounds maintenance contractors, landscapers and green-keepers around golf courses, parks, sports and amenity grounds, smallholdings and equestrian centres. They power numerous attachments enabling operators to perform many grounds maintenance tasks in addition to their primary role of grass cutting. These include: ditching, loading, hedge-cutting, topping, aeration, flailing, overseeding and harrowing.
JCB compact tractors are available across the UK and in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Benelux through JCB Groundcare's extensive network of specialist dealers. Customers also have the assurance of unrivalled global product support, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
Key features of the models are:
- Powerful diesel engines with excellent torque
- A small turning circle giving excellent manoeuvrability in tight applications
- The 31 and 35hp models have four cylinders rather than three normally found in competitive machines
- Selectable two/four-wheel drive providing excellent traction in all conditions
- Compatibility with an extensive range of attachments
- A selection of turf, agricultural and industrial tyre options for added versatility
- Large fuel tank capacity for day-long operation
- Cruise control
- Auto headland management on 31 hp tractors and above
Jo Bamford, Director JCB Groundcare, said: "The addition of the five new compact tractors to the JCB Groundcare range is an exciting development as these machines are central to all groundsmen's needs and obviously strengthen our line up considerably.
"JCB Groundcare has worked on the concept and design of these new models to deliver a durable, high performance range. The JCB line-up is available in the UK and also overseas where the compact tractor market continues to grow."
The new compact tractor models - which all boast sleek and modern styling - include the JCB 323HST, the JCB 327HST, JCB 331HST and JCB 335HST, which are 23, 27, 31 and 35 horsepower machines respectively. Compact tractors are typically used for grass cutting - with a choice of mid-mounted or rear trailed decks. The 323 and 327 models will target the larger scale domestic users and smallholdings. The 331 and 335 models boast the performance to tackle commercial mowing and grounds maintenance projects.
In addition there is a 54hp model - the JCB 354 TURBO compact tractor. The 354 comes with a fully air conditioned cab as standard. With performance levels to rival larger competitive machines, the JCB 354 TURBO compact tractor is capable of pulling wide width mowers of up to 6m - making it an ideal choice for large scale commercial mowing tasks.
At the heart of the compact tractors' impressive performance are their high-torque engines. The 323 and 327 models are powered by 23 and 27 hp three cylinder Mitsubishi naturally aspirated diesel engines. Unlike the majority of competitive models, the 31and 35hp JCB compact tractors are equipped with 4-cylinder engines - giving greater fuel efficiency, more durability, more torque and less noise and vibration.
The 331 and 335 models are powered by 31 and 35 hp four cylinder Mitsubishi naturally aspirated diesel engines while the 354 model boasts a powerful 54hp four cylinder Perkins Turbo diesel engine for unrivalled pulling power.
The four smaller models feature clutchless hydrostatic transmission enabling a smoother take-up and forwards and backwards movement without changing gear. The 323 and 327 models have high and low speed options and the 331 and 335 models have low, medium and high ranges giving optimum ratio depending on the ground conditions. The larger 354 model uses a 24x24 mechanical transmission. All five machines have selectable four-wheel drive for extra traction.
In addition to their impressive mowing performance, the JCB compact tractors can prove real workhorses by adapting to numerous other applications. With this in mind JCB has designed highly robust machines, built to perform in the most demanding conditions. They have high lift capacities and the strength and build quality to easily power heavy attachments such as backhoe and front loaders.
All models come with mid and rear hydraulics as standard. The four smaller models also have independent rear and mid PTO and cruise control. To support the launch of the range, JCB has developed a range of heavy duty mower, loader and backhoe attachments. However, with the standard category 1 (323, 327, 331 and 335 models) and category 2 (354 model) three-point linkage featured on the machines, there is an unlimited range of further attachments on the market which are fully compatible.
As with all JCB models, the safety of operators and other personnel on site is of paramount importance. With this in mind JCB has incorporated an extremely high level of safety features into the standard build specification of the compact tractor range. The 354 has a fully air-conditioned safety cab as standard. The smaller models feature foldable ROPS and seatbelt as standard with a cab as an option. All cabs afford excellent all round visibility and feature noise reduction panels.
To create a more comfortable operator environment, the models feature adjustable suspension seats and an adjustable steering wheel. The flat floored driving area gives easy access and excellent visibility of the cutting deck.
As an additional safety benefit the 331, 335 and 354 models have auto headland management - an innovative feature which automatically cuts off the driveline to any potentially dangerous rear-mounted attachment when it is raised for turning or in transit. This feature also provides real productivity benefits as the operator does not need to leave his driving position to manually dis-engage the PTO and the driveline to the attachment automatically re-starts when it is lowered.
NEW JCB ATTACHMENTS TO WIDEN COMPACT TRACTOR APPEAL
To support the of JCB Groundcare's revolutionary compact tractors - a range of heavy duty mower, loader and backhoe attachments has been developed to further enhance the versatility of these new machines.
Seven new compact tractor attachments are available:
- The BH1916 backhoe compatible with JCB 323 & 327 tractors
- The BH2724 backhoe compatible with JCB 331 & 335 tractors
- The LD2060 loader compatible with JCB 323 & 327 tractors
- The LD2490 loader compatible with JCB 331 & 335 tractors
- The RM1500M mid-mount mower compatible with JCB 323, 327, 331 & 335 tractors
- The RM1500R rear-mount mower compatible with JCB 331 & 335 tractors
- The RM1800R rear mount mower compatible with JCB 354 tractor
Compact backhoe attachments
The BH1916 and BH2724 compact backhoes give added versatility and increased productivity to the JCB 323, 327, 331 and 335 compact tractors - offering an excavator function with a stable digging platform.
Built for heavy duty applications, they feature a centre-mount design with full width stabiliser feet for excellent digging performance even when working on slopes. The backhoes boast a max dig depth of 1940mm (BH1916) and 2710mm (BH2724) and bucket digging forces of 1305kg and 1655kg. A range of buckets gives added flexibility.
Fitment and removal of the backhoe - which is fitted to a secure fixing point on the tractor's under chassis frame - takes less than five minutes.
Compact loader attachments
The compact loader range of attachments have been developed to offer an effective lifting and handling solution for JCB's compact tractors. Available in standard or 3-spool options with a quick hitch mounting system, the loader is simple to use and can easily be attached or removed in less than two minutes.
Easy operation is afforded by a single joystick control and the loaders also deliver excellent lift performance. Overall lift height is 2238mm (LD2060) and 3050mm (LD2490), while the lift capacity at shovel pivot (at maximum height) is 400kg and 612kg respectively. The LD2490 has a 4 in 1 shovel as standard.
Rear-mount mower attachments
The rear mount mower attachments enable JCB's 331,335 and 354 compact tractors to deliver high quality cutting performance on both fine and rough-cut applications. Fitted via a category 1 three-point linkage mounting frame, they feature a triple blade cutting, variable height adjustment and a roller to prevent scalping.
The working widths are 1500mm (RM1500R) and 1800mm (RM1800R) with both variants giving cutting heights of 0-76mm. Both feature the same rear discharge cutting system with blade speeds of 82m/s enabling them to tackle difficult cutting tasks.
Mid-mount mower attachment
The RM1500M 60" mid-mount mower is designed for use with JCBs 323, 327, 331 and 335 compact tractors. It also features a triple blade cutting system and roller, with the ability to deliver variable cutting heights ranging from 25-87.5mm. Castor wheels ensure excellent contour following for a uniform cut.
JCB GROUNDHOG STEPS UP A GEAR WITH NEW IMPROVEMENTS
JCB's 6x4 Groundhog models boast a series of new features and attachments to further improve versatility, performance and operator comfort.
JCB's Groundhog utility vehicle - ideal for transporting people across rough and delicate ground - has made great strides in the growing utility vehicle (UV) market.
The machine is proving extremely popular in a wide range of markets including: country estates, agriculture, specialist hire companies, sports venues, utility companies, golf courses and grounds maintenance contractors.
The new features - developed in response to customer feedback - include:
- The introduction of three new cab options for added weather protection
- The incorporation of an electric winch
- A new kit to enable legal road travel between job sites
- A series of further design improvements to increase functionality
- Availability in green and yellow
NEW CAB OPTIONS
The Groundhog is now available with three cab configurations - a full soft-sided cab, a soft-sided cab excluding side and rear cover and with a cab frame and roof. The new cabs provide varying levels of weather protection - enabling comfortable operation even in the harsh environments in which the Groundhog typically performs.
The full cab has a ROPS frame with steel roof and features a glass front screen. There are also canvas side doors and a rear screen which can be rolled up and fastened when not in use. The soft-sided cab option includes the ROPS structure, steel roof and front screen but without the canvas doors and rear screen. The final variant is an open cab comprising the ROPS frame and steel roof.
UK ROAD LEGAL KIT
For travelling between job sites, a kit has been developed to make Groundhogs featuring a ROPS frame legal for UK road use. It includes work lights, indicators, a fog light, reversing lights and alarm, horn, front and rear lights - plus a rear lighting board with space to attach a number plate.
By ordering the UK Road Legal Kit, customers are automatically sent a V55 form for vehicle registration.
The UK road legal kit gives contractors the ability to travel between job sites without the need for an additional vehicle and trailer. With its high top speed of 18mph, the Groundhog is more than capable of road travel and this kit makes that possible. For applications such as line marking, it is likely that work will be undertaken at several locations. With the UK road legal kit, the Groundhog can travel quickly and easily between sports fields improving productivity.
An electric winch system has been added to the Groundhog to give added versatility. The winch sits hidden behind the front tool mount. Powered by an additional battery, it boasts 1.4 tonnes of line pull. It has a handheld trigger for remote use and rollers to guide the cable and ensure a smooth feed.
In addition to these major developments, the Groundhog models will incorporate a series of further design improvements to increase the performance, comfort, functionality and durability of the model.
These options include: a floor mat, load bay liner, strapping points, front bumper with tool mount, manual hoist, hydraulic hoist, a front fender and cover plates for the rear chassis.
Aside from these latest features, the core of the successful Groundhog model remains the same. The 6x4 configuration, permanent 4-wheel drive utility vehicle is powered by a 768cc, liquid-cooled, 20 hp (14.9kW) diesel engine. It features CVT transmission including manual differential lock with a Kevlar drive belt for enhanced durability.
The machine delivers class-leading performance with a max travel speed of 18 mph (29 km/h), max payload of 500kg and a towing capacity of 500kg. The durable steel cargo deck has optional electric or hydraulic tipping and its high flotation tyres give low ground bearing pressure and excellent traction.
The JCB Groundhog benefits from impressive torque, giving extra performance in difficult ground conditions and on inclines. The 6x4 configuration gives four-wheel drive operation for performance in arduous conditions and the model has a superior power-to-weight ratio compared to leading competitor models. Allied with a choice of turf or rough terrain tyres dependent on the application, the machine imparts minimum ground damage on delicate surfaces and delivers great traction in heavy ground.
The JCB Groundhog boasts strong and rugged construction with a 16-gauge steel deck. The large 60A alternator minimises wear on the battery extending battery life and enhancing the overall reliability. JCB Groundcare has developed a superior fuel filtration system separating both dirt and water.
The JCB Groundhog is sold through a network of specialist, professionally trained, factory-backed dealers and is supported by the JCB Service organisation, providing the very best in parts and service back-up.
JCB ZEROES IN ON GROUNDCARE MARKET OPPORTUNITIES
JCB Groundcare has unveiled a new diesel-powered zero-turn mower - the ZT20D.
Aimed at the commercial market and estates, the JCB Zero Turn Mower has the benefit of being powered by a 18hp diesel engine, therefore giving multi-fleet customers the ability to use a single and safer fuel. The JCB mower has an extremely fast travel speed of 13mph making it the most productive type of grass cutting machinery - proven to be between 30% and 50% faster than alternative equipment.
Highlights of the ZT20D include:
- Efficient and powerful diesel engine
- Twin 22.7 litre (5 gal) fuel tanks easily providing a full day's continuous cutting
- 48" rear or 52" side discharge decks tailor the ZT20D to operator needs
- Optional PTO-driven grass collector for side discharge deck collecting up to 423 litres
- Comfort, efficiency and manoeuvrability giving day-long productivity
The machine is steered using two hydraulically dampened motion control levers. Comfortable and easy to use, the ZT20D is extremely manoeuvrable and is particularly effective when cutting close to and around obstacles such as trees or park benches, minimising the need to follow with a brush cutter.
Powered by a V-Twin air-cooled engine and featuring tunnel deck technology, the machines have a low centre of gravity for greater stability on inclines and the option of a PTO-driven grass collector. Easy to control and with rugged construction, the Groundcare mower will prove a revolutionary addition to the turf care market.
Jo Bamford, Director, JCB Groundcare, said: "The launch of the Zero-Turn mower is the start of exciting things to come from JCB Groundcare and it represents innovation in the grass cutting market."
NEW COMPACT JCB DIGGER IS JUST PERFECT FOR SMALL GARDENS
JCB is making a big impact with its smallest-ever machine - a downsized micro excavator which is ideal for working on confined garden and landscaping projects.
The JCB 8008 is an 800kg machine and is perfect for working in delicate ground conditions. It is ideal for landscapers and small plant and tool hire businesses because it offers the performance customers demand from an excavator with such compact dimensions. Its size also means the JCB 8008 is excellent for working in an around buildings.
Its introduction completes JCB's 14-strong line-up of compact excavators which now ranges from the JCB 8008 through to the eight tonne JCB 8080.
JCB Groundcare Director, Jo Bamford, said: "JCB's micro excavator has been a huge success but at around one tonne, even this machine can prove too large for some applications. JCB has therefore introduced the JCB 8008, a true 800kg machine, which is based on the JCB micro but with a lighter undercarriage and boom."
Despite its lower weight, the JCB 8008 has an even better digging envelope than the larger micro and market leading performance. The 8008 uses a 762cc diesel engine, offering a power rating of 12.7hp (9.5kW) - an output which makes the JCB 8008 the most powerful machine in the 800kg sector and has a best-in-class hydraulic pump flow of 13.2 litres/min.
As with the micro, the JCB 8008 has a variable width undercarriage, allowing it to travel through a standard doorway. The track width is just 700mm when retracted, just exceeding the upperstructure width of 695mm. Once extended, the track width is a stable 890mm.
At the working end, further weight has been saved with the use of a tubular main boom, with all of the hydraulic hoses passing safely through the centre of the boom structure, echoing the design of the latest JCB 801 range of mini excavators.
The 8008 has a market leading digging depth of 1,740mm with a maximum reach on the ground of 3,105mm. The compact machine can also handle JCB Hammermaster hydraulic breakers, an auger or a choice of buckets.
The machine comes with a dozer blade too, and the clever double-edged design means that the blade can be turned upside down if it wears or gets a damaged edge - doubling its life. This is made possible through a clever system of pins that can easily be set in either configuration, making the machine the ideal choice for rental fleets with multiple operators.
JCB EXTENDS BACKHOE RANGE WITH NEW MINI CX 4X4
With the launch of a new compact backhoe loader model, JCB continues to develop the market through design innovation.
The JCB Mini CX 4x4 is a four-wheel drive variant of its smallest ever backhoe and will build on the success of the Mini CX - JCB's smallest ever backhoe loader- and improve performance in difficult ground conditions.
JCB Groundcare Director, Jo Bamford, said: "As the world's leading backhoe loader manufacturer, JCB has established a reputation for continuing innovation that has kept its models ahead of the rest. With the development of our Mini CX 4x4 we now offer a machine which is ideal for landscaping where ground conditions are challenging."
The Mini CX 4x4 introduces a new single pedal transmission and column-mounted forward/reverse lever, as well as drive to both front and rear axles to maximise off-road performance.
The rear of the machine also features changes, with the adoption of a full width side-shift backhoe frame rather than the centre-mount backhoe used on the two-wheel drive model. The excavator has a maximum dig depth of 2.54m and vertical stabilisers to improve digging performance in difficult conditions.
The loader end features a 0.25m³ bucket as standard, with the option of a parallel lift feature for use as a tool carrier.
JCB GRAVEMASTER MODEL DIGS ITSELF NICHE ROLE
Building on the success of its earlier Gravemaster models with local authorities, landscape contractors and plant hire firms, JCB's latest version gives an improved working environment and enhanced performance.
The 1.5 tonne, 8018 Gravemaster model boasts the key benefits demanded for this specialist role - it can dig a standard six foot six grave from a single position - maximising efficiency and minimising damage to the surrounding turf. In addition, the machine is smoother, quieter, easier to operate and more comfortable than competitive excavators.
The upper structure incorporates several innovative design features which challenge the conventional design of mini excavators. The first is the use of a tubular boom. Its light yet rigid construction provides outstanding strength and durability while its narrow construction significantly enhances visibility.
The longitudinal positioning of the engine means weight is shifted to the rear contributing to the excellent stability when digging. In addition, the need for excessive counterweighting is eradicated - keeping the overall weight to a minimum.
The reduced transport weight is 1514kg (with canopy, 300mm bucket and rubber tracks). This ensures the combined weight of excavator and a trailer remains within the limits which many customers require for towing behind a standard vehicle.
The physical structure of the machine has been designed with performance and productivity in mind with the tail-swing radius reduced by approximately 10% to 1028mm - one of the most
compact of any conventional 1.5 tonne model. The 1500mm Gravemaster dipper gives a dig depth of 2477mm.
The cab itself is a sealed, one-piece construction which is completely isolated with reduced in-cab noise levels of just 76dB(A). These are achieved by the reduction of noise and vibrations transferring from the engine to the chassis, and subsequently from the chassis to the cab. It features one of the lowest overall noise levels in the 1.5 tonne class - highly appropriate for the potential working environment
The unique cab design enhances the field of vision, particularly at full loadover height where the tinted roof glass goes back further towards the operator. The narrow width of the tubular boom also gives a clear view of the excavator end, especially when looking down into a grave.
A static seat is fitted as standard with the option of a suspension seat. Both options are high-backed and adjustable to improve comfort levels and reduce operator fatigue.
It is powered by a tier II compliant, 1.1 litre capacity engine - an increase in capacity of 18% when compared with the previous model. The most powerful in the 1.5 tonne class - the 19hp (14.2kW) engine boasts 11% greater fuel efficiency, lower emissions and a 30% greater capacity diesel tank allowing an uninterrupted day's operation. Service intervals are at 500 hours - twice as long as before.
The undercarriage on the 8018 hydraulically extends to give an exceptionally stable working platform. Combined with the re-dispersal of weight in the upper structure of the machine, these longer tracks provide tangible benefits when performing on gradients.