Hand-Built in Japan – the story begins…

The true spirit of KOBELCO

For almost 90 years, quality has been our priority when building our machines and this hasn’t changed despite the ever-changing and increasingly difficult economy. As a leading excavator specialist, we pride ourselves on our unrivalled reputation for building enduring, long-lasting, low maintenance machinery that can withstand some of the toughest job site conditions. But this is only possible thanks to the continued dedication and teamworking of all our Kobelco engineers.

The video, filmed at our Itsukaichi factory in Japan, captures the true spirit of Kobelco – our long inherited craftsmanship and commitment every one of our engineers and assembly workers has to Hand-Building Kobelco excavators.

Since creating Japan’s first electric mining shovel in 1930 and the introduction of our first crawler-type hydraulic excavator in 1967, manufacturing technology has evolved significantly. And, as you would expect from any modern-day Japanese manufacturer, Kobelco’s hi-tech Itsukaichi factory now plays a key role as the production base for Kobelco excavators used throughout the world. It is this progression that has enabled us to continually develop our own excavator technology – today’s Kobelco machines are highly-regarded for their advanced technology, including iNDr, advanced hydraulic circuitry for power and superior fuel efficiency, and pioneering hybrid technology.


However, with all the factory’s state-of-the-art robotic machines and tools, you would be forgiven for thinking that the modern manufacturing of Kobelco excavators is largely automated. In fact, we passionately believe in striking a good balance between manufacturing that makes the best use of the latest technology, and people with expertise. With this in mind, the Itsukaichi factory is home to an army of highly-skilled craftsmen and women who work with precision to help Hand-Build and assemble Kobelco’s quality excavators.

Many of Kobelco’s engineers and assembly teams have worked for Kobelco for many years, perfecting their skills and bringing together heritage, innovation and cutting-edge technology. For example, some tasks, including the intricate process of assembling revolving electric motors and SK210HLC-10 Hybrid excavator batteries, and the accurate welding of frames, can only be completed by hand to ensure quality is second-to-none.

“By Hand-Building every Kobelco machine, we can look more closely at our processes and improve and refine them,” explains Naokaki Inaba, Production Division, Itsukaichi Manufacturing Section. “This helps us to continually produce the highest quality excavators possible. “Our section currently manufactures between 30 and 40 machines per day and there is no greater feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment then sending a machine through to the next stage of the production line, knowing that it is has been manufactured to the highest possible standard.”


HAND-BUILT IN JAPAN Over the coming months, we’ll be exploring key areas of our manufacturing process at our Itsukaichi factory from the Global Engineering Center and fabrication and welding sections, to upper/lower assembly and quality control, as well as meeting some of Kobelco’s key engineers.
Hand-Built in Japan page >>>

Episode 1 – Itsukaichi factory >>>

Episode 2 – Excavator innovators since 1930 >>>

Episode 3 – NEXT generation demolition technology >>>

Episode 4 – Welding and fabrication >>>

Episode 5 – Quality is key to assembly>>>



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