Power Equipment Australasia

FEATURE Kubota - a century of powering on As Kubota celebrates 100 years of engine production, a look back at the journey this far and the key moments in the brand’s history. From humble beginnings, Kubota is today a trusted leader in agriculture and construction machinery. Kubota’s National Account Manager for Power Equipment, James Tibos, said the milestone is a testament to Kubota’s commitment to making engines that deliver for customers. “We are thrilled to be celebrating 100 years of engine production and the journey to becoming Kubota we know and love today,” Mr Tibos said. “It’s extraordinary to see what challenges Kubota has overcome and it’s important we channel our history of innovation into our contemporary product mix.” THE 1920s Kubota began producing kerosene engines in 1922 when the great drought struck the western side of Japan and the sudden spread of water pumps increased the demand for engines. Capitalising on its advanced technology and manufacturing equipment, Kubota developed engines in a corner of its main factory’s warehouse. Producing a small sized engine with minimal noise, Kubota released a threehorsepower kerosene engine in 1923. It wasn’t too long before sales took off and it became a power source for irrigation pumps and rice hullers in the region. Building on this success, Kubota expanded its product line-up and developed an engine for fishing boats in 1927 followed by a diesel engine, establishing itself as a central player in the industry, despite a late entry into the market. OVERCOMING THE GREAT DEPRESSION Following the depression brought on by World War I, the economy showed signs of recovery in the late 1930s and demand for engines increased. Kubota established a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant dedicated to engine production to respond to the shift. Once the plant was up and running in 1938, it had multiplied the production capacity and produced 55 per cent of the engines in the domestic market. RECOVERING FROM WAR As post-war chaos subsided in the 1950s, the production of food increased and the government no longer needed to strictly control the market. Corporations had the freedom over production, sales and price, and people were able to purchase any products they wanted. Kubota listened to farmers and created an easy to operate, portable, light-weight engine, further cementing their popularity. THE BABY BOOMER ERA In 1972, due to a worldwide food crisis and an outflow of rural population, the demand for agricultural machinery rapidly increased as agriculture shifted from a walking task to driving work. Responding to the boom, Kubota expanded its facilities and adopted newdesignmethods to develop advanced engines and strengthen its productivity. Kubota recognised that the driving forcebehindhigh-performing equipment was the various engines that performed as the ‘hearts’. It developed multiple engines and models based on the characteristics of each equipment, a process still implemented today. In 1983, Kubota further established itself as amarket leader by developing the reversible tractor allowing users to attach implements to the rear and operate the same as the front. The tractors direct-injection, water-cooled diesel engine achieved high fuel efficiency and drew the public’s attention. Kubota’s ‘Super Mini’ series, which were the smallest, cleanest and quietest engines among its line-up, became the industry standard for small diesel engines. By 1985 Kubota had successfully launched the Sakai Rinkai Plant, producing up to 500,000 engines a year and achieving its goal of becoming an international manufacturer of compact, all-purpose engines. While rapidglobal economic growth took off, so did the expectation for environmental responsibility. Asmanufacturers responded to strict regulations, Kubota proactively worked towards developing low emission engines. KUBOTA TODAY “Kubota has continued to strive toward reducing its environmental impact while delivering efficient solutions for the agriculture and construction industry. We look forward to the next 100 years of Kubota, delivering growth and leading machinery to keep you powering on,” Mr Tibos said. For more information visit kubota.com.au