Kubota specialized in small construction machinery. This was also an expression of Kubota’s approach to realizing its corporate philosophy to contribute to the development of urban infrastructure, where people spent their daily lives. Seeking to understand the construction sites and workers, it focused on operator friendliness in the development of its products. The developers visited and experienced the construction sites in person, pursuing the ‘feeling’ of users. Kubota’s construction equipment received high acclaim in Japan as well as abroad. It became a leading company for small construction machinery, contributing to the development of urban infrastructure.
Supporting the Industry with Measure
Electronic Equipped Machinery
Meeting Various Industrial Needs
The Mini Excavator —Kubota’s flagship construction machinery—is used at construction and public works sites, as well as underground for laying water pipes. As these projects take place mainly in narrow places within the cities and residential areas, construction machinery is required to operate smoothly as the operator intends. In order to realize a higher-level of operability, Kubota collaborated with a hydraulic machine manufacturer to develop a hydraulic load-sensing control system specifically for the mini excavator. This control system distributed necessary oil flow based on the workload, improving operation response and reducing the loss of hydraulic horsepower, thus, saving energy.
With advanced electronic technology, Kubota’s mini excavator pursued operator-friendliness. For instance, a driver's seat interference prevention system is installed in the ultra-small turning radius excavator. Normally, the operation temporarily stops when the bucket enters the cabin interference area. However, with this system, the bucket automatically avoids the cabin before it enters the driver’s seat buffer area, allowing for non-stop operation and causing less stress for the operator. In addition, Kubota designed details to enhance usability through electronic technology, such as a simple setting to adjust the arm movement limit depending on the attachment, an easy-to-use SS key with advanced antitheft function, etc.
Another characteristic of Kubota’s mini excavator, which aims to be not only user-friendly but also environmentally friendly, is its Environmentally Adapted Technology. At the heart of it is Kubota’s originally manufactured engine, which passed the EU’s strict emission standard. The automatic idling function reduces noise volume during operation and improves fuel efficiency. It is registered in the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s new technology information sharing system, NETIS. In addition, the excavator features various technologies that make it appropriate to operate in urban settings, such as the application of a rubber crawler that protects the road surface as well as reduces vibration. It is construction machinery made possible only by Kubota, which stands for the people and the environment.
One of the greatest issues for Japan after World War II was developing public infrastructure. Major construction projects took place in various parts of the country for electric power sources, highways, transportation and communication networks as well as increasing port facilities. During such a time, various manufacturers worked hard altogether to improve construction machinery.
In 1953, Kubota renamed itself as Kubota Tekko Co., Ltd., entering the construction equipment industry. This was Kubota’s declaration to support the development of urban infrastructure.
The “Building a New Japan” boom, which occurred amidst rapid economic growth, prompted many construction projects around the country. The demand for construction machinery also grew substantially, and intense competition between machinery manufacturers rose. Furthermore, construction machinery further evolved with the introduction of hydraulic technology.
Around this time, hydraulic technology introduced from Europe led to the dynamic development of construction machinery. The hydraulic drive system was compact and lightweight with excellent maneuverability and was widely used for large machinery.
With the first oil crisis in 1973, the economy experienced a sharp downturn, and the demand for large-scale construction machinery also showed a sudden drop. At the same time, strict regulations were put in place to control noise and vibration at construction sites, starting a transition to equipment appropriate for a new era that departed from the conventional thinking that prioritized efficiency.
As demand for large construction machinery declined due to the oil crisis, small-scale urban projects increased as well as the sales of small construction machinery. In response, Kubota changed course and started to promote compact construction machinery for urban infrastructure development as the third pillar of its business.
As we entered the 1990s, the serious impact on the natural environment caused by industries became apparent and recognized as a global issue that needed to be immediately addressed. Strict legal restrictions, such as emissions regulation, spread to the construction machinery industry, and construction machinery changed according to the time.
KINGLEV Series, KX080, CTL, SSL
Kubota’s construction machinery played an active role in Japan and had moved on to the world stage. It received high acclaim in the United States, Europe, and Asia by responding to the local needs and having users in mind.