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Komatsu celebrates 100th anniversary

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Komatsu Ltd. — a global manufacturer and supplier of equipment, technologies and services for the construction, forklift, mining, industrial and forestry markets — celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021.

Komatsu was established in Komatsu City, Japan, in 1921, then grew over the next century through investments and acquisitions, connecting people and technology to “solve challenges and meet society’s needs,” Komatsu stated.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Komatsu has a presence in 140 countries and directly employs more than 60,000 people through its facilities, distributors and dealers.

Companies worldwide have used Komatsu equipment and services to develop modern infrastructure, extract fundamental minerals, maintain forests and create technology and consumer products.

“Towards the next 100 years, we will create value through manufacturing and technology innovation to empower a sustainable future where businesses, people, and our planet thrive together,” said Komatsu Ltd. President and CEO Hiroyuki Ogawa in a 100th anniversary message.

Komatsu through the years

1921 Komatsu Ltd. founded by Meitaro Takeuchi in Japan

1938 opened Awazu Plant, producing tractors and munitions during second Sino-Japanese War

1952 opened Osaka Plant, making artillery shells during Korean War

1955 signed first export agreement for motor grader delivery to Argentina

1961 introduced quality control method in manufacturing

1962 opened Oyama Plant as base for engines production

1964 won then-Deming Application Prize for quality control

1964 expanded exports to Europe, opening first oversees subsidiary in Belgium

1973 formed joint venture in Brazil for the production of bulldozers

1981 won Japan Quality Control Prize

1982 established production base in Indonesia, manufacturing bulldozers, excavators, wheel loaders and motor graders

1985 opened production and sales bases in United States, now Komatsu America Manufacturing Corp. in Tennessee

1985 launched production in the United Kingdom to manufacture excavators and wheel loaders

1988 joint ventured with Dresser Industries to sell construction equipment in Americas

1989 established regional headquarters in Belgium

1991 formed the Komatsu Women’s Judo Team, turn out Olympic medalists

1991 strengthened construction equipment sales in Australia, through what is now Komatsu Australia

1993 formed joint ventures with Cummins to produce engines in Japan and United States

1994 established Komatsu Industries Corp., offering press machines and adding laser cutters and welding robots

1995 opened plants to produce excavators and castings in China

1995 began production of excavators in Thailand through Bangkok Komatsu Co.

1995 began production of wheel loaders in China through what is now Komatsu (Changzhou) Construction Machinery Corp.

1996 expanded product range and introduced super-large hydraulic excavators for mines

1996 invested in modular mining systems and expanded mining equipment business

1997 strengthened sales operation in South Africa

1999 opened sales base in the Middle East

2000 established Gigaphoton Inc., advancing laser technologies as a basis for semiconductor manufacturing

2001 reinforced operations in China by establishing regional headquarters

2002 built new plant in Newberry, South Carolina, initially producing backhoe loaders, and now also wheel loaders

2004 entered forest machine market with purchase of Swedish company

2006 built plant to produce dump trucks in India

2006 develops the Komatsu Way to spell out company mindset and guidelines

2007 built Ibaraki and Kanazawa plants to meet demand for dump trucks, wheel loaders, press machines and hydraulic excavators

2008 remanded Komatsu NTC Ltd., with focus on machining engines and transmissions, and wire saws for use in manufacturing solar panels

2008 deployed an autonomous haul truck in Chile

2008 renamed Komatsu Electronics Inc. to KELK Inc., expanding business with semiconductor-manufacturing-related equipment and micro-modules

2010 opened plant in Russia to manufacture excavators and dump trucks

2011 Komatsu-no-Mori opened to house Komatsu Way Global Institute for human resource development opened at former Komatsu Plant

2014 developed hydraulic excavator with machine control system

2017 became full-line manufacturer of mining equipment with acquisition of Joy Global

2018 established Komatsu Customer Support Japan Ltd. to improve customer satisfaction

2020 launched SMARTCONSTRUCTION Digital Transformation to accelerate digital efforts

2021 reached 100-year milestone 

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