Yanmar CE celebrates 55 years of mini-excavator excellence

Yanmar CE celebrates 55 years of mini-excavator excellence

A pioneer of the concept in the late 1960s and still driving the sector forward, Yanmar Compact Equipment celebrates 55 years of mini-excavator innovation. 

While the Beatles song ‘Hey Jude’ was helping to launch the pop scene in Japanese culture, there was another social phenomenon going on in 1968 Japan. To try to keep up with the remarkable construction boom happening in the country, leading diesel engine manufacturer Yanmar had the brainwave of putting one of its engines into a scaled-down hydraulic excavator. The YNB300 was the result – a wheeled, self-propelled machine that went on to revolutionise the industry. And just like the Beatles – Yanmar CE’s mini-excavators are still proving a hit 55 years later.

Now firmly a global brand, the ViO35 (pictured above) and state-of-the-art all-electric SV17e are the latest iterations of a long line of innovative mini-excavators that Yanmar CE has launched down the years. The YNB300 was followed in 1972 by the YB600C – now on tracks – which had a sliding boom that allowed it to excavate right up against walls. By 1974 Yanmar mini-excavators were fitted with cabins, and noise suppressed to allow them to work in confined spaces, residential areas, and at night. 

Setting the standard

By the mid-1970s Yanmar CE’s YB1200 set the basis for the modern mini-excavator. It had a water-cooled diesel engine, could rotate fully 360 degrees and was fitted with an earth moving blade. The 1980s saw rubber tracks, sub-one-ton weights, while the 1990s saw the launch of the revolutionary ‘zero tail swing’ concept – which cut collisions and accidents while rotating the superstructure considerably.  

Since the turn of the millennia Yanmar CE has been on a relentless drive for technical improvement. Increasingly, this has gone together with sustainability and tackling environmental concerns, with ever lower emissions. (The recyclability of its machines now in the high 90%.) Safety too has also been a focus, evidenced by features such as the quick coupler.  

Compact excavators are more popular today than ever. The global shift from manual labour to mechanization continues – and rapid urbanization and ever tighter worksites – will ensure this popularity continues into the future. Yanmar CE continues to work closely with customers to meet their needs and ensure their success.  

Still making records

55 Years on, Yanmar CE is not just breaking records (last year saw the company exceed its all-time sales record) it is also making records – of the musical kind. The company has gathered its ‘Yanmar Allstars’ of talented musicians – including Nagaya ‘Dezi’ Akihiro, head of Brand & Design at Yanmar, on the trumpet – to produce a specially written jazz song. Simply called ’55 years’, it is available on Spotify and on all major music platforms. Watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/862449530/2c6d66b344?share=copy 

For more on Yanmar CE visit https://www.yanmar.com/global/construction/

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