A NORTH East manufacturer that specialises in breaking new ground is also scaling new heights with a recently developed award-winning excavator.

Birtley-based Komatsu UK is going from strength to strength with a revolutionary machine – the PC390HRD-11, which has been designed, developed and is now being manufactured at the company’s North East plant.

The new design for the “high reach” excavator has removed the need for multiple machines in the demolition process, and Komatsu has used customer feedback to develop the multi-tooled new unit.

The PC390HRD-11 is a huge success for the Birtley firm, which has created and perfected the machine; it is already creating excitement across the construction industry after it scooped the prestigious National Federation of Building Contractors (NFDC) award for innovation.

Komatsu UK will welcome around 100 clients from across Europe to its Birtley plant in May, to officially launch and showcase the new machine, such is the level of interest in the PC390HRD-11.

Stuart Blackham, design manager for demolition products at Komatsu UK, said: “There is a desire throughout Komatsu UK to continually drive forward improvements and innovation, no matter how well our machines are already performing. The new high reach machine is an example of how customer feedback, combined with our own invention and innovation, can help create a game-changing machine.

“All of the people who have worked on the machine are delighted to have been recognised by the NFDC for their hard work. We are really pleased that something that was designed, developed and manufactured here in Birtley has been received so well and will be used across Europe.”

The PC390HRD-11 can be configured in six different working arrangements. It can carry a 2.5 tonne demolition tool up to an impressive 26 metre height, while also being capable of working with a 4 tonne demolition tool at a height of 15 metres. Operators of the new machine can work through the widest possible range with optimal control and safety.

The firm is continuing to build on its success, after also scooping the NFDC innovation of the year award in 2015 for another machine in its demolition range, the PC490HRD.

Simon Saunders, product manager for Komatsu UK demolition machines, said: “So much hard work went into PC390HRD-11, so it is great to see this being recognised by the NFDC.

“It is the first of three new machines that will be manufactured at the Birtley plant in 2017, so securing an award so early on in the year is definitely something to celebrate. Since the beginning, Komatsu has sought to build leading machines in their individual fields, and this is clearly continuing year on year – Komatsu is making its mark, with this fantastic new machine, and the Birtley team is at the heart of that.”

Komatsu has delivered high quality excavators since establishing the plant in 1987, when it helped redefine modern manufacturing in the North East, establishing a range of Japanese practices and ways of working unheard of in most UK plants. Komatsu was at the forefront of the creation of a whole new industry in the North East that centered around automotive and construction equipment manufacturing.

Thirty years on, the firm employs around 400 people and remains at the forefront of manufacturing excellence. Testament to the company’s reputation as an excellent employer, 12 percent of the company’s current employees are celebrating their 30th year of service with the company in 2017.

Komatsu is continuing to grow, and is currently recruiting 40 new employees.

For more information on Komatsu, visit www.komatsu.eu