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Bobcat celebrates 1 million Compact Loader milestone

As part of events worldwide this year, the 2014 Bobcat Convention in Prague in the Czech Republic at the end of May saw the start of celebrations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region to celebrate production of the company’s one millionth compact loader.

bobcat loaders

Bobcat T650 and S650 Millionth Loader

As part of events worldwide this year, the 2014 Bobcat Convention in Prague in the Czech Republic at the end of May saw the start of celebrations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region to celebrate production of the company’s one millionth compact loader. For the company that created the compact plant industry in 1958 with the development of the original three-wheeled Keller loader, the predecessor of the Bobcat skid-steer loader, this is an immense achievement that has followed on very rapidly after the production of the 500,000th and 750,000th Bobcat loaders in 2001 and 2008, respectively.

Martin Knoetgen, President of Doosan Construction Equipment EMEA, said: “It took Bobcat 43 years to produce the company‘s 500,000th compact loader, but it has taken just 11 years more for the company to add the second half million loaders.

One million loaders is a very important milestone for Bobcat, representing many things including more than 50 years of leadership, commitment and innovation at the head of the compact equipment industry, which is encapsulated in every Bobcat product sold today. Producing our one millionth loader is a tremendous achievement and sends a message to our customers and our competitors that Bobcat has been No 1 in the market for over 50 years and that we plan to stay there for the next 50 years and more.”

To celebrate the landmark, Bobcat is offering new Special Edition Millionth Loader machines, based around the company’s successful S650 skid-steer and T650 compact loader models. As well as special paint and decaling schemes, the Special Edition Loaders incorporate additional features that are not found on other Bobcat machines and are available in limited quantities from Bobcat Authorised Dealers throughout EMEA during 2014. Bobcat dealers will also be holding celebratory events in their areas and will be selling special celebration merchandise, including a collectable limited-edition loader scale model to commemorate the achievement.

Among the extra features on the Special Edition Loaders are Millionth Loader machine decaling; a black diamond plate on the lower rear uprights; cushion lift cylinders; a two tone air ride Millionth Loader Seat; a two-tone interior; a ‘1 Millionth Bobcat Loaders’ logo on the start-up screen on the control panel and a new intermittent wiper system.

A Rich History

After purchasing the rights to the Keller Loader in 1958, Melroe Manufacturing Company, the forerunner to Bobcat Company, developed the design and in 1960 launched the M-400 model, which, with its four-wheel-drive, was the world’s first true skid-steer loader. In 1962, Melroe introduced the M-440, an improved version of the M-400. A Melroe associate suggested that the loader be called a ‘Bobcat’ in honour of the prairie animal which is ‘tough, quick and agile’ and thus the Bobcat brand was born.

Further improvements resulted in the launch of the very successful M-444 model in 1963 and, in the same year, the first M-444 skid-steer loaders arrived in the EMEA market. From 1963 to 1965, demand for Bobcat skid-steer loaders in the EMEA marketplace was met by products imported from the USA. Beginning in 1965, first the M-444 and later the M-600 brought out in 1968, were produced under licence in Europe for local markets, before worldwide production was concentrated back in the USA in the mid-1970s.

There have been many milestones in the development of the Bobcat compact loader since its first appearance in the UK in the early 1960s. 1970 was an important year, with the invention of the Bob-Tach quick change attachment system still in use today. In the same year, Melroe introduced the M-970 ‘Big Bob’ loader, the first Bobcat loader with hydrostatic transmission.

In 1976, came the model 520 loader – the first of the ‘New Breed’ designs that resulted a year later in the 30 Series with the introduction of the models 530 and 630. Along with this new series, which featured an entirely new machine design from earlier models, came important improvements in the cab, seat, engine compartment and armrest, amongst others.

The seat bar, an important new feature in operator comfort and safety, was introduced in 1981. A year later brought the introduction of the 40 Series loaders featuring fully hydrostatic drive. By 1990, the 50 Series generation of loaders was launched with the introduction of the 753 and 853 loaders, equipped with an innovative, state-of-the-art diagnostic and monitoring system known as the Bobcat Operation Sensing System or BOSS.

In 1992, Melroe began production of the 7753 vertical lift path loader, a departure from the traditional ‘radius’ path lift arm design that had been the mainstay of the Bobcat line from the beginning. Throughout the 1990s, sales of Bobcat skid-steer loaders in EMEA increased dramatically and, in 1999, Bobcat complemented the skid-steer loader line with the launch of the company’s first compact tracked loader, the model 864. This was followed in 2001, by the A220, the world’s first all-wheel steer loader.

In 2004, the first Bobcat skid-steer loader to be manufactured in Europe for 30 years was marked by production of a 553 model at the former Superstav plant in Dobris, Czech Republic. Three years later, Bobcat opened a completely new EMEA Factory and Training Centre a kilometre away in Dobris and at the same time launched the S100, the first Bobcat skid-steer loader designed and manufactured in Europe.

Over the last 3-4 years, Bobcat has launched a whole new generation of compact loaders from the latest S450 skid-steer loader to the largest T870 compact tracked loader, offering several unique features and enhancements that significantly extend the range of applications for loaders of this type, reinforcing Bobcat’s leadership in the compact market worldwide.

Most prominent among the features of the new generation loaders is a unique forward-positioned, high comfort cab that moves the operator closer to the attachment and provides unmatched visibility in all directions around the machine. The new cab combines the largest door opening available, making it easier for operators to enter and exit the cab with 10% more space inside for the operator.

For more information about Bobcat products, visit the website www.bobcat.eu

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