To support growing demand, Komatsu has begun producing the company’s HM400-5 articulated haul trucks at its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.
While the trucks were produced in Chattanooga in the mid-2000s, in 2009, production shifted to the company’s plant in Ibaraki, Japan, where it has remained until now.
Used primarily in construction, quarry and mining applications, the 473 horsepower (353 kW) HM400-5 is designed to move material across challenging terrain while delivering productive, consistent performance for operators of all experience levels. To celebrate the new production line, Komatsu and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, this week, hosted US Republican, Chuck Fleischmann, along with other local and state officials for a launch event at the company’s Chattanooga plant.
Production of the truck has already driven an increase in Komatsu’s spend with local and regional suppliers. Additionally, the new line will offer more opportunities for area students to gain experience in manufacturing, according to the company. Komatsu’s Chattanooga plant currently has a pre-apprenticeship program that employs high school seniors, part time, allowing them to earn credits toward a full apprenticeship certification through Chattanooga State Community College.
“We have seen the demand for our HM400-5 trucks grow significantly in both the US and Canada, which is why we began producing the trucks here in the US,” Rod Schrader, Chairman and CEO, Komatsu North America, said. “The domestic production of this popular truck supports Komatsu’s commitment to jobs and manufacturing in the US, and also enables us to contribute far more to the local Chattanooga economy.”
In addition to the HM400-5 trucks, the plant produces mid-size hydraulic excavators and intelligent excavators, as well as some machines for the forestry market. Approximately 525 people are employed at the Chattanooga campus. Of those employees, 425 are part of the manufacturing operation, while 100 work for other divisions of Komatsu.