UK prime minister Boris Johnson was on hand Friday (22 April) for the official opening of new, £100m JCB factory in Gujarat, India, which will be staffed 50% by women and use advanced laser cutting, welding and machining technology.
He made the visit as part of a two-day trip to the country aimed at boosting trade and investment.
JCB started making construction equipment in India in 1979 and is now the country’s top such manufacturer, the company said.
The new factory on a 47-acre site in Vadodara, near the city of Surat on India’s west coast, will be its seventh. Able to process 85,000 tonnes of steel a year and employing around 1,200 people, it will fabricate parts for JCB’s global production lines.
“In its first year of full production, JCB India manufactured just 39 machines and by next year will have made a total of half a million,” said JCB Chairman Lord Bamford. “This country is now a major engineering power and being here has transformed our business.”
JCB India chief executive, with managing director Deepak Shetty, said the new plant would be “a benchmark in the industry on gender diversity and modern technologies in laser cutting, welding and machining”.
They added that with Vadodara was a strategic location given its proximity to ports and access to raw materials and skilled talent.
JCB said India has been its biggest market every year since 2007, and that it makes one in every two construction machines sold in the country.