Kubota will introduce a new product line next year.
It will be built exclusively in Abilene.
Abilene West has already built six SCL1000s and will begin production in January, Jesse Goodman, senior plant manger for Abilene’s Land Pride, told the Abilene Rotary Club last week.
The standup compact loader is just 36 inches wide, has a 24 horsepower turbo-charged engine and can lift up to 1,000 pounds.
About 50 of the parts of the SCL1000 will be manufactured exclusively at the Abilene West facility.
“There are about 1,200 parts that we need to assemble in the correct order to get a finished product,” Goodman said.
“This piece of equipment has some very unique features.”
The tracks are inside the frame, allowing for a 36 inch width to get through most gates. It also has several detachable parts with three different size buckets, an auger and a trencher.
“Most of the machines like this are larger than 36 inches and can’t get into a backyard. We expect quite a few sales,” he said.
It will be branded as a Kubota machine.
“It will not be made anywhere else in the world,” Goodman said.
It was designed in Salina, the first Kubota product not designed in Japan. Kubota is the owner of Great Plains Manufacturing, of which Land Pride is a division.
Goodman said Kubota is wanting to get more production out of Japan and into other places.
“This is a real opportunity for that plant and this community,” he said.
He also said there are no plans to move any work out of another facility at Great Plains to fill space at Abilene West.
Great Plains Manufacturing purchased the 350,000 square foot building, which was once the Alco warehouse, in August 2018.
“We have plenty of work in the current buildings to keep that work there,” Goodman said. “All of the growth from the AW building will be new product types like this.”
Goodman said the six units are being tested for durability.
“They are seeing if they can break the teeth on the bucket and things like that,” he said.
“We plan on the manpower increasing to about 40 people in 2020.”
He said there is still possibility of increasing the workforce eventually as there is still a lot of space left in the building for future production.
“We just don’t know with what yet,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity there for the next several years.”
He said the reason the 200 employees figure gets used is because that would be the maximum. He said the Abilene Eighth Street facility has 211 employees plus office people.
“A community of 7,000 to 8,000 people here, to have 400 with one company is about all we think we can get,” he said.
Working with schools
He said Land Pride is working with both the Abilene and Chapman school districts. Land Pride donated a welder, which the company uses, to the Chapman school district to be delivered today.
“They will be using the same welder we use for mass production here. It would be very easy for those guys to drive up the road a little bit, put a hood on and weld for us.”
He said new employees are sent to a weld school before entering the Land Pride workforce.
Contact Tim Horan at email@example.com.