It all began with a single tractor.

The roots of Komatsu in what is now Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture stretch back to 1921 and Meitaro Takeuchi, a well-known entrepreneur of the era and the founder of our company. From the very beginning, he set high goals for Komatsu, and his vision for the company was to compete on the global stage. Starting as an iron works, Komatsu grew as a manufacturer of presses and machine tools. Opportunity knocked when Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry sought Komatsu’s assistance to modernize the nation’s agricultural industry. Komatsu responded with the successful domestic production of a crawler-type farm tractor, and in 1938 opened the Awazu Factory in Komatsu City as its manufacturing base for tractors and agricultural equipment. This was Komatsu's first step on its path as a manufacturer of construction machinery and the opening chapter of the development of Komatsu bulldozers.

Birth of Japan's first bulldozer


G40, Japan's first bulldozer rolled out of the Komatsu factory in 1943.
Based on Komatsu’s crawler-type farm tractor, it was developed in response to the Japanese government’s rush request to “build a tractor with a large earth-moving blade attached to the front” for airport construction and to do it “within only one month.”

At the time, cable bulldozers that used cables to raise and lower the blade were the mainstream type – even among the advanced American-made bulldozers.
Komatsu's adoption of a hydraulic-driven blade system for the G40 was revolutionary.
This achievement within such a short period of development marked a leap in Komatsu technology and laid a solid foundation for Komatsu as a construction machinery manufacturer.

Development of the world's largest bulldozer

Since that first dozer, Komatsu has continued to flexibly and resolutely develop various types of bulldozers that anticipate the evolving needs of society in every era. This approach has been pursued in parallel with advances in Japan and in countries around the world.


In post-war Japan, bulldozers like the D50 played a growing and active role in work such as the removal of collapsed and damaged buildings and typhoon disaster relief.


Weighing approximately 32 tons, the D155A was typical of the large-type bulldozers that were increasingly needed to respond to the growing scale of construction work and projects including housing construction, golf courses, road maintenance, and resource development.


In 1977, Komatsu launched a project to develop an ultra-large bulldozer. Aiming to create a machine that only Komatsu could conceive, the engineers underwent a long process of repeated trial and error before they decided on the basic concept. Completed about three years later, the D555A concept machine was the world's largest bulldozer at the time. It was developed to operate at large-scale mines and other worksites requiring massive earth-moving operations.

D555A was first exhibited at the CONEXPO international construction trade show in Houston, USA in 1981. On opening day as soon as show opened its doors, over a dozen people from a competing company rushed to the Komatsu booth. Armed with cameras and tape measures, they began snapping photos and taking detailed measurements of D155.
They even tried out the operator’s seat. Komatsu’s giant machine was a magnet for attention and the biggest attraction at CONEXPO in 1981.

Continuing to answer the needs of society


In 2013, Komatsu launched D61PXi-23 bulldozer equipped with the intelligent machine control (IMC) system and the world's first fully automatic blade control. Incorporating information and communications technology to automate some machine tasks, this IMC bulldozer represented Komatsu’s first entry in the intelligent construction machine market. Adoption of automated control not only improves the precision of work, but also reduces machinery operation time, which in turn contributes to lower CO2 emissions.

※ The model in the video is D61PXi-24

Today companies not only pursue corporate profit growth but also are mandated by society to prioritize the environmental performance. Through its development of diverse products, Komatsu continues to advance step by step towards its target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and tackling solutions to the social issues as stated in the SDGs.

Beginning with a single tractor, the story of Komatsu's construction machinery continues to grow in length with new chapter being written all over the world. It is an epic tale of a journey far into the future that Komatsu travels together with society and the earth. 


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