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Bobcat Co.

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Bobcat Co. manufactures compact equipment.[1] This company manufactures and distributes its equipment for construction, industrial, landscaping, right-of-way maintenance, and agricultural purposes. Specifically, the North Dakota-based company offers consumers various forms of attachments, loaders, excavators, and utility products through various global distributors.

Bobcat's award-winning skid steer is referred to as the "Swiss Army Knife" of mobile equipment.[2]


[edit] History

The earliest incarnation of the Bobcat Co. was conceived in 1947 by E.G. Melroe and his four sons; it was known as Melroe Manufacturing. Melroe, an inventor and a farmer from Gwinner, North Dakota, wanted to manufacture an attachment to pick up windrowed grain with a combine.

[edit] Early Skid Steer Loader

In 1958, Melroe Manufacturing purchased the rights to a three-wheeled loader. Brothers Cyril and Louis Keller originally invented this loader in 1956.[3] The loader, known initially as the Keller Loader, was designed at the request of a local turkey farmer who needed a maneuverable, lightweight machine to clean manure from his two-level barn. Once purchased by Melroe, who hired the Keller brothers to continue designing loaders, the machine was known as the Self-Propelled Loader, and was the ancestor of the Bobcat skid steer loader. In 1960, Melroe added rear wheels to his loader, and this M-400 model became the world's first real skid steer loader.[4] Further improvements were made, which led to the M-440 model in 1962. This version was the first to be called a Bobcat.

[edit] Expansion and New Markets

Due to the versatile uses of Melroe's skid steer, the company was able to branch out of the agriculture market to explore new realms. 1965 saw the production of the Bobcat in record numbers;[5] the company signed a license agreement with an English manufacturing company and expanded into the European market.

In 1969 the firm was sold to Clark Equipment Co. of Michigan. This sale left the Melroe division with access to the financial resources to facilitate major expansion.[6]

The company continued to explore international markets; through the 1970s and 1980s, Bobcat established business in Belgium. The company was then able to export equipment directly from North Dakota. Encouraged by the fruitful European market, the company continued its expansion efforts into regions of South America, the Pacific Rim, and Japan.

In 1995 the Clark Organization underwent a significant acquisition when it was purchased by industry giant Ingersoll Rand, a Bermuda-based company in the construction equipment and industrial machinery field.[7] This massive company employed over 50,000 individuals at the time.

Growth continued in 1998 when the company acquired Palm Attachments. This was a natural acquisition as Palm Attachments had been supplying Bobcat Co. with products since the late 1980s.

In 1999 five years after Ingersoll Rand's purchase of the Clark Organization, Melroe Co.'s name was officially changed to Bobcat Corp.

[edit] Notable Developments

Bobcat experienced considerable growth throughout its history. Though the company is probably best known for introducing the first real skid steer loader, it has developed many other products.

Bobcat continued to gain popularity in the 1980s with the introduction of the compact excavator in 1986. In contrast with the 180-degree working range of a loader backhoe, the compact model was able to rotate 360 degrees; it could also fit into tighter workspaces. Though the company didn't invent this machine, it was the first such excavator to be built in the United States.[8] This compact machine, also known as a mini excavator, was well received worldwide.

The Bobcat Co. continued to develop products through the beginning of the new millennium. In 2001, the company introduced the world's first all-wheel steer skid steer[9] known as the A220. This model's design incorporated all-wheel steer capabilities to the skid steer, increasing maneuverability and traction, and decreasing surface impact. While the machine could turn 360 degrees within its own length in skid steer mode, all-wheel drive enabled the machine to turn in a circle of approximately 10 feet (3 m).

[edit] The Company Today

2008 marked the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the first compact loader. Due in part to the development of this product, Bobcat has become North Dakota's largest manufacturer,[10] as well as a worldwide leader in the design, development, and marketing of compact equipment.[11] Bobcat Co. currently has American factories in Gwinner and Bismarck, North Dakota, as well as in Carrollton, Georgia; Litchfield, Minnesota; and Petersburg, Virginia. Internationally, the Bobcat Co. has factories in China, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland and the U.K. In addition, the company has 900 dealers in 98 countries,[12] and employs more than 3,300 worldwide.[13] Sold in 2007 by Ingersoll Rand, Bobcat is now owned by a Korean-based company, Doosan Infracore.

[edit] Equipment List

[edit] References

  1. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  2. No Skidding. Findarticles. 2008-09-09.
  3. Cyril Keller and Louis Keller. Minnesota Inventors. 2008-09-09.
  4. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  5. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  6. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  7. Bobcat Sold to European Company. Entrepreneur. 2008-09-09.
  8. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  9. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  10. Our Company. 2008-09-09.
  11. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  12. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.
  13. Our Company. Bobcat. 2008-09-09.

[edit] External Links