Gradall Industries–History & Machinery

Gradall has earned popularity for making quality equipment that helps various industries reduce human resourcing and save time and energy by accomplishing tasks faster. The company claims that they have reshaped the idea of how the industry might work to meet the needs of the rising demand and current era. They believe that one man and one machine can make a dream team! Its state-of-the-art hydraulic systems and easy-to-manage controlling system make it a perfect pick for industries that are determined to expand over time. It is undoubtedly a long-term investment that saves many significant expenses.

History of Gradall Industries:

The history of Gradall is all about the experience and superiority of the company as it traces back to 1920. Two immigrants settled in Cleveland, Ohio, and they luckily got to work with a construction company. Later, they established their own construction force and started building roads, bridges, water lines, and buildings under Ferwerda Brothers Construction Co.

Like many other companies, Ferwerda used workforce and manual tools to pave the road embarkments. Before the Second World War, companies started hiring men to produce military armaments for U.S. allies; hence, the number of people working in local factories declined.

They say that “Necessity is the mother of invention,” which proved true when the Ferwerda brothers faced a labor shortage. The brothers used their innovative and intuitive power to build a machine that helped compensate for the labor shortage. They called this machine “Gradall.

Ferwerda brothers sold a part of their equipment to rent a garage they could work in. They talked to other contractors in Ohio for collaboration and established their equipment-producing company with the available investment. They named it FWF Corp.

Production of First Excavator:

The first Gradall excavator came out in 1944. It could dig a deep hole in all directions and had a bucket for the wrist action on its end. In the later year, they produced five such pieces of equipment, two for test purposes and other three for sale. The contractors greatly appreciated the invention, and it worked throughout northeast Ohio. Warner & Swasey Co. Acquired the right to manufacture and sell Gradall from the Ferwerda brothers in 1945.

Other Early Models:

M-2400 and M-2460 were the early Gradall models the company released in 1946; they had improved boom and hydraulic powers. That enhanced the boom’s lifting capacity. The later model also had an operator cab with a structural arrangement that improved the operator’s visibility.

The equipment appeared in 1948’s Road Show in Chicago and proudly stood among the top 5 equipment.

More Products and Production:

Gradall Industries started producing 20 pieces of equipment per month by 1950. They produced four models of M-2460; crawler, truck-mounted, truck-mounted with railroad wheels, and wagon-mount.

Crawlers replaced the earlier excavator to work more efficiently in confined or crowded spaces. The wagon-mounted update had a self-propelled boom that helped with material handling and road maintenance.


Fast Forward to 1996:

Gradall produced varying models at a few intervals, and they focused more on the operator space and comfort. The G-800 and G-100 from the past years added more to the performance, and the G-660 and G-880 came with efficient hydraulic power. G3WD and XL models came with greater power and productivity. It offered a Gradall Service Manual with each piece of equipment to make it easier for the operator and owner to maintain and organize the excavator. In addition to the service manual, there is an owner-operator manual available for purchase.

After the release of the G3WD model in 2000, no more models came for 3 years. 2003 brought the release of the XL 4100. It was a complete redesign of the chassis and excavator. It had a more powerful engine and cooling system.

2006, 2015, and 2016 also marked the launch of even more productive and faster equipment, I.e., Series 3, D 152, D 154, etc. Thus, the Discovery series is the latest launch, and it is recognized as a need of time for street repair, ditching, and grading.

Machinery Types:

Let’s look at the primary and popular Gradall Industries machinery:

Highway Speed Wheeled Excavators:

Highway excavators are pros at fast operations, doing the job in minimal time. They offer versatile functions; companies can use them for ditching, mowing, mass excavation, landscaping, debris cleanup, tree and vegetation trimming, etc.

Crossover Excavators:

The crossover excavator by Gradall is highly efficient at performing different tasks like removal and replacement of curbs and gutters, landscaping, mowing, roadside vegetation control, etc.

Steel Mill Maintenance Machine:

Steel mill maintenance machines are high-duty equipment that helps industries clean the debris and maintain ladles, Aluminum smelting, Torpedo Ladle, BOF, and electric furnaces.

The same equipment is produced specialized for the aluminum mills.

Gradall Industries now produces other useful machinery like mine scalers, railway maintenance machines, rough terrain wheeled excavators, and crawler excavators. Each of them comes with the individual Gradall service manual to offer enhanced safety and surety to the owner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the Gradall Forklift?

JLG, who manufactures Gradall Telehandler forklifts, acquired Gradall in 1999.

Who owns Gradall?

The parent company of Gradall is the Alamo Group. The aquisition of Gradall Industries occurred in 2006, when Alamo Group purchased Gradall from JLG for over $39 million.

Who invented Gradall?

Brothers Ray and Koop Ferwerda are the founders of the original Gradall name. The original invention, which began production in the 1940’s, was road graders for building roads.