Komatsu -History and Models

When it comes to mining and construction equipment, Komatsu Limited remains the top name in the world. It is the second largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, including forklifts, excavators, dump trucks, motor graders, wheel loaders, tunnel boring machines, rough terrain cranes, hydraulic excavators, and bulldozers. At the same time, Caterpillar Inc. Remains on the top. Mining equipment and construction products solely help in building about 70% of the company’s revenue.

Despite all these, they also manufacture electronics. The word Komatsu means “little pine tree” in Japanese. This company was named after Ishiwaka prefecture, which is a city in Japan. There is no doubt this is a big company. However, it has faced many difficult times. But still managed to rise and prevail.


How It Started?

Takeuchi Mining company was founded in 1894. However, it originally achieved the height of success during World War I, specifically in 1917. It was a time when the company started producing mining equipment as well as machine tools for various mining operations.

The name Komatsu was officially given in 1921. It was the time when the iron works separated from the mining company and that resulted in Komatsu Limited. An engineer Tashiro Shiraishi, Boyster founder as well as the very first president who served until 1925.

The Company began with 121 employees, which increased to 742 in 1929. However, the number dramatically reduced to 505 during the depth of the great depression in 1933. Under the presidency of Mitsugi Nakamura during the Great Depression years from 1934 to 1946, the number of employees increased to 601 again in 1936.

Later the farm was mainly known for manufacturing machine tools and pumps. The first tractor that Komatsu produced was in 1913. While steel production began in 1935.

Military Contributions

The company expanded its supply during World War II. They manufactured anti-aircraft artillery bulldozers for the Navy. However, their major product, which was a bulldozer, was redesigned. Its whole lineup was brought in 1947. In 1948, Komatsu produced diesel engines, which turned out to be a great success.

From 1948 onwards to 1964, the company reached the heights of success. Yoshinari Kawai became the president, and during his reign, Komatsu Limited became a global multinational corporation. The company continued to expand it’s machinery lines to include loading and lifting machines for different functions.

Komatsu Limited and Dresser

Dresser industries joint venture to make Komatsu Dressers, which started developing mining equipment and tractors. This ownership started in September 1998 and lasted till August 1994. It ended with Komatsu purchasing Dresser’s share.

The mining products that the company produced used to come under the name Komatsu Mining Systems. Later, Haulpak was the name given to the product line introduced in collaboration with Dresser. LeTourneau-Westinghouse, the name “Haulpak” dates back to 1957 when it was first given to that range. Later, any product that included a rear dump truck was given the name Haulpak. It became the industrial term.

World’s Largest Bulldozer

Komatsu manufactured the world’s largest bulldozer called the D575A. This bulldozer comes in two different models, including a D575A-3, which weighs about 290,000 pounds, while the other one, D575A-SD, has a weight of almost 330,000 pounds. The latter one is called the Super dozer. It is capable of giving 1150 horsepower. These dozers cannot be moved as they are. Rather they have to be disassembled before moving.


When talking about a Komatsu forklift, you will love to see how This company produces high-quality, durable, and best-performing forklifts in the market. You can expect four different kinds of forklifts. They are an electric forklift, narrow aisle forklift, IC cushion forklift, and IC pneumatic forklift.

A little known fact is that in 1993, Komatsu Limited began manufacturing for Kalmar AC forklifts. Eventually, at one point nearly every Kalmar forklift was actually a Komatsu.

Finally, in 2005, the corporation announced that they would end the Kalmar AC line and rebrand. However, Komatsu continues to produce forklifts for it’s own brand label. For example, AE50 is one amazing forklift produced by Komatsu that features both solid pneumatic and cushion-type tires. It is an electric forklift having a 48 V battery.

Komatsu Shop Manual
Komatsu Shop Manual


You will find the most innovative dozers equipped with advanced technology at Komatsu. Again, they come in five different types and can push a large amount of material. You will love to see D37EX-24, which is a type of small dozer. Its blade has a capacity of 2.50 yd³, while it delivers 89 HP at 2,200 rpm.


You will see various kinds of excavators at Komatsu, from small, mid-size, large, surface mining, and iMC excavators. PC30MR-5 is one amazing model having precise bucket movements, quick cycle times, and multifunction motions. It gives an amazing horsepower of 24.4 hp at 2,200 rpm. One can have a good idea of its works by looking at the Komatsu Service Manuals.

Komatsu Limited Machines

You must have seen Komatsu machines at your work if you belong to mining, demolition, forestry, warehousing, construction, or agricultural fields. All the machines manufactured by the company have a good reputation in the market. Customer service includes the replacement of the Komatsu parts if something goes wrong with the machinery. For this very reason, they have been the most popular off-road equipment brand in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions about Komatsu Limited History

Is Komatsu Chinese or Japanese?

Komatsu is a Japanese company, with origins in forestry and mining. Komatsu translates from Japanese to English as “little pine tree,” in homage to their origins.

Which is better Caterpillar or Komatsu?

While Caterpillar machines historically hold their value very well, Komatsu machines tend to have a better initial price point. Machines from both companies are very capable on the construction and other work sites.