Hitachi renews historic excavator to celebrate 50 years of success at Bauma

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV (HCME) has refurbished an iconic 1970s UH04 excavator and placed it at the heart of its display at this year’s Bauma exhibition.

The machine has been carefully restored by a dedicated team of four employees from various departments at the manufacturer’s Dutch dealer, Hitachi Construction Machinery NL (HCM NL), based in Oosterhout. Work began in April this year in order to prepare the machine for display at a Dutch customer event, TKD (Technische Kontakt Dagen) in June. As this event was unfortunately cancelled, the restored UH04 made its debut three months later at the HCME 50th anniversary open day in Amsterdam.

The UH04 had been acquired by HCM NL in 2017, after it was purchased by former Director Pieter Weerts from a customer who traded machines. Over the course of two months, its unique restoration involved the repair of the electrical system and hydraulic leakages, rebuilding and reupholstering the cab, and repainting the bodywork and bucket.

Preserving history

The most challenging part of the project was sourcing original parts. “If they weren’t available, we had to be a little creative to make them look authentic,” says Evert van den Broek, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist at HCM NL. “Also, it was difficult to keep the machine as original as possible and not to make it look too new.”

The team who brought the UH04 back to life are delighted with the results of their efforts. “My colleagues enjoyed seeing the old-fashioned techniques employed within the machine, and finally seeing it ready for the open day in Amsterdam.”

They also feel proud that the machine is now on its way to Germany for the Bauma exhibition, where thousands of visitors will be able to appreciate it for themselves. “For our team, it was like rebuilding a piece of history and preserving it for decades to come.”

The restored UH04 is a perfect symbol of Hitachi’s heritage in manufacturing hydraulic excavators and a stark contrast to the advanced technology on display on the rest of the stand.

“The presence of the UH04 highlights how far we have come since 1972 and pays tribute to the Hitachi engineers of the past,” says HCME President Takaharu Ikeda. “This machine is the ancestor of today’s Zaxis-7 excavators and its refurbishment is the perfect way to celebrate our success in Europe over 50 years.”

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