2017 has been a milestone year for JCB Power Systems, which recently celebrated the production of the 500,000th engine – enough to stretch from London to Paris if laid end-to-end.

Four cylinder diesel engines first began rolling off the Derbyshire production line in November 2004 and in the first year of production less than 10,000 were produced. It took eight years to build the first 200,000 engines and only five years to build the next 300,000, and the expansion also saw JCB India begin production of engines in 2010 at its headquarters near Delhi.The Foston-based business has grown dramatically since 2004. Initially providing 64 jobs, today the workforce stands at almost 400. Thirty of these were added this year following a £10 million investment in new CNC machining centres and associated automated processes, which for the first time allows major components, such as cylinder heads, engine blocks and bedplates, to be made in-house. Production also started this year of a new 3-litre engine, which joins the 4.4, 4.8 and 7.2-litre models.

In 2004, the company relied entirely on external suppliers for engines. Today more than 70% of the company’s products are powered by JCB engines. “There have been many great achievements at JCB over the years and engine manufacturing is a truly great success story,” said company chairman Lord Bamford. “What is more important is that we have complete control over our engine technology and production, giving us the freedom to innovate and to offer our customers engines which are clean, fuel efficient, easy to maintain and economical.”