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In 2018, Yanmar is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the launch of the YNB300, its first wheeled, self-propelled mini-excavator powered by a Yanmar diesel engine.


The YNB300 was designed in the Japanese context of the late sixties: although manual labor using pickaxes and shovels was still the norm in the civil engineering industry, demand for shorter construction times was increasing due to labor shortages and increasing labor costs. Japan was also facing at that time booming urbanization and needed compact tools. Against this background, the YNB300 was aimed at meeting both objectives: realizing labor savings and accessing restricted urban areas.

Since 1968, Yanmar has been a pioneer in the development of compact equipment and has been looking to improve people’s lifestyles by contributing to infrastructure development through its range of products and services.

Today, Yanmar still follows this strategy of innovation and development and leans on its exceptional know-how to develop a complete range of compact machinery for a wide range of applications: micro- and mini- crawler excavators, wheeled excavators, wheel loaders and dumpers… 32 models specially designed for construction, civil engineering and landscaping. Yanmar is dedicated to putting its experience and expertise to full use in finding the optimal solution for customers’ needs. Quality is integrated in all activities in order to provide high-quality products and services and has embedded Japanese quality procedures in an entire policy.






The diesel YNB300, a wheeled, self-propelled mini excavator could operate in the confined worksites commonly found in Japan and met demands for labor savings and to alleviate labor costs.


The YB600C had a swing boom that could slide to the left and right, allowing it to excavate right up against walls. This model also introduced improved driving performance thanks to the development of a built-in drive motor which fit within the width of the crawler. The model was known as the "wall magician" thanks to revolutionary performance that allowed it to easily excavate drainage channels. This job had been difficult with earlier equipment and earned the model great popularity with water service, gas, and other piping construction workers. It was a trailblazer in the mass production of compact construction equipment.


The YB2000 was the first mini construction equipment model with a cabin and a super low noise design. It was equipped with a cabin to allow operators to work in greater comfort and was carefully designed to ensure that engine noise was suppressed, to allow for use in confined spaces, at night, and in residential areas


The YB1200, established the basis for the modern mini excavator. It featured a vertical water-cooled diesel engine with a low noise design as well as boom swing functions, 360-degree rotation, and an earth-moving blade.


The YB400 was the world's first 1-ton class rubber crawler type mini excavator with a weight of just 900 kg. This meant that the rubber crawler fitted mini excavator could travel on paved roads without causing damage or excessive noise.


The “Zero Tail Swing ViO series” featured the best of both the standard models and the Super Swing models as the marketplace itself matured. This model improved work efficiency using a simple boom, the same as standard models and was designed to ensure that rear of the body did not protrude beyond the width of the track when rotating, reducing the risk of injuring workers. It soon became the standard on worksites, replacing most of the standard models which had previously made up approximately 70% of the mini excavator market.

        90s to 2000

Numerous models and products were released which were equipped with engines complying with the exhaust gas restrictions enacted in Europe, the United States, and Japan. These provided even greater noise reduction, and incorporated safety mechanisms for protection in the event the machine overturning. As Yanmar had begun tackling environmental conservation issues early, the majority of the bodies of our company's mini excavators were made of reusable steel sheet rather than plastic. In addition, these advanced models achieved a perfect rear swivel where even the front corners of the cabin remained inside the machine tracks when swiveling, while other functions such as hydraulic quick hitches allowed for easier attachment and detachment of buckets.




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