Innovative Iron Award: JCB’s 3CX Backhoe Loader

Exploration is the engine that drives innovation, so let’s go exploring. Let’s search through a year’s worth of creative ideas in the off-highway equipment industry and see if we can benchmark the innovative exploration of the American machine market. Over the last 12 months, global manufacturers from Caterpillar to Kubota have released compact machines that have set new standards for power, versatility, efficiency and design. Our editors have traveled across the globe to meet these manufacturers, operate their new products and give detailed reports and opinions both in print and on our website ( We sifted through the hundreds of models and brands released in 2015 and picked 19 units that set the bar for innovation. With this article, we salute those companies (from Komatsu to Case) that have changed the commercial equipment market over the last year with their unique, interesting and innovative machines, engines and technologies.

JCB’s 3CX Compact Is a New Category of Backhoe

Small, Mightyand Versatile

There’s a big disparity between the bigger construction backhoes that dig 14 ft (see pages 28-29) and the small tractor loader hoes built on utility tractor chassis. JCB thought: Why not build a construction-tough backhoe, but in a smaller, nimble untraditional size? The result is the awesome 3CX Compact Backhoe. At just over 6 ft wide and 9 ft high, the 3CX Compact is 35 percent smaller than JCB’s standard 3CX backhoe model and still has a 12-ft dig depth. The machine sits on four equal-size wheels complete with four-wheel steering, allowing it to turn a full 180 degrees in a two-lane highway. It also has rapid travel at 25 mph with its hydrostatic transmission. And in true Compact Equipment style, the 3CX Compact works with a wide-range of attachments and handheld tools for maximum versatility.

To see the rest of Compact Equipment’s Innovative Iron Awards, click this link.