2014 Komatsu Technology Olympics at Birtley based manufacturer

The London 2012 Olympics may be a distant memory but not at leading excavator manufacturer Komatsu UK Ltd based in Birtley, as four north east competitors are looking forward to an Olympics of a different challenge

Komatsu winners
Komatsu winners

For most of us, the London 2012 Olympics may be a distant memory, but not at Komatsu UK Ltd, the leading excavator manufacturer based in Birtley. Here, four north east competitors look forward to Olympics with a different challenge.


After their success in the recently held Komatsu UK Technology Olympics, these four winners, Paul Phillips (Welding), Daniel Mason (Assembly), Robbie Place (Painting) and Aidan Middleton (Machine Inspection), are now gearing themselves up and raring to go on a trip of a lifetime to Japan, to join in the global All Komatsu Technology Olympics.

In Birtley, a record number of 86 people took part in the Komatsu UK competition comprising of permanent and temporary employees, apprentices and suppliers.

One of the aims of this global tournament, now in its 37th year, is to provide Komatsu employees and key suppliers with the opportunity to demonstrate the high level of skill and technical ability required to work in the various disciplines of fabrication, painting, assembly and machine inspection.

And, according to Komatsu’s Tracey Wilson, Human Resources Senior Manager, the event also brings other benefits.  She said:

“Komatsu UK has organised the UK Technology Olympics for 16 years. It’s a great opportunity for apprentices, employees and key suppliers to compete in their chosen field. In addition, it is a motivational tool that helps staff to maintain the high quality standards for which Komatsu is known around the world.”

Later this year, the four UK winners will travel to Japan to participate in the global All Komatsu Technology Olympics.  Mrs Wilson continued:

“When it comes to competing in Japan they will further improve their skills and learn new techniques, which they will bring back and pass on to colleagues in the UK. This year, Komatsu UK have put more focus than ever on the Technology Olympics.  This reflects our top management’s commitment to the tournament and the benefits it provides to our business”.

Robbie Place is qualified in the “Painting” category.  He said: “I am very much looking forward to the experience of travelling to Japan, to compete and to have the opportunity to further improve my skills and learn new techniques from our colleagues in Japan.

I am currently two and a half years into my apprenticeship with Komatsu UK and feel privileged to represent my company in the International Technology Olympics in Japan”.

In the “Welding” category, Paul Phillips has an added incentive, as he was the 2013 winner for Overseas competitors and will be going all out to defend his title. Paul said, “To win last year was a proud moment for me and I relish the opportunity to defend my crown”   

The annual Technology Olympics, coupled with the sharing of new skills and techniques, play a significant part in Komatsu’s core philosophy of continuous improvement.  

  • Komatsu UK is part of the Global Komatsu organisation, which is the world’s second largest manufacturer and supplier of construction and mining equipment. It has proudly been providing high-quality reliable products for nearly a century.

  • Komatsu’s head office is in Tokyo, and there are 147 companies in the Global Group, including 44 manufacturing plants. The company employs a total of over 46,000 people.

  • Currently, Komatsu UK employs approximately 400 staff and has an extensive product portfolio, featuring 12 models. It exports mainly to Europe.

  • The UK plant at Birtley was officially opened in 1987 by HRH, The Prince Of Wales.



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