A Brief History of Komatsu KVX

Origins

The history of KVX dates back to 1879 and the foundation of Kverneland Group by Ole Gabriel Kverneland who built his small forge in the village of Kvernaland, 25 km outside of Stavanger, Norway. He named his business "O.G. Kvernelands Fabrik" and started to manufacture scythes.

A talented inventor, Ole Gabriel designed his own water powered spring hammer and began producing 7000 - 8000 scythes annually by mass production. This gave him the competitive edge he needed over his rivals who still used traditional, manual production methods. In 1894 Ole Gabriel transformed his family owned forge to a Limited Company in order to finance further development and growth. At this time the company produced mainly horse powered ploughs and harrows. 

Agricultural plough manufacturer Kverneland began in 1970 to produce forged excavator teeth utilising leftover materials from the manufacture of its plough frames.

With a number of forges producing them, there was already an established market for the teeth, mainly for backhoe loaders and the trackless excavator Broyt in a size range from 2 to 16 Kg.

Kvernex

The reversible tip on Kverneland ploughs being fastened with two 12mm bolts, lead to the idea of the reversible tooth system for excavators. The first reversible teeth with 36mm bolts were tested in 1980 in collaboration with local contractors in the South West of Norway. A couple of years later the Kverneland tooth system was launched and within a few years became the leading tooth system in Norway. The success of the venture justified the organisation of a separate company, Kverneland Kvernex, established in 1986 to be responsible for marketing and sales of wear parts for the construction and mining industry. Through the 1990s the company reorganised the dealer structure and developed a thriving business in international markets.

Teeth for larger machines were produced in continually increasing dimensions. New alloys were developed to achieve through-hardening of the thicker steel. The system was successfully implemented in 1992 on 200 tons face shovels in Titania’s Illmenite mines. In 1995 the company started testing teeth with 600 Brinell hardness in the wear-zone, which became the standard for the forged teeth in 1998.

Larger machines required simpler installation methods. Hence, a system was invented in 2003 that used only one bolt for tooth fastening. To prevent rotation the tooth was seated on four ball-dowels. Already two years later the majority of large excavator systems from KVX used the new fixation. In 2008 the system was introduced on 200 tons class wheel loaders. In the new Intruder system, the one-bolt fixture is used for adapters with pin-on tips.

Komatsu KVX

In the autumn of 1997 Komatsu America took an interest in the system and negotiations took place to form a joint venture company with Kverneland. The new company, Komatsu KVX was established in July 1998 with Komatsu as a 60% shareholder. The remaining shares were acquired 4 years later. Komatsu also acquired Hensley, manufacturer of cast wear parts for construction and mining machines in 2000 and KVX became a subsidiary of Hensley in 2003.