Kawasaki Engines are celebrating a milestone anniversary across the globe this year. 2017 represents the 60th Anniversary of the start of production of the first Kawasaki general purpose petrol engines, and Kawasaki Engine Divisions in the US, Japan and Europe will be celebrating throughout 2017.
“We are extremely proud of the development of the General Purpose Engine Division (GPE) over the last 60 years”, commented Tetsuro Saito, Senior Manager GPE Sales Division at Kawasaki Heavy Industries. “From modest beginnings in 1957, with a range consisting of just two engines, Kawasaki have become renowned worldwide for our quality engineering, resulting in highly durable engines for a range of applications and industries.”
Jack Ford, Senior Product Manager for the Engine Division in Europe, echoes a similar sentiment. “The European business has come a long way over recent years. We are now able to offer OEMs a greater range of power options than ever before, including some of the most advanced technology in the market in the form of our increasing range of EFI models. We have worked hard to build our Distributor Network and now have full coverage across Europe, as well as Distributors in the Middle East and South Africa, providing an extensive network of Kawasaki Authorised Dealers for parts, servicing and support.”
Kawasaki Engines is part of the Kawasaki Heavy Industries Group (KHI) who provide power, manufacturing and transport solutions worldwide to a range of diverse industries including aerospace, robotics and energy. In 1957 the General Purpose Petrol Engine Division was created, building on KHI’s foundations of engineering excellence and commitment to research and development.
The KF3 and KF4 were the very first general purpose petrol engine models, and were manufactured at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries Akashi Works plant in Japan. The KF3 was Kawasaki’s first 2-stroke engine, with the KF4 the original 4-stroke model, designed to power Japanese agricultural applications such as tillers, rice hullers, and the first Kawasaki powered walk-behind mowers.
The 1960’s saw the development of new engines, the KF10 (KT18) and KT25, to power handheld products such as brush cutters - products that Kawasaki Engines are still well-known for powering today. This was closely followed in the 1970s by the launch of the highly popular KG Generator range using KF Series engines.
The 1970s was also the decade that saw the establishment of the Kawasaki Motors Corp. Engine Division in the US. This Division began in Shakopee, Minnesota, moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1992 where US operations are still based today.
The 1980s and ‘90s were dominated by a succession of engine series launches as the company became increasingly well known for producing high performance, high quality engines powering professional machinery across industrial, grounds-care, turfcare, utility and related markets.
In 1995 Kawasaki Engines Europe was established in Gent, Belgium. This was the predecessor to the current Kawasaki Motors Europe Engine Division based in Bourne End in the UK. Today this Division manages all European engine business direct to OEMs and through Kawasaki’s European Distributor Network.
Recent history from 2002 has seen Kawasaki extend it’s range across the 2 and 4-stroke market, both in vertical and horizontal formats, with the launch of the TJ, FJ-D, FJ-V, FX, FR and FS series. Kawasaki continue to innovate to the present day, pushing the boundaries of 2 and 4-stroke engine technology to offer the best possible performance and efficiency. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the introduction of EFI technology to an increasing number of models in recent years, culminating in the launch of the latest FX850V-EFI in the US in November 2016.