ABOUT UMC Your Partner, from the Factory to the Field

Over the course of its 40-year history, The UMC® innovative team has introduced game-changing solutions time and again. It is a journey worth remembering, even as we continue to shape the future of the company—and of center pivot irrigation—today.


William “Bill” Smith makes and machines the first UMC® gearbox out of a garage in the Hollenbeck district of East Los Angeles, California.

Late 1970’s

Bill sees the opportunity to improve coupler shock absorption and flexibility by replacing hard plastic with a proprietary rubber blend. UMC® launches the first shock attenuating coupler in the industry, dramatically extending gearbox life.


UMC® goes global with its initial expansion into international markets, including Europe, Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East.

UMC® develops the first generation of its Power Saver™ center Drive gearmotor, using the 95 percent-efficient helical gear design with greater strength and reliability than worm gears while offering quieter operation.


UMC® again redefines industry standards using its common sense design approach by adding Teflon tubing to copper windings for added protection against moisture and to extend motor life.

UMC® improves the drive coupler, upgrading the material and adding an alignment rod to handle heavier loads caused by larger tires and higher torque motors.


UMC® patents the Tow/Non-Tow, dubbed the TNT, the industry’s first gearbox designed specifically for towable applications. Pioneered and prototyped at UMC® and field-tested in Australia’s extreme growing conditions, the TNT reduced dealer maintenance calls and kept center pivot systems up and running longer.


UMC® purchases global headquarters in Costa Mesa, California


Demonstrating their well-known ‘boots on the ground’ approach, UMC® headed to a Dalhart, TX cornfield to figure out how to stop water from spraying into windings due to a new water application technique. Alongside the dealer and grower they fastened spare PVC pipe onto a motor with a metal clamp. This field prototype led to the development of the “Spray Guard”, The UMC® built-in cover that protects motors from damaging moisture and reduces downtime and repair costs.


UMC® patents the CX Coupler—an intuitive, pre-assembled, one-size-fits-all coupler design featuring one-wrench installation—cutting installation time and reducing trips to the field for service crews with the wrong size in the truck.


Answering customer requests for a diversified product line, UMC® ships its first “assembled in the USA” gearboxes from its Costa Mesa, California headquarters.


UMC® opens a state-of-the-art Research and Development Center at its headquarters in Costa Mesa, where they are using advanced technology to increase consistency, efficiency and repeatability in testing, as well as to enhance data collection far beyond existing standards.