Komatsu showcased several hydraulic-electric machines and related battery technology at Conexpo 2023. The goal, said company officials, is to develop the technology and equipment to help customers reduce their carbon footprint and plan for implementing sustainable solutions, including electrification, and to make fleet management more efficient.
One featured product was the 20-ton PC210LCE electric excavator. With Proterra’s lithium-ion battery technology, the excavator has 451 kWh of battery capacity and an operating time of five to nine hours, depending on workload conditions.
The PC210LCE was engineered for construction operations that need a high-performance machine while cutting fuel costs and reducing carbon footprint. Designed to reduce operator fatigue with less noise, exhaust emissions and zero engine vibration, the PC210LCE is said to be ideal for use in urban areas and indoor environments and can allow for nighttime construction work both indoors and out.
The machine is based on the PC210LC, which relies on Komatsu HydrauMind (Hydraulic Mechanical Intelligence New Design) hydraulics, a closed-center system with load-sensing and pressure-compensated valves. It includes six selectable working modes. Variable-displacement piston pumps supply boom, arm, bucket swing and travel circuits. Maximum pressure is 372 bar (5,400 psi) and max flow is 475 lpm (125.5 gpm). Hydraulic motors power travel and swing functions.
At the show, the PC210LCE was displayed with Smart Construction Retrofit, an affordable guidance kit that gives operators and managers access to both 2D and 3D design and payload data to help drive accuracy, control load volumes and enhance operations. This technology upgrade is designed to improve grading performance and help drive productivity and profitability.
A number of other accompanying machines were also on display. For quiet and simpler operation without vibrations and zero emissions, the PC30E electric mini excavator fits the bill. Equipped with a 35 kWh battery and a 17.4 kW electric motor, its batteries can be fast-charged. This electric mini-excavator is suitable for a diverse range of workplaces including operating indoors, urban construction, and landscaping.
Komatsu also featured its PC01E electric micro excavator, powered by portable and swappable mobile batteries. Developed jointly with Honda, this new machine is designed for confined spaces in landscaping, agriculture and construction. Komatsu’s vision for the swappable battery system is to scale up the technology for use in larger micro excavator models.
The PC210LCE, PC30E and PC01E will be available in select markets in 2023.
To support the introduction of electric vehicles, Komatsu is exploring high-power-charging systems and developing multiple power source options in addition to on-board batteries. Three types of charging infrastructure options were on display at the company’s booth. One was a charger that is transportable, suited for varying site conditions, and can step voltage up or down to meet charging needs. Another option, developed in partnership with Proterra, is a portable charging concept designed for use in “off grid” locations or where site power is inaccessible or unreliable. And a portable charging concept is viewed as a possible solution for environments without a power supply. With a compact package size designed for easy transportation, it can charge mini excavators and other electric equipment on a work site.