At this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE shows in Las Vegas, Komatsu unveiled a suite of new products, under the theme of “creating connections.” Many of the company’s new products boasted more intelligent hydraulic systems and advanced hydraulic control. So, I asked Rich Smith, VP of Products and Services for Komatsu North America about how the company looks at hydraulic technology moving forward over the coming years.
“When we look at hydraulic technology, you still have gear pumps, swash plates, and things like that, but it really comes into the controlling of those systems. Komatsu’s been innovative throughout our history in hydraulic controls. There’s a lot of things that you can do that move towards fuel savings. Something as simple as — when you are raising a dump body on a bed, there’s an optimum speed that you should have the engine at, and anything over that you’re just wasting fuel. When you’re digging with an excavator and if you get to a point where you’re just over relief, why would you continue over relief?” he said.
“It’s looking at those types of situations to optimize the load factor on the machine with what the hydraulic system is putting out,” Smith explained. “And if you look at the WA475 [the company’s new wheel loader] with the hydro-mechanical transmission, I think you’ll see where our technology is utilizing hydraulic in conjunction with more typical transmission technologies to give us significant improvements in productivity and fuel efficiency.”
“I think the last aspect there is looking at doing something that we do with our HB365 hybrid, which hybrid technology and excavators used to be just to take the swing. You capture in an ultra-capacitor, then you would use that in the swing. We’re now taking some of that and moving that into the hydraulic system to also improve lift and dump speed. So, you can combine these technologies together to get the best effect for the customer,” he said.
What will the pandemic mean?
Rod Schrader, Chairman and CEO of Komatsu North America, explained that the situation is evolving with this slowdown.
“Our first priority is our people, and so we’ve taken actions to minimize travel, heavily promoting the basics of wash your hands, don’t touch your face. And all those things are being done. Obviously, in Japan, it’s a little more severe. In China, it is a little more severe where the hotspots are relative to those things. From a supply chain, North America-wise, we really only have two main facilities that rely on China,” Schrader said. “One is Hensley, which is our ground engaging bucket facility in Dallas, and then Newberry, which is our wheel loader and forklift factory in Newberry, South Carolina. So far, we’re good through May, relative our supply chain. Obviously, we’ve formulated teams that are working very diligently on a global basis coordinating to make sure that we’re monitoring the supply chain.”
Some of Komatsu’s new equipment includes:
The D71PXi-24 is the industry’s newest and largest intelligent hydrostatic transmission dozer with advanced intelligent machine control. Its proactive dozing control can operate automatically 100% of the time, and its lift layer control automatically spreads fill from the existing terrain with the press of one button.
The D155CX-8 pipelayer provides an alternative, stable pipelayer. Designed in conjunction with pipeline companies, the D155CX-8 received high marks from pipeline contractors during field evaluations. Easy to transport, the Tier 4 pipelayer has a 170,000-pound rated lift capacity and an oval track undercarriage that was designed for stability. Its front/rear and left/right weight distribution and long 12’10” (3925 mm) track on ground, improve stability for pipeline work, especially when working on adverse grades.
This PC130-11 conventional tail swing excavator on preview is built to be easily transported from job to job, so is a great choice for utility work or small construction jobs. Equipped with the Komatsu closed-center hydraulic system, the 28,660 lb (13,000 kg) PC130-11 has fast loading cycles and high productivity.
The WA475-10 wheel-loader is newly designed with next-generation technology, developed from extensive customer feedback. Its engine has 22-hp more than the WA470-8 model, but with the Komatsu Hydraulic Mechanical Transmission, it achieves up to a 30% increase in fuel efficiency. KHMT dynamic braking also reduces brake wear.
The WA800-8 wheel-loader has completely redesigned front and rear frame and loader linkages, with the most durable chassis in model history. Designed to load 60-100 ton haul trucks in quarry, aggregate, and mining applications, the WA800-8’s automatic dig, semi-automatic approach, and semi-automatic dump systems can be used together or separately to automate the work phases when v-cycle loading haul trucks.
Additionally, MyKomatsu is a web-based solution that includes parts ordering and machine data, parts and service manuals, and more — accessible via a single portal. The program integrates 20 legacy systems to create actionable intelligence to assist customers in effectively running their businesses. MyKomatsu lets customers can manage their fleet data in a standardized and organized way. The comprehensive portal provides access to parts and service information and makes it easy to order parts online. The system also lets users visualize and evaluate their assets with fleet-wide or equipment-specific information from any device.