Komatsu has revealed the most comprehensive suite of leading-edge models intended to provide low or no harmful exhaust emissions
It is not often that a manufacturer will break ranks with its competitors on an issue that will likely add more to their manufacturing costs, but Komatsu has done just that by updating model lines that favour the long-term health of operators in the cab.
While the tractor industry remains flat-footed and even fixated on delivering record numbers of Tier 3 cancer causing emission engines, totally legal here but banned in the northern hemisphere, it’s the operators of farm loaders that can expect to fare much better in the long-term health stakes.
Komatsu is taking us there by electrification of large-scale machines, adding autonomous and tele-remote operation along with remote monitoring for servicing and repairs.
And foremost, a dedication to a strategy Komatsu terms power-agnostic manufacturing that points to a future of zero-emissions and the realisation of zero-harm in the farm loader workplace.
And while at the moment the greatest risk for future on-farm deaths is from long-term exposure to Tier 3 engine emissions from tractors than a tractor roll-over, the Komatsu commitment is a step in the right direction for farm handlers at least.
And while many of the innovations will appear on large-scale mining models at first, all upgrades will evetually filter into Komatsu’s small production lines.
According to Sean Taylor, Chief Executive of Komatsu Australia, “Some of the technologies revealed are already in place and others are in prototype stages.”
Sean Taylor said Komatsu’s power-agnostic Haul Truck strategy leveraged a variety of power source options according to market requirements and providing flexibility for emerging technologies Komatsu is the long-time market leader in Electric Drive Haul trucks in Australia.
Komatsu has also announced its first ever Autonomous Water Cart truck, expanding the company’s impressive Autonomous credentials, that stretch back to the world’s first commercialized deployment of Autonomous trucks in Western Australia’s Pilbara region in 2008.
“In a decarbonised future, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell, battery fuel cell hybrid, trolley assist and increasingly, low emission engines, will all be part of Komatsu’s power agnostic suite, capable of being specified,” Sean said.
Komatsu also revealed that its large-scale WE1850-3 wheel loader will be fitted with the company’s KESS energy recovery system to reduce fuel use by 45%, and provide a 15% lower cost of ownership.
Komatsu has also showcased a teleremote hydraulic excavator. The excavator was demonstrated being controlled by an operator working through a GPS on a site almost 700km away.
“The excavator loaded a fully autonomous truck without the need for on-site operator intervention, optimising power usage and eliminating human risk,” Sean Taylor said.
“Komatsu’s autonomous trucks are already at the leading edge of industry capability.
“Since their first introduction 15 years ago, it’s estimated they have moved more than four billion tonnes of material across 13 mines in four countries.”
Komatsu is making model upgrades at the heart of the most determined program of change ever undertaken in the industry.
Komatsu has already announced a fully electric, remote-controlled mini excavator powered by a lithium-ion battery, as its next-generation concept machine into the future.
Designed to lay the foundations for commercialisation of fully electric construction equipment of the future, this initial fully electric mini excavator sits in the 3-tonnes class, with a bucket capacity: 0.09 m3.
It incorporates technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries and electric cylinders that utilise no hydraulics. And due to full-electric power, it is an eco-friendly machine, as it generates no exhaust gas, noise or heat.
In addition to improved energy efficiency, it offers a maintenance-free operation due to no use of hydraulic equipment. And this concept machine requires no operator on board.
A vehicle controller and operational device are connected via wireless LAN, resulting in no need to install a conventional remote-control system, and enables operations under any work environment.
With electrification and remote control, this machine should be stress-free for the operator, as it will make machine operation easy for work in confined, dangerous sites, such as for indoor demolition and rescue work from disasters.
In 2020, Komatsu launched the PC30E-5 electric mini excavators (hydraulic drive) in Japan, and plans to introduce electric mini excavators (hydraulic drive) after equipping them with the lithium-ion battery system used in the concept machine for Europe in FY2022.
Komatsu is working to not only accelerate the speed of commercialising construction equipment with little environmental impact, but also further anchor them into the future.
Sean Taylor further added, “Climate change and moving towards a global zero-emissions economy is obviously the big challenge for our generation.
“Komatsu has a long and rich history of driving sustainable innovation, with industry breakthroughs such as the first Hybrid Excavator that reduced fuel consumption by over 40% and the deployment of low emission engines that reduce particulate matter by up to 80% – this concept machine is an exciting extension of this journey.”
|Dimensions in transport||Overall length||mm||4,750|
|Motors||pcs||Travel: 2. Swing: 1. Work equipment: 4|