Construction Technology Helps Eliminate Rework & Improves Efficiency

Komatsu Demo Days: Getting up close to and operating equipment help our team learn more about the machines in the dirt.

Several wheel loaders were available to operate.
Several wheel loaders were available to operate.
Lori Ditoro

Leah Harnack hosted Editor-in-Chief Lori Ditoro during the Komatsu Demo Days.Leah Harnack hosted Editor-in-Chief Lori Ditoro during the Komatsu Demo Days.Lori DitoroVisiting sites and manufacturers’ proving grounds and customer centers helps our team get close to the equipment and technology we write about every day. A recent visit to the Komatsu customer center in Cartersville, Georgia, allowed me to learn more about the company’s goals and to operate a dozer for the first time.

Before going into the field to see and operate equipment, the Komatsu team gave us a safety review and talked about the company’s goals and industry trends.

Solutions and trends discussed included:

  • Technology: Predictability with digital solutions including smart construction, intelligent machine control and 3D machine guidance are some of the trends around tech.
  • Sustainability goals: Power source options and options for your current fleet should be considered. Komatsu to be carbon neutral by 2050.
  •     Power options include electric, hydrogen, hybrid and renewable biodiesel.
  • Labor challenges: Contractors should upskill and retain talent.
  •     Komatsu has the Komatsu Academy to help with education.
  •     Other factors that can help with workforce issues are digitalization and automation.

Operating the Dozer

I have operated construction equipment but never a dozer. I was a little intimidated because the D71PXi-24 is the largest Komatsu hydrostatic transmission dozer. However, with the help of the Komatsu experts and the fully integrated automation, the process was simple.

After moving dirt into a pile, I was able to get everything back to grade automatically with grade control. It also has tilt assist, allowing for 80% less operator input, and track mapping.

First Time in a Hybrid Excavator

Several excavators were available to operate including the PC900LC-11, Komatsu’s largest construction excavator. However, I decided to try the HB365LC-3 hybrid excavator because I’d never been in a hybrid machine.

The all-electric swing system has four components:

  • Electric swing motor
  • Capacitor-sin to a battery
  • Inverter (DC to AC)
  • Motor generator coupled to the engine

The bucket and boom (hydraulic functions) are 15% more productive than a diesel-only excavator and fuel consumption is 20% lower, and the excavator produces fewer emissions.

Smart Construction Solutions

The Komatsu team shared its technology solutions, too. The jobsite management system includes:

  • Logistics materials in the right place
  • Drones, terrain mapping
  • Timecards
  • A scheduling solution (no lost time)
  • Cycles for equipment
  • Other Equipment at the Demo Days
  • In addition to the dozers and excavators, Komatsu had wheel loaders, including the WA475-10 with auto idle and new lift equipment.

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