Komatsu gets smart with intelligent dozer

  • 17-Jul-2013 01:43 EDT
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With Komatsu's D61EXi/PXi-23, typical add-on machine control system components mounted on the blade have been replaced with a factory installed cab-top GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) antenna, enhanced inertial measuring unit (IMU+), and stroke sensing hydraulic cylinders.

The D61EXi/PXi-23, Komatsu’s first intelligent machine control model for the North American market, features fully automatic blade control. The D61i-23 dozer can perform not only finish grading, which has been possible with conventional machine control, but also rough dozing, ultimately leading toward improvements in productivity. This is the first machine using this new innovative technology, and it is scalable to other products manufactured by Komatsu.

According to Peter Robson, Director of Intelligent Machine Controls: “The ease with which the D61i-23 transitions from rough dozing to finish grading with automatic blade control engaged is so seamless that both experienced and inexperienced operators will notice benefits.”

Longer track-on ground standard (EX) and low ground pressure (PX) models are available to offer customers flotation and weight distribution options that best match their applications. Operating weights range from 39,441 to 41,381 lb (17,890 to 18,770 kg) depending on the configuration with a net 168 hp (125 kW) at 2200 rpm.

The D61i-23 also features the integration of Komatsu's proprietary KOMTRAX (Komatsu Machine Tracking System) and Topcon's construction management system. In the near future, this integrated system will enable high-efficiency, unified management of construction work through access to real-time machine data, via its web service, to track work progress including the amount of soil dozed at job sites.

While crawler dozers have been able to perform high-precision finish grading after installing an add-on machine control system, the D61i-23 can perform rough dozing as well as finish grading in automatic mode, due to its fully automatic blade control.

When rough dozing, the automatic blade control monitors blade load and adjusts blade elevation to minimize track slip and perform high-efficiency dozing. As work progresses closer to the target finish grade, the automatic blade control adjusts accordingly to provide finish grade performance with high-level precision. Improvement in combination rough dozing efficiency is up to 13% higher compared to add-on machine control systems.

“The innovation is not only that Komatsu can provide the customer with fully automatic blade control for automatic rough dozing and efficiency improvement, but also that Komatsu is able to offer this technology while maintaining finish grade performance in the D61 dozer size class,” said Robson.

With the D61EXi/PXi-23, typical add-on machine control system components mounted on the blade have been replaced with a factory installed cab-top GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) antenna, enhanced inertial measuring unit (IMU+), and stroke sensing hydraulic cylinders. These components along with the machine control monitor and controllers mounted inside the cab are installed at the Komatsu manufacturing facility.

“The integrated sensor package is not only robust and accurate but also eliminates the daily hassles of installing/removing GNSS antennae and cables from the blade, plus the wear associated with it,” said Robson.

Inside the cab, customer selectable dozing modes allow system response to be tailored to the current machine operation for optimized performance. Similarly, blade load settings are adjustable between presets to match actual material conditions. Pass to pass, the intelligent machine control system can be left with the automatic blade control engaged because of its ability to precisely automate the lowering of the blade at the start of a pass and raise it at the end of a pass.

When the machine travels around the job site, the cab top GNSS antenna collects accurate surface data by measuring actual elevations. The stroke sensing angle cylinder measures the actual angle of the blade for high-precision grading accuracy on cross-slope, blade angled or not.

The D61i-23 crawler dozer is equipped with the latest KOMTRAX technology, which is fully integrated with Komatsu’s Tier 4 technology and sends machine operating information to a secure website utilizing wireless technology. Hour meter, location, cautions, load ratio, fuel consumption, and maintenance alerts – to name a few of its features – are relayed to the web application for analysis. The KOMTRAX fleet monitoring system increases machine availability, reduces the risk of machine theft (compared to machines not KOMTRAX-equipped), and allows for remote diagnosis by the distributor.

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