Komatsu doubles down on intelligent machine control

  • 05-Jun-2016 09:47 EDT
D155AXi-8 RC.jpg

The new D155AXi-8 Radio Control dozer is Komatsu’s first radio-controlled machine with intelligent Machine Control technology.

Komatsu America recently revealed four new machines that expand the company’s new intelligent Machine Control family and help to demonstrate its vision of the "jobsite of the future." The newest model of its first intelligent Machine Control dozer, the D61i, a remote-controlled dozer, the D155AXi-8 RC, and two new excavators were on display and in action at the event.

The second-generation D61EXi/PXi-24 dozer features a 6.8-L, 168-hp (125-kW) SAA6D107E-3, EPA Tier 4 Final engine and hydrostatic transmission technology that helps to reduce fuel consumption and operating costs. New auto-idle shutdown and economy modes help reduce idle time and save fuel. The new model offers a choice between quick-shift, three-speed mode and a variable, 20-speed customizable transmission mode to suit personal preferences.

The dozer’s intelligent Machine Control system allows automated operation from heavy dozing to fine grading, achieving up to 8% greater efficiency in moving material, based on start-to-finish grade testing of typical aftermarket machine control systems. The lack of blade-mounted sensors and components means there is no need for operators to climb on the blade to install/remove GNSS antennas, no coiled cables to snag and no electrical connections to slow the start and end of every shift.

“From first to last pass—rough cut to finish grade—the machine senses blade load, minimizes track slip and ensures operators get the most from every push,” said Sebastian Witkowski, Komatsu product manager. “Also, eliminating the need to install or remove blade-mounted sensors each day not only saves on wear and tear and the potential for downtime, it saves operators valuable time that can be used to run the machine longer.”

The KOMTRAX telematics system and monitor provides key machine metrics, including Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter (KDPF) status, DEF consumption, fuel level, operating hours, location, cautions and maintenance alerts. Operator ID also makes it possible to view KOMTRAX data by job, application or operator.

Multi-lingual, 7-in, high-resolution LCD monitor with Ecology Guidance helps operators observe machine performance for maximum fuel efficiency and follow real-time integrated diagnostics for troubleshooting without a laptop. A standard rearview monitoring system promotes increased operator awareness of potential worksite hazards. 

Crawler dozer with radio control option

The new D155AXi-8 Radio Control dozer is Komatsu’s first radio-controlled machine with intelligent Machine Control technology. The D155AXi-8 RC features enhanced “intelligence” that automates operation from heavy dozing to fine grading. It has the ability to sense and control blade load, optimize the start of the cut, and minimize track slip.

“The D155AXi-8 Radio Control dozer is ideal for applications where customers may want to remove the operator from the machine and still maintain high levels of efficiency and productivity,” said Witkowski. “This dozer meets customer demands in those applications, while utilizing Komatsu’s proven, automated, rough-cut-to-finish-grade technology.”

Powered by a 354-hp (264-kW) Komatsu SAA6D140E-7, Tier 4 Final engine, the D155AXi-8 emits 80% less NOx than its Tier 4 interim predecessor. The variable geometry, turbocharged and aftercooled 15.24-L diesel features KDPF and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems.

An automatic gearshift transmission and lock-up torque converter team to select the optimal gear range, depending on jobsite conditions and load. The electronically-controlled transmission locks up the torque converter to transfer engine power directly to the transmission, eliminating power loss and cutting fuel consumption by up to 10%.

The patented SIGMADOZER blade, designed to dig and roll up more soil at the blade’s center, holds more material, reduces digging resistance and dozes up to 15% more soil while using less power, compared to a typical semi-u blade, the company claims.

3D semi-automatic excavators

The new PC360LCi-11 hydraulic excavator is the first 3D semi-automatic excavator available in the 36-ton weight class, according to Komatsu. The machine features a unique sensor package, including stroke sensing hydraulic cylinders, an IMU sensor, and GNSS antennas. It utilizes 3D design data loaded into the machine’s monitor to accurately display machine position relative to target grade. When the bucket reaches the target surface, automation kicks in to limit over excavation.

“The PC360LCi-11 is easily the most anticipated intelligent machine control machine to launch from Komatsu in recent memory,” said Jason Anetsberger, senior product manager, Komatsu America. “From trenching on a utility worksite to mass excavating on a highway project, the PC360LCi-11 is flexible and versatile enough to be at home on almost any jobsite.”

With Auto Grade Assist, as the operator moves the arm, the boom adjusts the bucket height automatically, tracing the target surface and minimizing digging too deep. During boom and bucket operation, Auto Stop Control enables the work equipment to automatically stop when the bucket edge reaches the design surface.

Minimum Distance Control allows the machine to control the bucket by automatically selecting the point on the bucket closest to the target surface. If the machine is not facing a sloped surface at a right angle, it will still follow the target surface and minimize digging below it. The orientation of the facing angle compass’ arrow shows the operator the facing angle, relative to target surface. This allows the bucket edge to be accurately positioned square with the target surface.

The machine and design surfaces are shown in realistic 3D. The angle and magnification of the views can be changed, allowing the operator to select the optimum view, depending on work conditions. The Intelligent Machine Control monitor uses a 12.1 screen for visibility and ease of use. A touchscreen icon interface, instead of a multi-step menu, simplifies operation.

The PC360LCi-11 is powered by a 8.85-L, 257-hp (192-kW) EPA Tier 4 Final, SAA6D114E-6 engine. An up to 13% productivity improvement is possible thanks to increased hydraulic flow in Power Mode. Up to 7% more arm crowd force and bucket digging force, respectively, are possible when the one-touch Power Max function is engaged.

The new PC490LCi-11, on the other hand, is the largest 3D semi-automatic construction-sized excavator available today, Komatsu claims.

“Many of our customers have been enjoying the precision, versatility and efficiency of the PC210LCi-10, and have been asking us to scale intelligent machine control technology to a larger-sized excavator,” said Anetsberger. “Whether you are mass excavating, trenching, or fine grading, the PC490LCi-11 will help increase productivity and efficiency, while removing the burden and worry of over-excavation. All the operator has to worry about is keeping the bucket full.”

The machine features the same Intelligent Machine Control package as the PC360LCi-11, along with the same operator-assistance functionality, including the realistic 3D display, and productivity improvements.

It is powered by a 11.04-L, 359-hp (268-kW) EPA Tier 4 Final, SAA6D125E-7 engine.

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