The 960E is now the largest of Komatsu's mining trucks. It is an electric-drive model built to replace the 930E, of which 650 are currently in use.
The new truck has a diesel engine powering the hydraulic systems and the electric drive motors. The diesel is a SSDA18V170 that was designed and developed by a joint venture between Komatsu and Cummins. It is an 18-cylinder powerplant producing 2610 kW (3500 hp) gross and, combined with two-stage turbocharging, individual cylinder monitoring, advanced oil management, and a special filtration system, meets U.S. EPA standards while reducing oil changes by one third.
Power is then sent through the air-cooled IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor) inverter system to the two General Electric induction traction motors, which can be individually controlled by an Invertex ac control system.
Many mines have steep switchback roads, necessitating special steering and braking abilities by the huge vehicle. The 960E has hydraulic steering with a 16 m (52.5 ft) turning radius despite an overall length of 15.6 m (51.18 ft). Its 6.65-m (21.8-ft) wheelbase allows for tight cornering.
The brakes are also hydraulically actuated, oil-cooled discs at all wheels, assisted by a 4476-kW (6000-hp) electric retarding system and an electronic spin/slip control that limits wheel spin under acceleration and prevents excessive retarding that could lead to slipping. An automatic speed control system can handle descents by controlling each wheel individually as traction is lost.
Increased payload is the result of the specialized propulsion, steering, and braking, with the thick steel ladder-frame able to carry up to 326,585 kg (720,000 lb) despite the total empty vehicle weight being 249,475 kg (550,000 lb).
Two systems maximize productivity: a payload meter and the Komatsu Vehicle Health Monitoring System (VHMS). The payload meter measures a variety of speeds, loads, times, and distances, which enable operators to optimize payloads, productivity, and costs. The VHMS is a satellite-linked communicator that tells of the truck’s mechanical status and summarizes payloads, allowing mechanical problems to be addressed quickly.
The operator sits high above the ground in a heated and air-conditioned cab with fully adjustable controls and filtered and pressurized air to eliminate hazardous dust. The cab meets all rollover and falling object protection regulations.