The Komatsu name is a familiar one at mining operations and construction projects in the Intermountain West, and the Komatsu Equipment Co. of Salt Lake City intends to keep it that way. The firm, which has been in business for more than 50 years, opened its new headquarters in August.

The $10.6-million, 102,000-sq-ft, two-story-tall headquarters is mostly occupied by 12 expansive service bays designed to keep everything from small skid loaders to gargantuan mining trucks in working order. The rest of the 11.5-acre site east of Bangerter Highway in Salt Lake City will be used for displaying and testing equipment.

The new building will bring all of the company’s functions and approximately 230 employees from administrative to sales and rentals to one location. The building also includes a full parts warehouse, wash and painting bays and training rooms.

Service Boost

John Pfisterer, KEC’s president, says the new facility was built primarily to deliver better service to Komatsu customers handled by the Salt Lake City office and branches in St. George, Utah; Las Vegas, Elko and Reno, Nev.; and Gillette, Wyo.

“The real driver for this was to expand our service capability,” Pfisterer says. “We are going from four service bays to 12. We have a rebuild area that handles all the components for the mining trucks. We couldn’t handle them in our own facility, so that capability is greatly enhanced.”

Planning for the project began about 2.5 years ago, says Larry Bodhaine, project manager for KEC. Original plans were to build on the site the company has occupied since the mid 1970s, just a few blocks east of the new location.

“That location was a leased situation and eventually we elected to own instead,” Bodhaine adds. “We looked at a number of locations and decided on this one.”

With the site located, the search for a design-build team began, with Tom Stewart Construction of North Salt Lake and Aeurbia Architects of Salt Lake City, eventually selected from a field of four teams..

The design-build team began the eight-month construction schedule in December 2009. Similar to other structures in the area, the building is constructed of tilt-up concrete panels poured onsite after the 10-in. floor slab was in place.

The facility’s new repair space is designed and equipped to make working on large, heavy equipment easier and more efficient. The area has 32-ft ceilings and 22-ft by 22-ft garage doors, six on either side. Skylights allow daylight to supplement lighting and boost the energy efficiency of the building. High above the floor are gantries for four 15-ton and one 30-ton overhead cranes.

Each work station includes a parts rack. Parts can be ordered from a computer at the work station and delivered from the adjacent warehouse. Rolls of retractable hoses for lubricants and other fluids drawn from onsite supply tanks are located through the center of the repair shop.

The facility will have 16 mechanics, 12 in the repair shop and four working in the rebuild shop, which is also outfitted with a 30-ton crane and seven 5-ton cranes.