MUNICH—In a move to expand a product category it helped to pioneer nearly a decade ago, Komatsu announced the launch of the HB365LC-3, a 36-ton hybrid excavator. The machine was on display inside Komatsu’s booth at the Bauma construction-equipment trade show in Munich, Germany, held April 11-17.
“This is our third-generation hybrid excavator,” says Mas Morishita, managing director and CEO of Komatsu Europe. “We introduced the first hybrid excavator in 2008—now it is a proven technology. We have over 3,700 hybrid excavators out there today.”
The HB365LC-3 has the same engine as the PC360LC-11 excavator, but uses a capacitor to store energy during swing braking. This power is then discharged during the return-to-dig portion of the dig cycle, saving fuel and reducing strain on the hydraulic system.
Komatsu might have had interesting tech under the hood with the new excavator, but, at the company’s outdoor arena at Bauma, crowds were speeding past the 36-ton excavator to see the 677-ton PC7000 mining shovel. The largest piece of earthmoving equipment at Bauma this year (according to Komatsu), the mammoth machine features a 47-cu-yard bucket.
With a renewed focus on the European market driven by flat sales in Asia, Komatsu also is pushing its intelligent dozer tech. Continuing its technology partnership with Topcon, the company is offering factory-installed sensors on more sizes of dozers. When asked whether Komatsu will be bringing intelligent sensors to motor graders for Europe, Komatsu U.K. boss Peter Howe winced at the idea. “Motor graders are not important to Europe. They’ve been replaced by dozers. Intelligent controls on dozers are getting rid of motor graders,” he said. “Right now, our priority is excavators and dozers.”
The expanded line of intelligent dozers is just the latest addition to Komatsu’s intelligent machine-control (iMC) machines. First introduced at Bauma 2013, the iMC machines have performed better than expected, with over 2,450 units sold worldwide. Increased usage of intelligent machines is a global focus for Komatsu, says Howe. “We’ve collected all this data through Komtrax [telematics], and now we can make the job processes easier. We are using the iMC for smart construction in Japan,” he says.
Howe also sees advances in autonomous mining systems as part of Komatsu’s growing intelligent-machine lineup. “We’re also working in autonomous haulage systems—a lot of our dump trucks are going driverless. We have more than 50 of these machines operating in Chile and Australia at the moment,” he noted.