Excavators, Hybrid Machinery, Komatsu

Komatsu: Hybrid strong

A Komatsu hybrid excavator working on a tip site.

As companies put a stronger focus on ESG practices, Komatsu Australia says that hybrid machines are shaping up as marquee additions to many of its customers’ fleets.

Komatsu has been the market leader in hybrid machinery for 15 years, following the introduction of the world’s first hybrid hydraulic excavator, the HB205-1, in 2008 in response to climbing fuel prices – and the brand says hybrid equipment maintains an important position in the equipment line up of Australian companies, alongside other emerging technologies.

The 24-tonne HB215LC-3 comes with 110kW / 148HP of engine power and nearly one cubic metre of bucket capacity.

Dean Gaedtke, Komatsu Australia’s General Manager for Construction, says that there is still a strong appetite for hybrid machines on worksites, with 190 now operating in the country, and more than 5000 units globally.

“The Komatsu hybrid machine performs just as well as our conventional excavator,” Dean says. “It has similar high production outputs and power, while saving anywhere from 20–40 per cent on fuel consumption depending on the application.

“That’s why we’re seeing a lot of interest from our construction customers, especially those working on Tier 1 projects, looking to invest in hybrids for their fleets. The Komatsu hybrids are highly productive and reliable while helping our customers with ESG alignment to the construction sites or contract sustainability requirements. Plus, the value recovery on the Komatsu hybrid compared to conventional excavators is greatly improved. The Hybrid system is designed to give you more fuel savings the harder it works. For example, the more you dig and slew, the more fuel can be saved per tonne.

“Hybrid technology significantly reduces the impact of equipment on the environment, without adversely impacting the economic feasibility of a project. It’s a simple equation: less fuel, less emissions, less carbon.

“Hybrids have been strongly established in the automotive market now for many years, and now it’s the construction industry’s turn to realise their full potential as a strong addition to any fleet.”

Komatsu has been a market leader in hybrid machinery for 15 years.

Experience in electrification

Dean says Komatsu’s strong focus and long experience in electrification is what sets them apart from competitors when customers are looking to invest in hybrid machinery.

“Komatsu, locally and globally, has been leading the electrification journey for over 30 years. Our experience in Smart Construction, digitisation, and electrification spans across many years with reliable and innovative machinery,” he says.

“Our ESG strategy has us aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, and be completely net-zero by 2050. It’s a big feat but with the introduction of flagship machines like the PC210E all-electric hydraulic excavator, which we previewed at Bauma last year, we’re on a good path to meet those targets.

“And it’s not just our machinery, it’s the technology that is applied with it. Komatsu’s technology offerings like Komatsu iSite (Productivity & Fleet Management), Smart Construction and iMC – Intelligent Machine Control, are making it easier to reduce your carbon footprint onsite, through capturing accurate machine productivity data. This helps our customers to manage their machines and the efficiency of their operation and minimise their fuel wastage.”

Komatsu’s hybrid range

The two hybrids currently available in Australia are the HB215LC-3 and the HB365LC-3 excavator. The 24-tonne HB215LC-3 comes with 110kW/148hp of engine power and nearly 1m3 of bucket capacity, and the larger 38-tonne HB365LC-3 operates with a 201kW/269hp engine power and 1.8m bucket capacity.

Both deliver the same performance as a conventional excavator, but with fuel savings of up to 40 per cent through the innovative Ultra-Capacitor system, and come standard with the Komtrax remote monitoring and location system, backed by Komatsu’s Australia-wide service and support network.

Dean says there is peace of mind in knowing that Komatsu is the one distributor for the entire country.

“No matter which state or territory you are in you are dealing with Komatsu Australia,” he says. “We have around 3000 employees across 55 locations in our region to support our customers.”

A sustainable future

Dean says that while hybrids and electrification are a strong focus, Komatsu’s R&D team is continuously looking at what’s next for the brand and the industry as it works towards a net-zero future.

“Komatsu invests close to $1 billion AUD annually in R&D, and we’re constantly looking at ways to innovate our machinery and services,” Dean says. “As we look past hybrids and electrification, hydrogen fuel and hydrogen fuel cells are on our radar as possible solutions where high demand power is required over long working days. Artificial intelligence, integrated machinery digitally connected into site designs and site management tools, are also no longer a vision of the future. We are working in this realm today.

“Of course, all the great technology and development means nothing if it doesn’t improve safety, productivity, and profitability for our customers. These are some of the core outcomes we strive for in our products and services.”

For more information on Komatsu’s Hybrid machine offering, visit: www.komatsu.com.au/innovation/komatsu-hybrid-excavators


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