Komatsu's industry-leading Hybrid excavator, the Hybrid PC200-8 (outlined in detail in the 48 and 52 editions of Down to Earth) is due to be launched in Australia shortly.This new concept excavator has notched up successes in key markets in the world.
Considerable success has already been achieved in Japan and China countries where fuel cost is relatively high, and fuel savings of up to 40% mean a much shorter payback period and in late 2009 Komatsu began test-marketing hybrids in the selected regions in North America.
In April this year, it attracted plenty of interest from European customers at Bauma, the huge construction exhibition in Munich, Germany.
As a leading construction and mining equipment manufacturer, one of Komatsu's goals is to address growing global environmental issues by developing innovative products designed to reduce environmental impact.
Launched in 2008 in Japan as the world's first Hybrid earthmoving machine, it is now being used in all 47 prefectures. Komatsu's Hybrid PC200-8 hydraulic excavator has since become available in China and North America.
The excavator significantly achieves reductions in both CO2 emissions and fuel consumption and has received high praise from customers in these regions.
Some Hybrid PC200's have clocked up more than 10,000 hours, including sites requiring round-the-clock operation. Across the board, these sites have seen fuel cost reductions of more than 40%.
One successful customer in Japan has been Fuji Corporation, which operates a landfill and recycling facility for industrial waste in the middle of agricultural land near Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture.
Fuji Corporation, has been gaining attention not only in Nagano Prefecture but also nationwide for its environmentally conscious waste disposal methods.
"It didn't take us long to decide to purchase the Hybrid PC200," said Tokichiro Yamaguchi, Fuji Corporation's founder and chairman.
"It seems only natural for us to use environmentally friendly construction equipment, plus we also have an obligation to do so as a waste disposal company.
"Fuel costs have been drastically reduced following the introduction of the hybrid machine. But more importantly, it has enabled us to significantly lower our CO2 emissions," he said.
Following the successful introduction of the Hybrid in Japan and China, in late 2009, Komatsu began test marketing the Hybrid PC200LC-8
in North America.
One of the key objectives to test market in North America was to determine how well the machine would be accepted in a region where fuel cost is lower than in Japan or China.
States and cities with stricter emission regulations were chosen to test market the Hybrid.
The units have been put to work in several US states, some used by a number of different customers.
Hybrid hydraulic excavators have so far been tested in Illinois, Ohio, New York, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri, Wisconsin and California, as well as Quebec and British Columbia in Canada.
So far, the Komatsu Hybrid excavator and its energy storage capacitor system have been well received by customers and key industry groups.
At a recent function to introduce the Hybrid concept, Michael A. Allegretti, director of Government Relations, North America, with The Climate Group, said "I would like to commend Komatsu on the launch of this impressive machine. "By demonstrating true corporate leadership, Komatsu has shown what's good for the bottom line can also be good for the planet."
Komatsu America Corp. has an ongoing program to collect responses to the Hybrid PC200LC-8.
This feedback covers not only fuel savings and CO2 reduction but also the machine's productivity and performance.