Komatsu, A Commitment To Innovation And Technology
As seen in Earthmoving Equipment Magazine.
Komatsu today is recognised as the leading supplier of earthmoving and mining equipment to the construction, quarrying, local government and mining sectors around the world.
Since its establishment in Japan in 1921, Komatsu Ltd has grown and developed to the point where it has operations in every key market in the world, offering a unique line up of equipment all powered by the industry's most innovative technologies and systems.
That commitment to innovation and technology continues today, with the company unveiling some truly groundbreaking concepts and developments over the past few years.
For its first 40 years, Komatsu almost exclusively focused on dozer manufacturer and development, before massively expanding its range and operations in the decades following the war.
Its Australian chapter began in 1965 when LeTourneau Westinghouse began selling a range of Komatsu dozers to a market hungry for high quality, reliable machines.
Fifteen years later by then offering an expanded range of equipment covering dozers, loaders, excavators, dump trucks, graders and scrapers it moved to a national dealer network.
Then in 1993, Komatsu consolidated its Australian distribution network under a single operation as NS Komatsu, enabling it to embark on a program of expanding and growing the range of products, services and support infrastructure that still forms the core of its offerings today.
Eight years later in 2001, the present Komatsu Australia Pty Ltd company structure was set up, and shortly after expanded its operations to include New Zealand and New Caledonia.
Today, Komatsu Australia employs 2300 people 70 per cent of them in technical roles in 52 branches across Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
In April 2017, Komatsu Ltd completed its acquisition of Joy Global, resulting in the creation of Komatsu Mining Corporation, and incorporating a full range of surface and underground mining equipment that fully complements Komatsu's existing mining products and solutions.
In addition to this full range of mining equipment, Komatsu distributes and supports the following equipment types:
Dump trucks, rigid and articulated
And Komatsu doesn't only sell new Komatsu equipment, it also offers industry-leading rental and used equipment options designed to best meet the needs of its customers, and ensuring optimum flexibility in sourcing equipment in packages that best meet each customer's individual needs.
A FOCUS ON INNOVATION
Throughout its history, Komatsu has established a reputation for products that combine innovation and technological advances with recognised levels of reliability, durability and productivity.
Its aim is to ensure the lowest total cost of ownership for customers, taking into account initial purchase price, hourly operating costs and resale values.
Komatsu's technological developments are at the forefront of solutions for the challenges and opportunities facing the construction industry, across such issues as site, machine and operator safety, reduced environmental impacts and skilled operator shortages, through to project time and cost constraints and increasingly sophisticated project management requirements.
Technology and innovation are built into Komatsu's DNA an approach that has accelerated rapidly in the past decade, through such solutions as ICT-based machine management, autonomous mining trucks, fuel-efficient Hybrid excavators or "intelligent" dozers rewriting the rules of site earthworks.
Its most recent innovation has been its SMARTCONSTRUCTION concept, launched in Australia earlier this year, and completely changing the way construction sites are managed and operated.
Here is a brief overview of Komatsu's current industry-leading technologies.
ICT-BASED MACHINE MANAGEMENT
Information Communications Technology (ICT) is changing the way Komatsu interacts with its customers, harnessing the power of its KOMTRAX/KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring systems, along with other analytical and communications tools, to help increase machine safety, productivity, uptime and availability and reduce customers' costs per tonne and per hour.
Within Komatsu Australia's Fairfield, Sydney headquarters, its INSITE Fleet Management Centre pulls in data from a wide range of sources, including its various telemetry, machine health and service monitoring systems, and presents them in one place.
That data, combined with Komatsu's analytical and predictive capabilities based on millions of machine hour data, allows it to work with customers to help ensure machines are working at their optimal best.
An important element of this is its KOMTRAX remote monitoring system which earlier in 2017 was rolled out to the 10,000th Komatsu machine in Australia.
And not only does KOMTRAX provide constant monitoring of every machine, it's also an important weapon in the fight against machine theft, enabling the location of stolen machines to be tracked and the machine recovered.
Komatsu leads the industry in development of Hybrid excavators, with 20 tonne and 35 tonne class machines delivering fuel savings of up to 40 per cent compared with conventional Komatsu excavators while maintaining the reliability and production standards, which owners had come to expect from Komatsu.
The heart of the Komatsu Hybrid system an "Ultra-Capacitor" linked to the swing circuit has shown itself to be safe and reliable across millions of hours of operations around the world.
Komatsu offers a range of "intelligent" machine control dozers and excavators working in the global construction industry.
Its "intelligent" dozers feature the world's first fully automatic blade control system, allowing them to carry out both bulk and final trim dozing from start to finish with final grade performance.
More recently, its "intelligent" excavator range has brought true machine control and automation to excavators for the first time, bringing significant advances in ease of operation and precision.
This allows these machines to significantly increase productivity and efficiency across all operator skill levels, while reducing the cost of each metre of material moved.
Earlier this year, Komatsu Australia launched its SMARTCONSTRUCTION concept in Australia and New Zealand a significant step forward in construction industry technology offering integrated product, service and support solutions across all phases of a project. SMARTCONSTRUCTION allows Komatsu to integrate a host of game-changing technologies for the benefit of its customers, and allowing the company to provide an end-to-end solution for customers across construction, quarrying and mining.
It covers critical steps in a project's development, from initial site survey and design, through to machine control management, machine interconnectivity and review of project progress during the construction phase, and finally development of detailed as-built information for future construction and infrastructure maintenance.
AUTONOMOUS MINING TRUCKS
Komatsu's research and development into autonomous (driverless) mining trucks goes back to the late 1980s, and has kept it at the forefront of this technology.
Now proven technology, a massive fleet of FrontRunner 930E autonomous trucks is hauling iron ore and overburden for Rio Tinto's mining operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
Controlled from a central facility in Perth, several hundred kilometres from the mine sites, these trucks have moved millions of tonnes of material, while delivering higher levels of availability and reliability than conventional manned trucks.
THE IMPORTANCE OF KOMATSU'S PEOPLE
Although Komatsu owes a great deal of its success to its focus on innovation and technology, it has always recognised that an important element of its success in Australia over the past 50 years has been the passion and commitment its people whether through the dealer networks of the 1960s, '70s and '80s, or the single-company structure since 1993 have brought to servicing and supporting customers.
In recent years, Komatsu Australia has worked hard to better harness that employee passion and commitment through a number of industry-leading programs aimed at ensuring the best-possible outcomes for Komatsu customers.
Today, Komatsu Australia prides itself on delivering support to its customers that puts their business first.
It achieves this by recognising that its employees are the heart of its business, and each one of them is expected to reflect the company's core values of respect, proficiency, reliability and transparency.
Its latest program, "People Powered Technology", was launched during 2016, and builds on Komatsu Australia's track record of empowering and engaging its employees to see every customer contact as an opportunity in helping achieving the company's goals and displaying its values.
This program is based around the philosophy that, by being an integral partner in each customer's business, Komatsu earns their trust and in turn builds long-term relationships, rather than relying on "quick fixes".
Over the next five to 10 years a period that will include celebrations of the company's centenary in 2021 Komatsu will continue to deliver innovative technological solutions that ensure customers will reap the benefits of lower overall operating costs, lower costs per hour or per metre of material moved, and the industry's highest levels of project management and project delivery.
The company will also continue rolling out innovative service and support packages that will maximise machine uptime, productivity and performance, backed by a nationwide team of people driven by their customers' success.
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