Mining industry set to see new opportunities from One Komatsu’s formation
General Manager Mining Technology &
With the formation of OneKomatsu, resulting from the integration of the Komatsu and Joy Global operations, we have opened up new opportunities for both sides of the business.
The combined businesses are remarkably complementary, with only a couple of products overlapping, so there is enormous potential to combine the technology innovations developed by both organisations
For everyone at OneKomatsu, our main business drivers are mining technology and continuous improvement.
Safety is a key element of this, removing employees from high-risk environment, and moving towards what we call the “Maintainer of the Future”, based around autonomous and semi-autonomous equipment across both surface and underground operations.
In fact, for the mining industry in Australia, the next boom is here right now – but it’s a technology boom as well as an equipment boom.
The technology driver is increased machine utilisation, production rates and reliability.
It’s also allowing a significant step forward, moving away from incorporating equipment redundancy in a fleet purchase, and towards increased asset performance.
That translates from the conventional approach a mine needing a fleet of 10 trucks, would buy 12 machines, keeping two in reserve.
The new approach is to purchase nine machines for what was previously a 10-machine fleet requirement, and drive far more out of each unit through the application of this new technology.
One area where the technology innovations from Joy Global offer enormous potential for traditional Komatsu mining customers is in the field of analytics.
Komatsu has a very strong offering with its KOMTRAX/KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring systems – and now through the Joy acquisition has gained access to its Smart Solutions technology.
This offers highly advanced analytics, including trends analysis, so we are getting data off our machines within seconds, rather than every few hours.
Then, by using big data, we can apply trends knowledge to that data, so that – rather than getting alarms and alerts – we are getting predictive information, ensuring we know about a failure or machine issue well in advance of it happening.
We’ve been working on this for the past five or six years, so we are well advanced here in Australia – making OneKomatsu one of the most innovative companies in the industry with this technology.
In surface mining, OneKomatsu’s P&Hloading tools also offer tremendous potential for building our business through highly complementary products – and further benefiting our customers.
From the Joy Global side, our focus in surface mining has always been on the loading tools – draglines, rope shovels and large wheel loaders – rather than the haulage side.
Having a truck leave a loading pad with a 400 tonne load and delivering it to a stockpile is a relatively simple task.
But how that 400 tonnes gets on that truck – that’s where the biggest efficiencies can come from. This allows us to better manage our customers lowest cost per tonne business drivers.
We are well advanced with maximising the efficiencies of the loading tools from the Joy Global side; now we can focus on getting the Komatsu loading tools – such as the WA1200 loader and hydraulic excavators – to the same point we’ve achieved with electric shovels, rope shovels, draglines and electric wheel loaders.
For OneKomatsu, the important thing to recognise is that the next boom is indeed here; it’s not about buying large fleets of equipment at all costs, it’s about using the advanced technologies available to our customers that allow them to get the best from their equipment, in the safest possible way.