Built from the blade up

The GD955-7 grader from Komatsu is set to take the Australian mining industry by storm.

When Komatsu debuted its GD955-7 grader in Mackay in October, it made a strong first impression on the Australian mining industry.

To keep this momentum going, the GD955-7 recently travelled around the country on a road trip to local miners.

“We currently have two GD955-7 graders in the country – one in New South Wales and the other in Western Australia,” Komatsu Australia national product manager Michael Hall told Australian Mining.

“We’re now finalising the mining specs for the machines. We expect to have them ready to deliver to customers here in Australia in mid-December to early next year.”

The GD955-7 grader made its Australian debut in Mackay, Queensland.

Like all Komatsu machinery and equipment, the GD955-7 was built with customer experience at the forefront.

“We spoke with our customers, listened to their needs and built a machine that will meet those needs now and into the future,” Hall said.

“The main feedback we received was that they required a higher effective blade downforce. If you don’t have sufficient blade downforce, the blade bounces along haul roads, particularly when you’ve got large trucks, fully loaded, compacting the road surfaces – the grader needs that extra machine weight and hydraulic force.

“Based on this feedback, the Komatsu GD955-7 grader was built from the blade up, maximising and optimising the blade downforce. Once you cut the surface of the road, you need the engine power to be able to carry through and continue to cut the road.”

Weighing at nearly 47 tonnes and built with 426 horsepower, the GD955-7 was specifically built for mining fleets – with productivity, safety and efficiency in mind.

It’s 33 per cent more productive than the previous Komatsu mining grader model due to the combination of its substantial horsepower, its higher blade downforce, and faster grading speed.

(L-R) Komatsu Australia national product manager Michael Hall and Komatsu Australia national training manager for operator training Robert Missingham.

“It also features a middle speed mode with intermediate gear speeds of F2.5 and F3.5, providing the operator with more control over the grading speed, which is determined by the application and the type of material being graded,” Hall said.

In a nod to Komatsu’s stringent safety requirements, the GD955-7 comes standard with KomVision – Komatsu’s 360° five-camera system – which provides a bird’s-eye view around the machine by using the inbuilt monitor. It’s accompanied by an additional rear-view monitor and radar for reversing and ripping.

While the GD955-7 is operating, the KomVision radar will detect close objects and vehicles and will notify the operator through an alarm to prevent safety incidents.

Another way safety is upheld is through the GD955-7’s two transmission modes: auto and manual.

“You can run the machine as normal in manual mode, which works like a conventional power shift, or you can run the machine in auto mode, which has a lockup torque converter transmission,” Komatsu Australia national training manager for operator training Robert Missingham told Australian Mining.

“In auto mode, the torque converter will be engaged in the first two gears to assist the operator, preventing engine stalling and improving productivity.”

Best suited for haul trucks that hold capacity between 90–240 tonnes, the GD955-7 grader also has great fingertip control and a palm steer option, with the fingertip control levers next to the operator seat.

The GD955-7 grader was built by Komatsu with productivity, safety and efficiency in mind.

“By incorporating short lever throws, the operator can use multiple controls with one hand, making it user-friendly. People may be operating these graders for up to 12 hours, so comfort was an important factor in the machine’s design,” Missingham said.

Operators have told Komatsu that the GD955-7 grader provides great visibility to its accompanying blade of 5.5m.

The blade can also be increased to 6.1m, further improving efficiency and productivity.

On top of that, the GD955-7 will also reduce downtime and associated maintenance costs for an operation through its bearing type circle feature.

“Most graders have slippers, which require a bit of adjustment,” Hall said.

“With the bearing type circle, there’s no ‘circle play adjustment’ required, it’s lubricated from the auto-lube system.

“Because of this, we expect a long service life from the bearing.”

Through its many benefits, it’s clear why Komatsu’s GD955-7 grader is set to become a mining favourite.

This feature appeared in the December 2023 issue of Australian Mining.

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