Komatsu takes on hard rock market with loader launch

Komatsu Australia has launched a suite of four underground loaders, a major commitment to Australia’s hard rock mining industry as demand for precious minerals increases.

It is the first time Komatsu Australia has entered the hard rock market with a concerted mining solution, believed to be the most dedicated program of its type in the local sector.   

“Providing hard rock miners with reliable underground loaders is part of a broader understanding of the need to assist their overall productivity in the face of global competition,” Komatsu Australia product manager mining Joshua Foale said. 

World automakers are seeking reliable access to sophisticated metals for their move to vehicle electrification, and Australia is at the forefront of supply. 

Two high technology hybrid drive underground loaders, uniquely equipped with durable independent electric motors in each wheel, headline a substantial investment by Komatsu to provide a complete service solution to miners and contractors. 

The Komatsu WX22H and WX18H load haul dump loaders each claim the lowest total operating costs in their class. 

Improved work cycle performance is achieved by the use of high-efficiency electric traction motors in each wheel, making conventional mechanical power drive redundant, and resulting in substantial reductions in operating costs. 

Komatsu has also designed the seven-tonne WX07 and four-tonne WX04 narrow vein hard rock loaders, for maximum productivity.  

The WX07 is the forerunner of a new breed of load haul dump loaders utilising improved chassis, power train, operator cabin environment, and large capacity fuel tanks allowing for longer operational cycles between refuelling. 

Critical service points on the rock loaders have been placed at ground level to minimise the need for technicians to climb or use ladders to reach key areas, increasing worker safety. 

More than 70 established Australian hard rock mines are likely to be joined by others as demand grows, increasing the need to achieve cost efficiencies as competitive pressures mount. 

“In developing our machines, we have been specific in providing protection for critical structural components, linkages and joints,” Foale said. “Reliability has been a paramount consideration in the design of long-life moving parts.” 

The infrastructure to support the underground loaders comes after several years of research and occurs during its centenary year of service to the mining and construction industries. 

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