Komatsu unveils world’s first intelligent machine control excavator

Komatsu Australia has launched the world’s first intelligent machine control (iMC) excavator, featuring a factory-integrated 3D GNSS machine control and guidance system.

The new PC210LCi-10 excavator, which has a 23.3 tonne operating weight, is powered by a 123 kW Komatsu SAA6D107E-2 diesel engine, which complies with the US EPA’s interim tier four emissions requirements.

Komatsu’s iMC concept is designed to let operators focus on moving material efficiently, without having to worry about digging too deep or damaging the target surface. It can result in a 60 per cent improvement in work efficiency when compared with conventional construction processes.

According to Aaron Marsh, Komatsu’s national technology solution expert manager, the PC210LCi-10 represents the industry’s first move from conventional excavator machine “guidance” systems – which require the operator to dig according to an in-cab indicate system – to actual machine control automation.

“With conventional excavator guidance systems, the final finish quality depends entirely on the skill of the operator,” Marsh said.

“One of the biggest problems customers have had with these systems is speed and accuracy from sensor lag and 100 per cent operator inputs, so operators have had to constantly monitor the system to check they are on design, while also having grade checkers regularly confirming design surface accuracy.

“But with machine automation, Komatsu’s iMC excavator enables operators to achieve optimum speed to final grade accuracy with minimal operator inputs, while eliminating the need for manual grade checking.”

From bulk excavation to finish grading, the PC210LCi-10 excavator has been designed to drastically improve efficiency and precision on work sites, according to Komatsu.

The new excavator’s iMC system, which shares similarities with the company’s recently launched intelligent dozer line, offers real-time bucket edge positioning in relation to the machine and 3D design surface.

Key iMC components, factory installed and fully integrated into the machine, include: built-in stroke sensing hydraulic sensors on the boom, arm and bucket; an enhanced inertia measurement unit (IMU+); a 12.1-inch machine control box inside the cab; and, two GNSS antennas.

“Due to factory integration of our intelligent machine control components the only obvious sign that Komatsu intelligent excavators are different from a standard machine are the antennas and in-cab control box,” Marsh said. “All other components are internal, and highly secure from damage, vandalism and theft.”

As the PC210LCi-10’s bucket edge approaches the target surface profile, the system’s machine control capabilities come into play. These include auto grade assist, auto stop control, and minimum distance control.

In addition to its iMC capabilities, the PC210LCi-10 incorporates several other cost-saving and efficiency-enhancing features.

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