Hybrid technology mechanism for change

Komatsu has introduced what it describes as a ?ground-breaking? hybrid excavator for sale locally in the second quarter of 2011.

According to Komatsu Australia president Bill Pike, the company?s ability to deliver technology-laden earthmoving equipment with a successful blend of tangible environmental benefits and commercial viability is second to none.

?Komatsu sees technology as a mechanism for change,? he said. ?Modern equipment must be more fuel efficient and produce fewer emissions, while delivering increased productivity for operators.

?Technology drives the development of the modern world. We build things bigger, faster and more cost-effectively than ever before. But in doing so, we must also reduce our environmental footprint,? he said.

Komatsu set a new standard for the industry in June 2008 when it launched the world?s first commercially available hybrid earthmoving machine in the Japanese market. Quieter, cleaner running and more fuel efficient, the Hybrid excavator range has met with considerable success globally, particularly in China and the United States.

One of the challenges Komatsu engineers faced with the development of their Hybrid system was the need to rapidly capture, store and redirect kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost during machine operation. The HB205 Hybrid excavator?s unique ultra-capacitor kinetic energy recovery system is the culmination of over a decade?s research by the company.

Achieving their objective, the ultra-capacitor system significantly reduces harmful CO2 emissions and total fuel consumption.

The Hybrid excavator is another example of Komatsu?s focus on technology, which has seen it introduce KOMTRAX monitoring to the Australian market in recent years.

?Our environmental commitment isn?t limited to the machines we sell, but includes every aspect of how we operate,? Bill Pike said.

?We believe that the provision of funding for future government initiatives will be contingent on prospective contractors? ability to demonstrate environmental responsibility, without significant impact on the economic feasibility of the project.

?Komatsu Hybrid technology meets this need, and will now be available to Australian customers.?

?With future investment in every State and Territory, and continuing technological innovation, Komatsu?s outlook for its Australian operations is very positive.?

At the heart of the HB205 excavator is a ground-breaking diesel-electric drive system.

Komatsu?s proprietary Hybrid system convertsthe energy generated when the upperstructureof an excavator slows while slewing into electricity, storing that energy in a capacitor and reusing it to accelerate the upperstructure in the subsequent slew motion. The storedenergy is also used to boost engine accelerationto power the hydraulic system. While standardequipment uses a hydraulic motor to turn the upperstructure, Komatsu has developed an electric motor for its Hybrid system.

The electric motor then supplements the power delivered to the excavator?s hydraulics by the diesel engine, reducing the engine?s power consumption. It also allows the use of a smaller engine, from a six-cylinder Komatsu diesel rated at 110kW in a conventional PC200-8 down to a four-cylinder Komatsu diesel rated at 103kW in the Hybrid version to achieve performance equivalent to a conventional PC200-8 machine.

Compared to an equivalent diesel-only excavator, global HB205 Hybrid operators have seen CO2 emissions reduced by 10kg per hour of operation, with fuel consumption reduced by as much as 41 per cent.

The Hybrid excavator and its energy storage capacitor system have been well received by customers and key industry groups. Some PC200-8 Hybrids have clocked up over 10,000hours, including sites requiring 24-hour operation. Across the board, these sites have reduced fuel costs by over 40 per cent.

Source: Komatsu Australia/Spitfire Communications

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