QUESTION: During the past few years,
several new machines have been introduced,
and many more are coming soon. Where does
the manufacturing of these machines begin?
ANSWER: It starts with ideas from our
engineering teams as well as input from our
customers. Building a new model begins with
a goal in mind to improve upon the previous
base machine’s already-proven performance
and incorporate enhancements customers tell
us they believe would make our equipment
better. From that, we build a prototype and
test it extensively, looking for further ways to
provide more efficiency and productivity. By
doing that, we ensure that when a machine
goes into production, it will certainly meet and,
we hope, exceed customer expectations.
As an example, our customers told us they
would like machines that are plug-and-play
ready to accept GPS machine-control systems.
We have several models equipped with that
as standard. We’re now taking it a step further
with our new intelligent Machine Control D61i-23
dozers, which feature integrated 3D control and
a cab-top antenna that eliminates the masts on
the blade and cables to the cab. Our thorough
testing shows significant improvement
in efficiency and productivity, even from
operators with little or no experience.
QUESTION: It seems technology like this
continues to play a greater role in machinery.
Why is that?
ANSWER: It is, and we recently put together
a new ICT (Intelligent Control Technology)
Division designed to promote and help
customers implement these types of technology
into their fleets and practices because it’s
proven to improve productivity and reduce
owning and operating costs.
Komatsu continues to be very proactive
when it comes to technology, and we’re seeing
benefits both for customers and for us as a
manufacturer. KOMTRAX plays a major role,
and we’ve continued to expand upon it from
the perspective of customers, again, with their
input. Now customers can use that information
to track production, such as idle time and work
QUESTION: How else is Komatsu working for
greater efficiency in the manufacturing process?
ANSWER: We’ve increasingly engineered
genuine Komatsu OEM components and
systems into our equipment. These systems
work in harmony and increase efficiency.
Even with that approach, we still partner with
outside suppliers for a variety of items, and
this is a good thing because they also bring us
new ideas that lead to improvement. Our goal
is to use the highest-quality local and regional
suppliers as this reduces environmental impact
and costs associated with transportation.
QUESTION: Where is Komatsu in terms of
meeting Tier 4 Final emissions standards?
ANSWER: Our approach with each emission
standard was not only to meet it, but design
and manufacture machines that improve
upon previous models. Because we’re a strong
engineering company, Komatsu has done that
and our data proves it.
Initial Tier 4 Final machines begin rolling
out this year with smaller engine-horsepower
models, and larger machines are coming in
subsequent years. As with past standards,
we’re on track to meet or exceed the deadlines
of Tier 4 Final.