GM says PMO continues to expand production to meet future global mining demand
QUESTION: There have been a few sparks in
construction, but overall activity remains low.
ANSWER: Mining has been strong for quite a
while now. We are producing more than four or
five times the number of trucks we did just 10
years ago. It’s probably more than many of us
here at Peoria Manufacturing Operations (PMO)
thought was even possible back in 2002. Mining
continues to be very strong globally, so there’s
a great demand for the five Komatsu mining
trucks we manufacture.
QUESTION: How are you meeting demand?
ANSWER: Taking into account several factors,
such as historical trends, current mining and
what we see down the road, we update our
forecast frequently. More recently, our firm-order
backlog is very strong and we are able to see the
future more clearly. We’re basing our production
on what we believe the long-term trends will be.
Again, we expect mining to remain strong, so
we’re being proactive.
Most of our operations are running around the
clock to ensure we meet our production goals
and the demand for our mining trucks, which is
globally very high. Because demand is so high,
we added a second assembly line and further
refined our processes to make them even more
efficient. That’s allowed us to double the number
of trucks produced a day, and we’re working to
further increase that.
QUESTION: Why are Komatsu mining trucks in such demand?
Komatsu trucks have always been
at the top of the class in terms of per-ton costs
because they’re not only efficient, but reliable
and have a long life cycle. A big reason why is
because the trucks are electric-drive as opposed
to mechanical. It’s been proven that our trucks
work longer with less downtime. That makes
a huge difference to a mine that’s running 24
hours a day. Our customers tell us that.
Of course, many other features have been a
direct result of our working with customers and
listening to their needs to incorporate those into
our trucks. Based on their recommendations,
we’ve integrated convenience features, such as
ramp-style staircases to the driver’s cab rather
than a ladder hanging on the side.
QUESTION: Komatsu has built its reputation for mining trucks based on the foundation of
reliability. What does the factory do to ensure each truck reinforces this reputation?
It’s important to recognize that
product quality begins with unrivaled design,
followed by rigorous testing and confirmation.
Only then can manufacturing truly excel at
producing high-quality products and deliver
reliability to our customers. We make countless
quality checks and confirmations every day on
every truck throughout the production process.
This also includes the critical role our suppliers
play in supporting us. It’s not something special
or unique. It’s what we do every day with every
QUESTION: What does the future hold beyond Tier 4?
ANSWER: In some sense, Komatsu is already
there and has been for quite some time. We’ve
been developing, producing and testing
autonomous haul trucks — trucks that run
without a driver — for several years. They are
already being used in active mines. That’s a
huge technological advantage for the customer
because it keeps costs down, and for us
because it puts us at the forefront of the mining
We’ve always been strong in technology,
especially in tracking machine usage, function,
production and maintenance with our
KOMTRAX PLUS system. It allows both us and
the customer to see how a truck is being used
so we can build future machines based off that
information and customer recommendations.
We never stop trying to improve.