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Construction Equipment for the Future and with a Future

Future Potentials

Kazunori Kuromoto Senior Executive Officer President, ICT Business Division

Kazunori Kuromoto
Senior Executive Officer
ICT Business Division

The Root of ICT Applications to Construction and Mining Equipment

Our ICT applications to construction and mining equipment started with KOMTRAX (Komatsu Machine Tracking System) in the last half period of the 1990s. KOMTRAX collects information from GNSS* and sensors installed in the equipment and enables owners to remotely check on machine locations and operating conditions. We equipped our flagship hydraulic excavators with KOMTRAX as a standard feature in 2001. As of March 2013, the number of KOMTRAX-equipped units topped 300,000 worldwide.

Our applications of KOMTRAX data have been evolving, ranging from machine locations, theft prevention by means of locking the engine and credit management of customers being financed in China to supporting fuel-economy operation by using data concerning operating conditions and fuel consumption as well as sending notices for maintenance and parts replacement according to hours of operation of machines. All these activities have been created and carried out independently by our distributors worldwide.

In addition to KOMTRAX, we have been developing and applying new ICT hardware for our equipment, for example, KOMTRAX Plus for mining equipment, KOMTRAX Parts which we are planning to introduce during the current fiscal year, and Machine Control models which we unveiled at the Bauma trade fair.

We have been evolving ICT applications dynamically, but you can still find a common approach or the same root in all our different systems. Our ICT applications are a system to make "visible" how our machines are being used by customers on their jobsites. Accordingly, it is the purpose of ICT applications that we develop and provide customers with services which are truly valuable for them (solutions) by using "visualized" data.

* GNSS: Global Navigation Satellite System is a general term for navigation systems, which are developed by different countries, e.g., GPS by the United States and GLONASS by Russian Republic.

ICT-intensive Construction Equipment to Transform Construction Jobsites into Manufacturing Plants

By focusing on this root, we have developed D61EXi/PXi Machine Control bulldozers and our PC210LCi pilot Machine Control hydraulic excavator to propose as our DANTOTSU solutions, a higher-level service, and we displayed them at the Bauma trade fair.

Featuring the world’s first fully automatic blade control, D61EXi/PXi models perform high-precision blade control, comparable to veteran operators, from rough dozing to finish grading according to 3D design information. It can also offer a high-precision, real-time survey of landscape upon completion of work by using GNSS.

I believe that we should be able to achieve a high-end civil engineering and construction workflow in the near future, where each and every D61EXi/PXi and PC210LCi model seamlessly performs all needed tasks, from surveying to excavation, finish grading and inspection surveying, and feedback through real-time progress reports and as-built data (after-work landscape information). We are studying a system which will link the daily operational data of D61EXi/PXi bulldozers to KOMTRAX, thereby "visualizing" construction jobsites, as if they were manufacturing factories in order to further improve customers’ operational efficiency.

Especially in North America, post-construction inspection is accepted in the form of GNSS survey data, which had widespread ICT-intensive construction earlier on and made good progress.

What Is The True Value Expected on Jobsites?

We can reasonably believe that not all customers want high-end construction. In some emerging countries, for example, customers want to train machine operators and make more efforts on attendance management of workers. What is expected of us by our customers differs greatly, depending on individual customers’ needs.

As I have mentioned above, the root of our ICT applications goes back to our "visualization" of customers’ jobsites where our machines are used. Accordingly, what we must do calls for facing our customers straight on with obtained data, getting involved in their jobsite work and working to generate ideas together with them and create truly valuable solutions . Therefore, Machine Guidance or Machine Control construction equipment is only one of our attempts.

We at Komatsu define our brand management as focusing on customers, deepening our relationship with them, looking into their vision and working together with them to achieve it. I believe reinforcement of this brand management approach and promotion of ICT applications to products are the paired wheels.

DANTOTSU (Unrivaled) Solutions are not born from ICT but always from customers’ jobsites and continue to grow there. We are committed to promoting ICT applications to our machines from jobsite and customer orientations.

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