Komatsu America Corp. today introduced the D61EXi/PXi-23, Komatsu’s first intelligent Machine Control model to the North American market. Thanks to its first fully automatic blade control, the D61i-23 dozer can perform not only finish grading, which has been possible with conventional Machine Control, but also rough dozing. As a result, it achieves outstanding improvement in productivity. This is the first machine using this new innovative technology, and it is scalable to other products manufactured by Komatsu.
“We are excited to bring to market the next generation of machine control technology with Komatsu’s “intelligent Machine Control D61i-23,” says Peter Robson, director of Intelligent Machine Controls. “The ease with which the D61i-23 transitions from rough dozing to finish grading with automatic blade control engaged is so seamless that both experienced and inexperienced operators will notice benefits. The efficiency improvement, greater value and simplicity of operation of the D61i-23 exemplify the leading innovations that customers have come to expect from Komatsu.”
Longer track-on ground standard (EX) and low ground pressure (PX) models are available to offer customers flotation and weight distribution options that best match their applications. Operating weights range from 39,441 lbs. to 41,381 lbs. depending on the configuration with a net 168 hp at 2,200 rpm.
The D61i-23 also features the integration of Komatsu's proprietary KOMTRAX (Komatsu Machine Tracking System) and Topcon's construction management system. In the near future, this integrated system will enable high-efficiency, unified management of construction work through access to real-time machine data, via its web service, to track work progress including the amount of soil dozed at jobsites.
Fully Automatic Blade Control For Rough And Fine Dozing
While crawler dozers have been able to perform high-precision finish grading after installing an add-on machine control system, the D61i-23 can perform rough dozing as well as finish grading in automatic mode, thanks to its fully automatic blade control. When rough dozing, the automatic blade control monitors blade load and adjusts blade elevation to minimize track slip and perform high-efficiency dozing. As work progresses closer to the target finish grade, the automatic blade control adjusts accordingly to provide finish grade performance with high-level precision. Improvement in combination rough dozing efficiency is up to 13% higher compared to add-on machine control systems.
“The innovation is not only that Komatsu can provide the customer with fully automatic blade control for automatic rough dozing and efficiency improvement,” states Robson, ”but also that Komatsu is able to offer this technology while maintaining finish grade performance in the D61 dozer size class which is one of the most popular size class dozers for machine control usage.”
Standard Factory Installed Integrated Machine Control System
With the D61EXi/PXi-23, typical add-on machine control system components mounted on the blade have been replaced with factory installed cab top GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) antenna, enhanced inertial measuring unit (IMU+), and stroke sensing hydraulic cylinders. These components along with the machine control monitor and controllers mounted inside of the cab are installed at the Komatsu manufacturing facility during machine assembly, ensuring a quality installation with reliability.
“The integrated sensor package is not only robust and accurate but also eliminates the daily hassles of installing/removing GNSS antenna(s) and cable(s) from the blade, plus the wear associated with it,” explains Robson. “The famed quality and customer support our customers have come to rely on with Komatsu machines is now extended to the machine control system itself in the case of the D61i-23.”
Enhancements For Optimized Performance
Inside the cab, customer selectable dozing modes allow system response to be tailored to the current machine operation for optimized performance. Similarly, blade load settings are adjustable between pre-sets to match actual material conditions. Pass to pass, the intelligent Machine Control system can be left with the automatic blade control engaged because of its ability to precisely automate the lowering of the blade at the start of a pass and raise it at the end of a pass.
When the machine travels around the job site, the cab top GNSS antenna collects accurate surface data by measuring actual elevations. The stroke sensing angle cylinder measures the actual angle of the blade for high precision grading accuracy on cross-slope, blade angled or not.
Robson concludes, “The included value of all the added intelligence features on top of innovation and integration really drives up the value proposition, for both existing machine control users and new machine control users.”
The D61i-23 crawler dozer is equipped with the latest KOMTRAX technology, which is fully integrated with Komatsu’s Tier 4 technology and sends machine operating information to a secure website utilizing wireless technology. Hour meter, location, cautions, load ratio, fuel consumption and maintenance alerts – to name a few of its features – are relayed to the web application for analysis. The KOMTRAX fleet monitoring system increases machine availability, reduces the risk of machine theft (compared to machines not KOMTRAX-equipped), allows for remote diagnosis by the distributor, and provides a wealth of other information to drive business efficiency and productivity.