|Q&A with Ashraf Hashish, senior general manager for marketing at Komatsu Middle East
What technologies is Komatsu realising within the construction sector?
To date, Komatsu has introduced numerous innovations to the emerging smart construction landscape, including a raft of technologies under its in-house SmartConstruction project – a comprehensive suite of information communication technology (ICT) solutions for the sector that includes site-mapping software, the Komtrax machine monitoring system, intelligent machine control systems and autonomous haulage systems (AHS) for the mining segment.
The Komtrax provides detailed data and analytics about fleet equipment, and is currently equipped on more than 8,500 Komatsu units across the Middle East. It facilitates peak machine performance by prompting preventive maintenance, ultimately helping operations run more efficiently and save costs.
What regional partnerships has Komatsu formed to deliver smart technology?
Komatsu Middle East and Topcon Positioning Group have partnered to introduce machine control solutions that will enable our customers to increase productivity and decrease operating costs, even with new or low-skilled operators.
In December 2018, Komatsu Middle East and Topcon organised a technology day to showcase their joint technologies for construction site management that was attended by more than 180 visitors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey.
Over the day, Komatsu held live demonstrations of simulated earthmoving processes with a D155A-6R bulldozer, GD755-5R motor grader and PC220-8M0 hydraulic excavator all equipped with Topcon’s latest machine control systems.
What is the scope of Komatsu’s involvement in autonomous haulage systems?
In early 2018, Komatsu celebrated 10 years of commercial deployment of AHS. Today, there are more than 100 of our autonomous trucks operating in Australia, and North and South America. As of the end of 2017, our AHS trucks had safely, efficiently and economically hauled 1.5 billion tonnes of materials.
Our AHS technology has delivered proven benefits in safety, productivity, environmental resistance and system flexibility in an array of mining environments. In particular, AHS trucks are significantly safer than conventional mining operations.
Komatsu has also successfully retrofitted AHS technology on existing conventionally operated trucks, and is now committed to accelerating the deployment of automation to mining sites across the world.
What further developments lie in Komatsu’s future in the spheres of telematics and machine control?
Komatsu will launch next-generation products that will achieve further automation and unmanned operation, designed to substantially improve safety, environmental performance and productivity of customers’ job-site operations. We will also supply parts and provide services by using Komtrax.
Komatsu provides customers with solutions such as SmartConstruction and AHS to help them solve lean management problems, which in Japan is tied into the Gemba Kaizen concept of continuous improvement and waste reduction.
It is Komatsu’s aim to connect the information of everyone in the construction equipment vertical (suppliers, producers, distributors and customers) through Internet of Things technology in order to improve safety and productivity.