Komatsu upgrades Dash 5 graders for civil contractors

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A contractor-specification Komatsu GD655A-5 grader. A contractor-specification Komatsu GD655A-5 grader.
The Komatsu GD655A-5 grader operated by Tasmania's Shaw Contracting Australia. The Komatsu GD655A-5 grader operated by Tasmania's Shaw Contracting Australia.

Komatsu is aiming to make its Dash 5 ‘Vantage’ grader more attractive to civil contractors by tailoring the machine’s standard specification to that sector and developing plug-and-play machine control system kits.

"We have been partnering with Topcon distributor Position Partners and Trimble distributor Sitech to develop 2D and machine control kits that give simple ‘plug and play’ connectivity to our Dash 5 graders," Komatsu Australia National Business Manager, Government and Construction, Phillip Atley says. "These kits also allow our graders to be easily upgradeable to full 3D machine control systems, giving machine owners a complete final trim and bulk grading solution."

The GD555-5 and GD655-5 graders feature Komatsu’s Komtrax remote monitoring system, which constantly tracks a range of machine parameters, including machine location, which makes it an excellent anti-theft system, Atley says.

"Machine data is uploaded to Komatsu’s and to our customers’ machine management systems," he says. "This is proving to be a tremendous aid in preventive maintenance, as well as helping managers keep a close eye on how their equipment is being operated."

The spec upgrades include a reversing camera and colour in-cab monitor, ergonomic and comfortable air seat and an air conditioning performance tweak.

Optional equipment now includes a ‘grass seed’ kit to restrict grass seed and other debris from entering the engine/cooling compartment, a cabin pressuriser kit for mining and high-dust applications, and an auto lube system.

Komatsu says the Dash 5 Vantage graders have the best cab visibility of any grader on the market, due to a hexangular Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) cab that incorporates a front Y-shape pillar and rear side pillar. In addition, a cast circular saddle linkage provides an unobstructed view of the blade and front tyres, while a tapered engine hood provides good visibility to the rear of the machine, particularly the rear ripper.

Both graders are powered by Komatsu’s Tier 3-compliant SAA6D107E-1 engine, which is also used in a number of other Komatsu machines, including WA250PZ-6 to WA380-6 loaders, PC200-8 to PC270-8 excavators and the D51EX-21 dozer.

A dual transmission system gives operators the choice of direct drive (manual) transmission, as used on conventional graders, or torque converter transmission for improved control at low speeds and in final finishing. Komatsu says a powershift transmission provides on-the-go, full power shifting as well as inching capability and automatic shifting in higher ranges.

"When power for tough grading or low-speed fine control is required, the operator can select the Torque Converter auto (T/C Auto) mode for significantly more tractive effort and control, as well as a new anti-stall function," the company adds.


Case study: Tasmania’s Shaw Contracting takes ‘contractor package’ Komatsu GD655A-5 grader

Tasmanian civil contractor Shaw Contracting Australia has been using a Komatsu GD655A-5 grader with the full package of contractor features and benefits since late January, saying the acquisition was primarily based on operator preference, price and previous experience with Komatsu excavators.

 "We already have two existing graders of another brand," Shaw asset manager Dave Langdon says, "and when we decided we needed another one, we asked our operators to compare the Komatsu grader with our existing machines, plus another brand.

"Our most experienced final trim operator said we couldn’t beat the view from the Komatsu grader’s cab, so that’s what we should go for."

Shaw has primarily been using the GD655A-5 for final trim and pavement work, much of it for a carpark construction project at Launceston Airport.

"I’ve got my two most experienced operators – real old-school operators – on that machine. One of them has been a grader operator for 40 years, and he’s in love with that Komatsu," Langdon says. "It’s doing the work well, and has very good fuel efficiency compared with our other brand of graders."

Another attraction was the plug-and-play kit, Langdon says, as the company runs Topcon systems on its machines and plans to fit a full machine control system on this grader in the future.


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