Queensland's first automatic Komatsu excavator

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

The first Queensland-purchased Komatsu excavator that can intelligently perform traditional manual operator duties has been hired out on a long-term roadworks project by Noosaville-based civil earthmoving and construction company, Weier Group.

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Owner Gareth Weier says his business specialises in wet plant hire, supplying premium earthmoving and roadworks services to customers throughout South East Queensland such as Seymour Whyte, Fulton Hogan, CPB Contractors, Lendlease and large civil contractors such as Shadforths.

After working for eight years as a loader operator in an underground gold mine, Weier continued his passion for machinery by starting his earthmoving business with a single skid steer. He has since built it up using predominantly Komatsu excavators including one hybrid 335LC-1, a PC300LC-8, two PC138US-8, one PC45MR-3 and one PC88MR-8.

Weier says he has always taken a progressive approach to new machine technologies and the Komatsu iMC (intelligent Machine Control) PC210LCi-10 excavator purchase was an extension of that.

"I like to be on the cutting edge of technology in terms of our equipment in order to demonstrate the progressive nature of our business," Weier says.

"That's always been our approach - something new comes out from Komatsu and we check it out to see if it can benefit our business.

"I wanted to see what the intelligent excavator could do. I had a go on it and I found it was really good. I was especially impressed by its operational efficiencies and reduced operator fatigue. We ended up being the first business in Queensland to buy one."

Weier was particularly impressed by the Komatsu iMC excavator's automatic control features, which offer real-time bucket edge positioning in relation to the machine and job surface.

"With a normal machine the operator can see the line he has to dig to, but has to keep stopping to use his bucket to check digging depths and ensure they're on grade," Weir continues.

"With the iMC excavator you take the bucket down to the line, pull one lever and it automatically traces the ground so the operator doesn't have to think and do as much as they would, conventionally, to avoid cutting past the line.

Once the model has been loaded into the iMC machine, the surface level is set and the operator cannot cut past the line they have to dig. Because it can't be over-cut, you avoid having to in-fill with more material than is necessary, which is extremely important when you're trying to save the client money."

Komatsu says the iMC excavator's exclusive automatic control function technology can result in more than a 60 percent improvement in work efficiency when compared with conventional construction processes.

Weier says he appreciates the benefits of iMC excavator's exclusive automatic control function technology for his operators.

"They don't have to concentrate on cutting to a line as much when they know that the machine can take control and come down to the line," Weier says.

"It requires less mental exertion over a day than they would usually expend. It's also a quicker overall result because there are less required actions than in a manual exercise, so they're less fatigued all-round."

Aware that Komatsu's iMC technology is in-built into the excavator, Weier says he wouldn't consider ‘bolt-on’ alternatives.

"The integrated Komatsu technology is not much more expensive. It's basically around the same cost but you're dealing with Komatsu rather than a third party, which is our preference."

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