Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Feb 2009

CONSTRUCTION: The New 'Green' Excavator


Recent Western Cape Business News

KOMATSU has announced the release of the world’s first hybrid (electro-hydraulic) excavator, which went on sale in Japan in June last year, delivering fuel savings of between 25% and 40%.

It will start being made available elsewhere around the world as from the second quarter this year, including South Africa.

The 20 t PC200-8 Hybrid is powered by Komatsu’s Hybrid System, based around a newly developed electric motor to turn the upper- structure, a power-generation motor, a capacitor and a low-speed diesel engine.

The PC200-8 Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid excavator, typically achieves a 25% reduction in fuel consumption compared with a standard PC200-8 hydraulic excavator, but in applications where the machine is primarily involved in digging and slewing operations, rather than travelling, fuel reductions of up to 40% have been recorded. Komatsu’s proprietary Hybrid System converts energy generated when the upper-structure reduces speed while slewing, storing the energy in the capacitor, then using it to assist the engine via the power-generation motor when the engine accelerates.

All components of the Hybrid System – with the exception of the capacitor cells – are designed and manufactured in-house by Komatsu, ensuring high reliability and durability.

The main distinguishing features of the hybrid machine compared with conventional excavators are:

• An electric motor to turn the upper-structure – instead of a hydraulic motor – and which also stores energy generated when the slewing action is braked, with the regenerated energy used to augment engine power, allowing the engine to be used at lower speeds with higher-efficiency combustion.

• Capacitors that can instantaneously and efficiently collect, store and discharge electrical power from the regenerated energy, assisting the diesel engine in accommodating an excavator’s need for dynamic and frequent bursts of power when doing excavation work.

• When the engine is at idle, it is run at super-low speeds, thereby further contributing to lower fuel consumption.

In Japan the new PC200-8 Hybrid is selling at about a 20% premium compared with a conventional machine.

Nigel Sinclair, Komatsu Southern Africa’s general manager, marketing services, says Komatsu’s introduction of the world’s first commercially available hybrid excavator is the latest example of Komatsu’s well-established status as a technological leader in its field.

“Komatsu has led the industry for many years in the development of innovative, fuel-efficient hydraulic systems, engines and electronic control systems”.

“In the development of this new-concept machine, Komatsu has continued to apply its philosophy of designing and manufacturing the major components in-house, thereby ensuring full integration of all aspects of the machine to achieve maximum reliability and performance.”

“In this hybrid excavator it also demonstrates it commitment to its major aims of both reducing customers’ machine owning-and-operating costs wherever it is able to do so, as well as contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide,” Sinclair says.

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