The tracked machine that knows when to stop digging

Japanese machinery giant, Komatsu, has developed a new hydraulic excavator with ‘Intelligent Machinery Control‘. While tracked excavators don’t normally catch AgriLand’s eye, this machine’s digging protection system might appeal to farmers and plant contractors alike.

The new PC210LCi‐11 includes a control function that allows the operator to work without fear of digging too deep, thanks to its novel technology.

While Komatsu has previously released an excavator with “intelligent technology” – the PC210LCi-10 – this feature is now a “proven concept“. Komatsu claims its latest model can “dramatically improve efficiency, precision and safety on a work site”.

Movement of the bucket is automatically limited to ensure that it does not dig further than needed, while the control function automatically maintains the grade – with “real‐time” bucket edge positioning.

Machine status is shown on the 12.1in control monitor inside the cab. The control system also contains stroke-sensing hydraulic cylinders for the boom, arm and bucket, designed by Komatsu – for “accurate real-time positioning”.

The inertial measuring unit reports on machine orientation and calculates vehicle angle – from gyro and accelerometer data. Real-time information on the position of the excavator is provided through a GNSS receiver – on the machine.

Machine capacity is limited by a maximum 1.68m³ bucket size. The excavator has an operating weight of between 22.12 and 22.58t.

Powered by a Stage IV Komatsu SAA6D107E-3 6-cylinder engine, it can churn out 165hp at 2,000rpm.

To complement the “intelligent” package, Komatsu has also developed an ‘auto tilt bucket’ which, according to the company, “allows you to change the bucket angle in real time – to match the ground conditions.

In any case, this technology should help to stop Irish operators from unnecessarily rooting up buried pipes or, worse again, electrical cables.