Intelligent operation with Komatsu

Komatu’s iMC feature gives operators full control over the D65PXi-18 dozer.
Komatu’s iMC feature gives operators full control over the D65PXi-18 dozer.

Mayday Rental has broken new ground by adding an intelligent Machine Control equipped Komatsu bulldozer to its fleet. Co-founder Bryce Abbott explains.

Machinery hire company, Mayday Rental, has found a niche in Perth’s demanding building market. With more than 200 pieces of plant in its fleet, the company has taken a leading position in the Western Australian construction market by moving to an almost exclusive dry hire service, using latest generation machinery models fitted with intelligent features.

Mayday Rental has worked with Komatsu to develop a fleet of earthmovers equipped with intelligent Machine Control (iMC) to act as driver aids, making dry hire more feasible.

Komatsu’s iMC 2.0 technology delivers productivity, efficiency and cost saving advantages to its latest model “intelligent” dozers and excavators. It helps operators with dozing control, using automated features such as Auto Grade Assist and Auto Tilt Control.

iMC 2.0’s Auto Tilt automatically tilts the bucket to maintain straight travel through rough dozing. This feature reduces user steering input by up to 80 per cent.

The Auto Grade Assist function includes a bucket angle hold feature, which lets the operator select the desired bucket angle, then the system automatically holds this angle through the grading pass.

The intelligent dozers also feature Lift Layer Control and Quick Surface Creation – all facilitated by intelligent data.

Lift Layer Control combines the capabilities of Proactive Dozing Control with the ability to read two surfaces at one time. The system can read the existing surface below the design surface and lay down layers of dirt to reach the design surface – at customisable depths. The consistent layers allow for better compaction.

Using Quick Surface Creation, with the touch of a button the operator can quickly create a surface design and begin stripping or spreading, even if the 3D model hasn’t been uploaded yet.

According to Mayday Rental Co-Founder Bryce Abbott, intelligent machine control has given the business the confidence to add bulldozer models into its hire mix – even models that can be operated by those with little bulldozer experience.

Formed close to 30 years ago by Abbott and his late father Ken, Mayday Rental already had more than 30 new Komatsu motor graders, excavators, and wheel loaders in operation on sites from Busselton to Broome, in Western Australia. 

The opportunity to add bulldozer models for hire became apparent at the end of 2021.

“The market need was there, and we needed to stay true to our goal of going where the work is,” Abbott says.

As a result, Mayday Rental purchased Komatsu’s intelligent D65PXi-18 dozer, a model that is suited for heavy loads in soft or wet conditions.

Mayday Rental’s D65PXi-18 dozer.
Mayday Rental’s D65PXi-18 dozer.

Automated assistance

Mayday Rental worked with Komatsu to understand the security and protection of Komatsu’s integrated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

The GNSS uses satellites to determine the precise location of the machine. This system also allows the D65PXi-18 dozer to understand the terrain around the machine, making sure the blade can be used to an exact grade.

“Semi-automatic machine control makes the D65PXi-18 versatile, so it can be used for heavy dozing and finished grading,” Abbott says. “The GNSS automatically controls blade elevation, lift layer control and tilt from any height.”

All major components for this system are protected within the body of the D65PXi-18 dozer, reducing the risk of damage.

Overcoming skill shortages

Abbott says the construction industry had been challenged by operator skill shortages, opening market opportunities for his company. He says the system has also added an extra layer of flexibility for operators.

“iMC technology enables our customers’ projects to continue smoothly when specialised operators are unavailable,” he says.

“Regardless of experience level, almost any operator can utilise the D65PXi’s interface to get on grade with the least number of passes.”

Komatsu’s onboard GPS reporting and machine health monitoring service, Komtrax, has also enabled Mayday Rental to monitor customer use and to better control machine use and maintenance.

Komtrax allows users to monitor the location, health and performance of every machine. This information can be accessed from the latest smartphones, tablets and computers.

According to Abbott, customer feedback in the first months of operation has been positive. Fully automatic blade control has compensated for operator mistakes by minimising track slip and reducing the potential for over-excavation.

“Our feedback has revealed substantial increases in productivity and precision, along with reduced fuel consumption and cost-per-meter of material moved,” he says.

With more than 90 percent of its entire machinery inventory being used on any given day, Mayday Rental is also looking to add a second iMC-equipped bulldozer, Abbott says.

“Even as operators upskill, the use of iMC has provided us the opportunity to increase the base of our clientele and put us in front of major councils and road contractors,” he says. 

This article was originally published in the June edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

 


 

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