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Komatsu: Balanced and intuitive

Komatsu’s D85EXi-18 dozer is well suited for large land clearing and construction works.

Komatsu’s D85EXi-18 dozer, equipped with Intelligent Machine Control, is providing heavy load contractors with a productive and balanced offering. Pat Munro, Komatsu National Business Manager – Construction, discusses its features with Roads & Infrastructure.

According to Komatsu’s Pat Munro, Komatsu National Business Manager – Construction, the stability of the D85EXi-18 dozer is one of the main reasons why the machine is now one of the favoured options for land clearing and waste management tasks.

“One of the biggest comments that I get most of the time for this model is the balance. It offers a smoother ride because it’s not too front or back heavy, which is important if you’re reversing up a hill or pushing material stockpiles,” Munro says.

When it comes to Komatsu’s wider dozer range, the D85EXi-18 sits in the middle, capable of performing heavier works, while also providing the comfort and feel of smaller class machinery.

With 264 horsepower, along with an operating weight of 29,520 kilograms, Munro says the D85EXi-18 dozer is most effective in heavy-duty works, across the construction earthmoving  and waste management industries.

“This machine is well suited for heavy and robust land clearing types of works. A lot of people go to the smaller machines because it’s easier to move from property to property. But when they get to the larger machinery, they tend to the next size up,” he says. 

The D85EXi-18 dozer is supported by Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) which provides a suit of automated features.
The D85EXi-18 dozer is supported by Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) which provides a suit of automated features.

Intelligent control 

The dozer forms part of Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control enabled machinery, providing boosts for productivity and efficiency.

Intelligent Machine Control (iMC) 2.0 is the latest offering from Komatsu for both excavators and dozers. These features aim to provide automation for the operator, to increase the consistency and accuracy of passes.

One example is Proactive Dozing Control, a feature that enables the dozer to automatically cut/strip from the existing terrain. It can measure the terrain as it tracks over, in order to pre-plan its next pass. This feature can increase the machine and operators’ productivity by as much as 60 per cent.

Also included is Tilt Steering Control, which can automatically tilt the blade to maintain linear travel during rough dozing applications. This can help to reduce operator steering input by up to 80 per cent.

Munro says Tilt Steering Control, as well as Lift Layer Control, are both exclusive features of the iMC 2.0.

He adds that these features are both easy to implement into an existing project and have also been designed for older and new operators in mind.

“Once they understand how it works, people are really impressed as the proof is in the pudding,” Munro says.

“Recently, we had a customer day where I spoke to a second-year apprentice and asked if she could help me show people how to operate these machines. She’d never been in a dozer before, so I spent 15 minutes with her, showing her how to operate it and how it worked.

“For the rest of the day she could confidently show operators and even our general managers how to use these machines. So, it’s helping users be extremely good operators quite quickly.”


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Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control features aim to increase the efficiency and accuracy of each pass.
Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control features aim to increase the efficiency and accuracy of each pass.

A winning margin 

The D85EXi-18 dozer supports what’s called bulk and final trim dozing, a feature that can help the operator to achieve more consistent and accurate works.

“When a design is entered into the machine, the operator can set the dozer to a baseline to work to,” Munro says. “The machine can then work automatically to that point.

“This helps to achieve maximum blade capacity during every pass, without spinning and wearing out the undercarriage. It also stops spinning when idle, so you’re not burning diesel and not being productive. It helps the machine and operator to achieve a maximum production per litre of diesel with every pass.”

The automation also extends to the machines transmission, which is complemented by a lockup torque converter.

“In a hard pushing type application, where the machine is digging material or working hard, it’ll disengage the lock up. The torque converter helps to give maximum pushing power,” Munro says.

“Then when the machine is carrying or spreading material when the RPM and travel speed is increased, it will automatically lock up to direct drive to give you maximum fuel efficiency.”

Visibility and safety 

On top of reliability and versatility, the unit has also been designed to maximise the safety for both the operator, as well as ground crews. 

The exterior of the dozer doesn’t include poles, cables or external components, complementing 360° visibility. The rear of the machine also contains a rear-view mounted camera.

“The visibility in the D85EXi-18 is market leading and we’ve integrated ROPS (rollover protective structures) for more than 10 years in these models,” Munro says.

Safety and comfort were also large focuses during the development of the operator platform.

“Operator comfort is of a very high-level focus when it comes to the factory and manufacturing,” Munro says. “They’re also significantly quieter than other machines.”

Komatsu’s D85EXi-18 dozer is available now. 

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

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