Early start

25 April 2008

New excavator ranges abound at the moment, with January seeing US Tier 3 and European Stage IIIA emissions laws come into force for 130 to 560 kW units. It is interesting then that Komatsu's new Tier 3/Stage IIIA engined excavator line-up is being lead by the PC210-8, a 21.4 to 22.9 tonne machine with a 110 kW diesel, which is now available alongside the 24.6 to 26.2 tonne PC240-8 and 29.2 to 30.2 tonne PC290-8.

This is by far the most popular weight class of excavator around the world, and has long been Komatsu's best selling machine. Historically the company has always launched its 20-tonne excavators first when a new range has come out, and this is the case with the new Dash-8 line, despite the fact new emissions laws for the 75 to 130 kW powerband don't come into force until the start of 2007.

Fuel savings

But the Komatsu thinks it is worth launching the model early, partly for these historical reasons, but also because it says the dash-8 is +10% more fuel efficient than its dash-7 predecessor. According to the company, this translates to a saving of about € 2000 (US$ 2400) per 1000 hours of operation, which it thinks will be a strong selling point.

Key to the fuel efficiency of the new excavator is Komatsu's ECOT3 engine, designed in partnership with Cummins. This uses high pressure common rail fuel injection and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to achieve emissions compliance.

A silenced exhaust system also helps to achieve lower noise emissions, and the company says the sound level in the cab is just 69 dB(A) – about the same noise the driver of a passenger car experiences when driving along a motorway.

In the cab an adjustable air suspension seat, joystick, lever and pedal controls, and a new 7 inch (180 mm) thin-film transistor (TFT) monitor are the main focal points for the operator. As well as providing information, allowing the operator to select work modes and adjust various parameters, the monitor is video capable, providing views from as many as three optional cameras. These would normally be on the rear and right of the counterweight and at the end of a long-reach boom.

There is a choice of five basic work modes on the PC210-8 – power, economy, lifting, breaker and attachment. Within the breaker mode, there are two adjustable presets, while the attachment mode, for other types of work tool, offers three individual presets where again oil flows can be changed and saved.

The PC210-8 comes with Komatsu's Komtrax GPS tracking and condition monitoring system as standard. This provides the machine's owner with location and condition information. Combined with the PC210-8's immobiliser his has obvious advantages for preventing theft, but there are also asset management aspects to the system. It will record what attachments are being used and for how long, it will e-mail the owner in the case of service alerts and emergencies, and can also be used for the owner to send the operator messages.       

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