Komatsu’s new Intelligent Machine
Control (iMC) technology provides a solution to one of the major challenges
facing the construction industry: the lack of skilled operators at a time when
clients are demanding ever-higher levels of precision combined with increased
Currently available across dozer
and excavator models, iMC has already shown its ability to deliver significant
improvements in efficiency and productivity for Australian contractors compared
with conventional construction processes.
Komatsu iMC is designed to let
operators focus on moving material efficiently – from bulk excavation to final
trim – without having to worry about over-excavation or damaging the target
surface – vastly speeding up site earthworks, while delivering greater
precision and accuracy.
Currently covering a range of four
dozers and one excavator, each model in Komatsu’s iMC range incorporates as
standard a factory-installed fully integrated 3D GNSS (global navigation
Satellite System) machine control system.
Komatsu iMC is part of the
company’s SmartConstruction concept, which brings together a wide range of
technology solutions, including drones and remote site management, to deliver
more efficient, productive and cost efficient construction processes.
According to Aaron Marsh, Komatsu
Australia’s Technology Solution Expert Team Manager, Smart Centre, major
industry issues, including skills shortages, demands for increased construction
site productivity, finite resources and project management pressures were key
factors behind the development of iMC technology.
“At Komatsu, we have a long history
of introducing market-leading technology and innovation to the industries we
serve,” he said.
“Understanding the needs of our
customers, we are constantly working towards enhancing and improving their
productivity – including meeting the challenge of the ever-growing demand for
skilled machine operators.”
All machines in Komatsu’s current
iMC line-up – covering the PC210LCi-10 excavator, and D61EXi-23, D65EXi-18,
D85EXi-18 and D155AXi-8 dozers, share some common features.
blade and bucket control, from bulk excavation to final grades
factory-installed Komatsu machine control system, with all components
highly secure from damage, vandalism and theft
automated dozing modes, with auto grade assist, auto stop control and
minimum distance control for the excavator, ensuring jobs are finished
faster, more accurately and with minimal rework
“bolt-on” machine control components are replaced with fully integrated
factory-installed GNSS antennas, enhanced inertial measuring unit (iMU+)
and stroke sensing hydraulic cylinders, ensuring Komatsu reliability,
durability and quality.
cab-top (dozer) and handrail mounted (excavator) GNSS antennas greatly
reduce the risk of damage, theft or vandalism associated with conventional
blade and counterweight mounted antennas and cables – while ensuring
greater accuracy through more stable GNSS antenna positioning
enhanced inertial measuring unit (iMU+) measures machine pitch and roll to
enable precision work equipment control, even when working on slopes.
stroke-sensing hydraulic cylinders use proven sensor technologies for
accurate finish grade performance, allowing the iMC system to constantly
track the angle and location of the blade or bucket edge.
Marsh said Komatsu’s integrated iMC
technology delivered a wide range of benefits on construction sites.
“IMC allows contractors to complete
bulk dozing and excavation, along with grading and final trim operations faster
and to closer tolerances, with fewer passes to achieve finish grades or
“It also allows far more efficient
machine use and less rework – just dig or grade it once, then move on,” he
“In addition, because all 3D design
data is held within an iMC machine, we can greatly decrease times required for
staking, survey and even final inspection, as well as allowing contractors to
complete multiple tasks with one machine.”
Other benefits, said Marsh,
included lower machine operating costs and whole-of-life costs, better material
yields, reduced fuel consumption, and greater machine availability and uptime
“And because an iMC-equipped
machine means simple operation for all operators no matter what their
experience levels, we get greatly improved operator performance,” he said.
“All Komatsu iMC machines are
capable of operating on multiple sites with all OEM type UHF or UHF digital base
solutions, including network corrections through a network base solution.”
Below is a brief outline of the
benefits of iMC technology on Komatsu’s new excavator and dozer line-up. [NOTE
TO EDITORS: more details on each product line are included in the accompanying
machine-specific press releases.]
Komatsu’s iMC system for dozers
allows these machines to carry out both bulk and final trim dozing in fully
automatic mode from start to finish, delivering final grade performance and
The result is significantly
increased productivity and efficiency – up to twice as productive as dozers
fitted with conventional third party machine control systems according to
Australian users and operators – while reducing the cost of each metre of
material moved. +
The iMC system automatically
controls blade elevation and tilt according to target design data – using
common industry standard design data software and systems – so not only can the
automatic machine control features be used for finish grading but also for bulk
This capability is unique to
Komatsu intelligent dozers.
Loading of the blade at the start
of the cut is controlled through set parameters; during the pass, if the load
on the blade increases during bulk dozing operation, the blade is automatically
raised to control the load and minimise shoe slip, ensuring efficient dozing at
Once the material level approaches
the target design surface, the blade will follow it with millimetre-accuracy
for close finish grading.
Four different machine control
operating modes allow operators to best match performance to the application,
covering cut-and-carry, cutting, spreading and final trim grading.
In addition, construction progress
can be checked using an integrated as-built mapping display, which collects
surface data by continuously measuring actual elevations as the machine
“Komatsu intelligent dozers deliver unmatched productivity,
combined with on-grade accuracy first time every time, from bulk dozing to
final trim, for faster dozing speeds, fewer passes, less re-work, increased
uptime and higher availability,” said Marsh.
Komatsu’s iMC PC210LCi-10 excavator
enables operators to achieve optimum speed to final grade accuracy with minimal
inputs, while eliminating the need for manual grade checking.
Its iMC capabilities ensure every
job is on grade first time, minimising rework or over-excavation.
The excavator includes three
built-in automated modes to deliver these high levels of excavation accuracy
and efficiency. They are:
Auto grade assist: When the operator moves the arm, the boom
adjusts the bucket height automatically, tracing the target surface and
minimising digging too deep, allowing the operator to perform bulk excavation
without worrying about the design surface, and to perform fine digging by
operating the arm lever only, with the working range is increased by moving the
Auto stop control: During boom or bucket operation, the work
equipment automatically stops when the bucket edge reaches the required grade,
minimising over-excavation or damage to the design surface.
Minimum distance control: Bucket control automatically selects a
point on the bucket closest to the target surface, so even if the machine is
not facing a sloped surface at a right angle, it will still follow the target
surface, minimising digging below it.
“With iMC on the PC210LCi-10,
operators can focus on moving material efficiently, without having to worry
about digging too deep or damaging the target surface,” said Marsh.
“This delivers over 60% improvement
in work efficiency compared with conventional construction processes.”
As part of its iMC and
SmartConstruction solutions, Komatsu offers integrated autonomous Unmanned
aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or “drones” for survey and site management, using EVOX3x
precision 3D mapping drones through Skycatch.
“Drone capability enhances Komatsu
Australia’s total site solution for our customers,” said Marsh.
“It is fully integrated with the
Skycatch cloud platform, using the EVO3x precision 3D mapping drone, which is
the only commercial quadcopter capable of creating 3D point clouds with sub-5cm
accuracy without the use of ground control points.
“This technology delivers quick,
reliable and accurate survey for all earthmoving, quarry and mining
applications, adding value to our integrated iMC operations.”
This technology can record current
as-built data, plus cut and fill volume reporting, incorporating class leading
technologies such as terrain following, for increased accuracy on entire flight
plan and improved end results.
“It allows for unprecedented
visibility into work site progress,” said Marsh.
“In addition to being integrated
into our iMC technology offerings, it’s also capable of working alongside
Komatsu’s AHS (autonomous haulage systems)
“This means we are able to offer
total end-to-end site planning, management and construction solution for our
customers now, tomorrow and in the future,” he said.
“Komatsu’s innovative intelligent
Machine control (iMC) technology solutions are making our customers more
productive today... and into the future.
“Adding Komatsu iMC machines and
solutions to a fleet is a formula for unmatched productivity improvement,”
Komatsu Australia National Marketing Manager
Phone 1330 566 287