Komatsu releases advanced new iMC 2.0 machine control

Technology delivers major productivity benefits for customers

Komatsu has released a significant update to its intelligent Machine Control (iMC) technology, known as iMC 2.0, that delivers major productivity, efficiency and cost saving advantages to its latest model “intelligent” dozers and excavators.

The new technology is available on the just-released D61EXi/PXi-24, D65EXi/PXi-18, D71EXi/PXi-24 and D85EXi/PXi-18 dozers and the PC210LCi-11, PC290LCi-11 and PC360LCi-11 excavators.

iMC 2.0 further advances the automation capabilities of these new machines, with factory integrated enhancements including two multi-constellation GNSS antennas.

These advances significantly enhance iMC dozer operations on slopes, while new-generation iMC excavator hydraulic cylinders incorporate the latest Komatsu stroke sensing technology with a new factory IMU (inertial monitoring unit) sensor attached to the tilting attachment, automating the tilting function.

In addition, iMC 2.0 features all-new “intelligent” high resolution touchscreen monitors, purpose designed for each machine type, that provide accurate displays of machine operating conditions, and the jobsite design.

Operators can customise split-screen views to give themselves the optimum views of what they want to focus on, while an easy-to-use multi-touch navigation system provides realtime information on bulk earthmoving, grading, digging and finishing.

All these combine to ensure greater accuracy and increased response speeds, according to Aaron Marsh, Komatsu’s National Product & Solution Manager with its SmartConstruction & Integrated Machine Control Division.

“Our new iMC 2.0 products, services and digital solutions incorporate a host of advanced machine technologies – some exclusive to Komatsu – allowing users to integrate sophisticated productivity-enhancing automation and cutting-edge jobsite design into their operations,” he said.

“By applying Komatsu dantotsu (unique and unrivalled) principles, this latest technology delivers distinct benefits with automated and semi-automated dozer and excavator operations.”

iMC 2.0 dozer features

Available initially on Komatsu’s new D71EXi/PXi-24 and D61EXi/PXi-24 dozers, iMC 2.0 automatically controls the blade so that it closely follows the target surface, controlling cut depth while avoiding track shoe-slip.

Exclusive features of iMC 2.0 on dozers include Lift Layer Control, and Tilt Steering Control.

With Lift Layer Control, the dozer automatically spreads fill material from existing areas of the worksite with just the press of a button, then measures the terrain it’s tracking over – and using that data to plan the next pass.

“This feature allows the design surface to be created from as-built data, and can cover lift work,” said Marsh.

“Compared with conventional dozing practices, production rates are doubled, plus – because it’s 100% automatic while automatics are engaged – each layer is completely consistent and accurate.”

The one-touch Tilt Steering Control feature frees the operator from having to steer the dozer to maintain a straight heading, by continuously and automatically tilting the blade as required to maintain straight-line travel.

“This results in greatly reduced operator fatigue and increased comfort, because operator input is reduced by up to 80% compared with a conventional dozer,” Marsh said.

“And straight-line travel guarantees a cleaner cut, along with increased productivity.”

Other features of iMC 2.0 on Komatsu’s latest dozers includes:

Quick surface creation, letting the operator create a temporary design service at the press of a button, allowing the machine to begin spreading or stripping using automatic modes while awaiting finish-grade designs. The operator simply needs to set the elevation, fall and cross-fall, and get to work.

Proactive dozing control, allowing the dozer to perform dozing and carrying tasks by using the as-built data the machine has collected in previous passes – creating a target blade trajectory by offsetting its collected as-built data. This allows the machine to minimise undulations and under-cutting, with work carried out as smoothly and efficiently as if it were being done by a highly experienced operator.

Manual co-ordination control, enabling the operator to manually adjust blade tilt or lift in cases where the actual surface and the design surface don’t match; automatic operations resume once the steering lever is set back to neutral. The system is designed to be flexible enough that the operator can adjust the work/blade positions as required by jobsite conditions.

Faster blade response on grade breaks, letting the operator temporarily increase blade reactivity in transitions between different grade angles, to avoid over or under digging, and maintain high levels of accuracy.

“In addition to these new features, our iMC 2.0 dozers include two integrated GNSS antennas, which are able to receive location signals from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDoun and QZSS satellites,” said Marsh.

“They also include a new GNSS receiver control box, incorporating an LTE modem for remote access, and a digital transceiver for GNSS correction information.

“These all combine to ensure higher positioning accuracy due to greatly increased satellite availability, and the ability to work continuously and accurately regardless of how remote the site is, or where there’s vegetation or in hilly or mountainous terrain.

“Through our automatic dozing capabilities, Komatsu machines equipped with iMC 2.0 technology help make every pass count, from bulk cutting out to final trim work.

“This assists customers to achieve superior production rates and lower construction costs compared with traditional aftermarket machine control systems,” he said.

iMC 2.0 excavator features

Komatsu’s new PC210LCi-11, PC290LCi-11 and PC360LCi-11 now include iMC 2.0 to ensure even greater productivity gains for end-users.

“The renowned accuracy and automatic grading capabilities of our existing iMC machines has been enhanced with new features that increase ease of operation and finish quality, while significantly reducing cycle times,” said Marsh.

“New automatic features, such as Auto Grade Assist, and Auto Tilt Control let the operator relax and focus on productivity, without having to worry about overdigging.

“These two new features keep the bucket edge precisely on-grade, while increasing bucket fill factors,” he said.

iMC 2.0’s Auto Tilt automatically tilts the bucket to design, then returns it to horizontal to unload, so that achieving final grade is significantly quicker and easier.

“This greatly increases ease of operation on slope and ditch work, automatically limiting under-digging and increasing bucket fill – making delivering final grade quicker and easier,” Marsh said.

“It’s ideal to use with tilting buckets, particularly when working on slopes, ditches and complex designs.”

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.

“This makes final grading and trimming work much much easier, while allowing the operator to manually intervene at any time just by operating the bucket lever function.”

According to Marsh, this feature is ideal for final grading, trimming multi-plane surfaces and detailed sealing applications.

“Komatsu iMC 2.0 builds on our unique sensor technology, incorporating stroke-sensing hydraulic cylinders and IMU sensors, meaning operators no longer need to worry about over digging,” he said.

“When the bucket hits the target surface, the control function automatically limits and maintains grade with real-time bucket edge positioning, ensuring precise and accurate surfaces that exactly match the design, first time, every time.

“This latest excavator dantotsu technology from Komatsu lets us deliver increased productivity, efficiency and finished quality across a wide range of earthmoving, construction and production applications,” Marsh said.

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