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Komatsu – the Hybrid Heavyweight



With ESG (environmental, social and governance) at the forefront of many companies’ agendas, Komatsu’s hybrid machines are on track to be valuable additions to many Australian fleets.

For the last 15 years, Komatsu has arguably been the leader in hybrid machinery post the release of the HB205-1 – the world’s first hybrid hydraulic excavator. The pioneers, who introduced the inaugural machine in 2008 following persistent pricing pressures related to the cost of fuel, assert that hybrid equipment still maintains a vital position in Australian fleets, along with other developing technologies.

With about 190 hybrids operating in Australia and more than 5,000 worldwide, there’s no question that there is still considerable demand for these machines. This is due to their productivity, reliability, and contribution to the achievement of customers’ ESG objectives.

Komatsu Australia’s General Manager for Construction, Dean Gaedtke, says, “Hybrid technology significantly reduces the impact of equipment on the environment without adversely impacting the economic feasibility of a project. It’s a simple equation: less fuel, less emission, less carbon.”

What distinguishes Komatsu from other hybrid suppliers is their 30-plus years of experience and expertise in the electrification space, says Gaedtke.

“Our experience in smart construction, digitisation and electrification spans across many years with reliable and innovative machinery…Our ESG strategy has us aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and be completely net-zero by 2050. It’s a big feat, but with the introduction of flagship machines like the PC210E all electric hydraulic excavator, which we previewed at Bauma last year, we’re on a good path to meet those targets.

“And it’s not just our machinery, it’s the technology that is applied with it. Komatsu’s technology offerings like iSite (Productivity & Fleet Management), Smart Construction and iMC (Intelligent Machine Control) are making it easier to reduce your carbon footprint onsite through capturing accurate machine productivity data. This helps our customers to manage their machines and the efficiency of their operation and minimise their fuel wastage,” Gaedtke says.  

For mine operators looking to invest in Komatsu’s hybrid line, a wheel loader such as the WE1850-3 is guaranteed to contribute to a more sustainable operation. Part of the manufacturer’s Generation 3 series, the WE1850-3 is a versatile loading tool that can be used for main line production, shovel backup, clean-up and ramp building.

The OEM’s hybrid wheel loaders use innovative hydraulic and drive train technology and promise to deliver comfort, efficiency, and productivity. Offering a 35 per cent CO2 reduction compared to mechanical loaders or hydraulic excavators, Komatsu’s hybrid wheel loaders have the potential to maximise an operation’s productivity.

Looking to the future, Gaedtke says that while electrification and hybrids will remain a strong focus, Komatsu is constantly researching new ways to innovate as they work towards their net-zero target.


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