Remote Monitoring: A Growing Trend within the Spectrum of Compact Equipment


A report by International Construction highlighted an announcement delivered by Komatsu on their latest 100% electric remote control mini excavator (non-hydraulic drive) that is powered by nothing more than a lithium-based battery array. This according to spokesperson from Komatsu’s product development is the next-generation concept for machinery of the future that is expected to take the construction world by storm by the year 2022.

Komatsu made this announcement during its 100th anniversary celebration and added that the conceptualization was based on a design that is ‘going to’ pave the way for commercialized electric powered construction equipment in future.” It seemed that they had good reason to be proud of the fully electric 3 tonne mini excavator which are in essence spin-offs from Komatsu’s decades of experience with electric forklifts fossil fuel powered mini excavators.

Komatsu has effectively incorporated new technologies into the construct of their latest builds such as the application of lithium-ion batteries along with electric compressed air driven cylinders which eliminates the need for messy hydraulics. The fact that the machine may be operated remotely renders Komatsu as the company that “achieved totally new concepts” in the field of construction vehicle designs and performance.”

Komatsu’s senior product management team added that the vehicle controller along with the operational device is connected to the compact excavator via wireless LAN that allows operations under any work environment to be executed remotely. All this comes after Komatsu launch of the PC30E-5 electric mini excavators in 2020 which could be their last run as the construction giant plans to introduce electric mini excavators equipped with the lithium-ion battery for Europe in the year 2022.

Under pressure from competitors Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) has risen up to the occasion by publishing a white paper revolving around the future of the compact equipment segment in the region. The white paper highlights that 70% of mini excavators that are sold in Europe are below the three-ton mark and these machines are relatively mobile as they may be towed on a trailer with just a normal driving licence.

They quickly gained on Komatsu’s move by also indicating that remote monitoring will indeed play an essential role within the scope of the construction equipment market citing environmental and safety elements. A quote from the published paper states that “Tracking the location of mini excavators is in fact important, owing to the fact that it is moved frequently enough from one job site to another.

All of the above would be critical to logistic for equipment supply companies as they would be able to remotely track location and working hours which is essential data that would help owners minimise cost. This would be very true especially to any mini excavator rental company that would be able to make informed decisions for planning and enhancing the value chain by focusing on efficiency and maintenance schedules.

These machines will also be beneficial from a security perspective as they would be able to beam back accurate location information as smaller machines are more prone to theft compared to standard larger machines.

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