Komatsu gives earthquake/tsunami update at Conexpo

By Murray Pollok22 March 2011

Komatsu's second generation Hybrid excavator, on show at Conexpo.

Komatsu's second generation Hybrid excavator, on show at Conexpo.

Komatsu said it hoped to resume normal production levels in mid-April following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Three of the company's plants in Japan received minor damage and two of these are expected to resume production soon, said Dave Grzelak, chairman and chief executive officer of Komatsu America Corp, speaking on the first day of Conexpo.

One of the facilities, Kooriyama, is close to the badly damaged Fukushima nuclear plant and has yet to reopen. Mr Grzelak said Komatsu did not know and could not comment on what this would mean for the plant.

"We are striving to restore operation at the damaged plants. However, because of the repeated aftershocks, blackouts and disrupted water supply, it has been difficult to restore the plants to full functionality.

"Even once the Komatsu plants are operational, there are other issues to overcome. Shipment of equipment has been delayed because roads and harbour facilities from and near our plants have been severely damaged. Gasoline shortages and rolling electrical blackouts that affect trains make it difficult-to-impossible for employees to get to work."

Mr Grzelak also revealed that that facilities of its distributor in north east Japan and also Komatsu's rental offices in the affected area were destroyed; "as were the facilities of dozens of our suppliers. Komatsu has been providing manpower and ongoing relief support to our suppliers in that area so that they can get back up-and-running and into production."

Meanwhile, at the show, the company demonstrated its new Tier 4 Interim engine technology and launched in North America the new -10 excavators, PC240LC, PC360LC and PC490LC, as well as the HM300-3 articulated dumper.

Also being shown is what Komatsu said was the first second generation hybrid excavator, the H3215LC-1. "This is not a gimmick - over 700 units have been sold and we have one million operating hours", said a spokesman for Komatsu Americas. The new version hybrid has a five year warranty on the hybrid technology and reduces fuel consumption by 25% compared to conventional models.

In addition, the company announced that its Valmet branded equipment will from now on be sold under the Komatsu name, with the XT430L the first Komatsu branded model to be marketed.

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