Customer feedback helps drive innovation at Komatsu Demo Days 2023 in Georgia
Komatsu customers had their first chance to get their hands on the new products that were featured at CONEXPO-CON/AGG at the company’s annual Demo Days in Cartersville, Ga.
“We had about 400 customers come through the event with their distributors,” said Michael Gidaspow, Vice President of Product Service and Solutions for Komatsu. “There were many Komatsu experts who talked to customers and got their feedback on our equipment and our solutions.”
Customers at the event were eager to get in the operator’s seat of two new excavators showcased at CONEXPO-CON/AGG: the PC900LC-11 excavator and the PC210LCE electric excavator.
“Those two machines were the stars of the show; they got a lot of feedback and operation,” said Gidaspow. “Customers want to know how the PC210LCE electric excavator compares to their traditional excavator, or how the PC900 operates.”
The event also featured Intelligent Machine Control (IMC) 2.0 equipment; Smart Construction and Smart Quarry solutions; Montabert, Lehnhoff and Hensley products; and Komatsu’s newest forestry machine: a PC230F-11.
“We want to make sure that Komatsu equipment is fully utilized, and that our customers’ entire job sites are as efficient as possible,” said Gidaspow. “That is where Komatsu technologies come in, so they can help customers hit their goals. When they come to Cartersville, customers can see what Komatsu does and learn about how our offerings can assist them.”
While new machines and technology were a significant draw for the event, some customers noted the overall reliability Komatsu has provided their operations over the years.
“My experience with Komatsu is that the machines are very reliable,” commented Kurt Renzland, owner of K.J. Renzland Excavating Inc. “That’s why I’m here. My PC400 excavator is over 20 years old, and it has over 20,000 hours with the original motor and hydraulic pumps. For us, that reliability means we can keep working and aren’t wasting time repairing machinery or having to deal with expensive repair bills. Even when we went through tough times, I was able to lean on our Komatsu machines and get through.”
Powerful, efficient PC900LC-11
Towering above the other machinery and quickly drawing a crowd at Demo Days was Komatsu’s PC900LC-11 excavator equipped with an 8-yard bucket.
“My first thought was that the bucket is monstrous,” stated Thomas Wayson, an operator for The Quartz Corp. of America. “It would increase our production by being able to load trucks faster. You probably only need two buckets to fill the rigid frame dump trucks, so you’d be able to speed up the process quickly.”
Despite its size, the machine shares similarities with smaller models.
“I like how the cab and controls are the same, so it doesn’t matter if you’re on a 160 or the 900 because everything’s the same inside,” said Bennett Conrad, a third-generation operator, fleet manager and technician at Conrad Brothers. “I like the visibility with the cameras and the serviceability. The filters are easy to get to and are in a good spot.”
The cohesiveness among models lends itself to faster operator training.
“It was like running a 390, just bigger; there was no change or parasitic drag,” said Wayson. “For training, it would be a quick transition from a smaller Komatsu machine to the PC900.”
Testing Komatsu’s electric excavator
Demo Days attendees were some of the first customers in North America to get behind the controls of the PC210LCE electric excavator, which will be field tested later this year.
“I currently run a diesel-powered PC210 excavator, and I think that if you were blindfolded, you would not be able to tell the difference between the two,” said Wayson. “I expected the electric excavator to be underpowered, but it was not. It exceeded my expectations.”
Wayson was also surprised by the comfort of the machine.
“When I was operating, I turned the air conditioner off just to get a feel for the machine and see how quiet it actually is,” noted Wayson. “It was astonishingly quiet.”
Hands on with GD655-6, IMC 2.0
Attendees were also quick to note the performance of the Komatsu GD655-6 motor grader.
“I use motor graders for fine grading quarry stone for parking lots,” explained Renzland. “The Komatsu motor grader is smooth, quiet and powerful. The controls are super sensitive, and the visibility allows me to sit in my seat while operating. I’m used to standing up and working large levers, so the operator comfort is better in the Komatsu machine.”
Plus, Demo Days gave customers the ability to test Komatsu technology, such as IMC 2.0.
“I ran the D71PXi, which was my first experience with the 2.0 technology,” said Joel Nicol, Vice President of Nicol and Sons Inc. “I could not believe the advancements in the mapping system, and an operator doesn’t have to interfere with the process, it just pushes.”
Moving forward, Gidaspow encourages customers to visit Komatsu in Georgia and take the opportunity to operate new machinery and technologies.
“Any customers who haven’t had a chance to come out, please talk to us, and talk to your distributor,” said Gidaspow. “We have customers visit us year-round, and we have equipment here that hasn’t yet been released to the market. We encourage feedback from our customers, so we can learn what’s working or what we can do to make our equipment and our solutions better for you.”
*The opinions expressed here are from the end users who are quoted. The results described herein are those of these end users under certain conditions.