In order to operate profitably, equipment owners need to make well-informed estimates when setting a budget, placing a bid or purchasing a new machine. Correctly anticipating the amount of fuel a machine will consume during a given time can provide significant value to the bottom line – and Komatsu makes that process a lot easier.
“Typically, equipment owners forecast annual fuel consumption by categorizing the type of work the machine will do into three categories: light, average or heavy,” explained Matt Beinlich, Komatsu Director, Business Solutions Group. “Those are pretty subjective terms and guessing wrong could be costly. We want to give owners a more precise prediction.”
To accomplish this, Beinlich and Komatsu’s Business Solutions Group developed a chart based on the relationship between fuel burn and idle time. Using KOMTRAX, the team can compare like-model machines to more accurately determine the average fuel consumption.
“We use idle ratio because it’s the biggest driver of fuel consumption; and it is measurable data that we can get from KOMTRAX. It gives us the clearest idea of how a machine is really being used,” noted Beinlich. “A heavy-use machine will idle less than a light-use machine. This allows us to better define light, average and heavy work for the equipment owner.”
Better definition of average
On a chart with idle time on the horizontal axis and fuel burn on the vertical, the Business Solutions Group uses KOMTRAX to display information from like-model machines onto a scattergram or scatter plot.
“This helps us determine a best-fit line that covers all possible scenarios. If the average idle rate for a specific model is 40 percent, and a company knows its idle time will be closer to 30 percent, it can classify its machine usage as heavy,” said Beinlich. “The company can then use the chart to determine how many gallons per hour they should expect to burn in a heavy-use environment for that machine.”
The information can help customers make clearer, more informed choices when purchasing equipment as well as assist in setting operating budgets and calculating bids.
“With this approach, it’s realistic that a customer’s annual fuel budget for a single machine might swing $2,000 per year in either direction when compared to simply using the national averages. Think about how that adds up across an entire fleet,” said Beinlich.