Komatsu intros PC390LCi-11 excavator with semi-auto control

Komatsu is bringing its intelligent Machine Control technology (iMC) to another excavator size class with the introduction of the PC390LCi-11.

It’s the fourth iMC-equipped excavator in the Komatsu lineup but the company says it’s the first 3D semi-automatic excavator that combines the “nimbleness and speed” of a 36-ton machine with the stability of a larger machine.

“Whether it’s production excavating, utility trenching, site prep or any application where greater over-the-side lift capacity is required, this could be the machine operators fight over on the jobsite,” says Renee Kafka, product specialist at Komatsu America.

The iMC technology on the PC390LCi-11 uses a combination of GPS/GNSS signals, stroke-sensing hydraulic cylinders and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to orient the machine in space and guide the joysticks, hydraulics and bucket so that the operator cannot over-dig or cut a profile other than what’s detailed on the 3D topo map loaded into the excavator’s computer. In the fully automatic mode, it is physically impossible for operators to over excavate. The GPS guides the machine’s hydraulics and bucket to cutting precise trenches, slopes and swales with no need to refill or recompact to make grade.

Intelligent Machine Control information is displayed on a 12.1-inch display inside the PC390LCi-11 cab.

The PC390LCi-11 features the new machine control joysticks first introduced on the PC210LCi-11 in September. Switches on these joysticks allow for switching between semi-auto and manual modes and toggling the design surface offset function.

The following is a breakdown of all the iMC features on the PC390LCi-11

  • Auto Grade Assist – As the operator moves the arm, the boom adjusts the bucket height automatically, tracing the target surface and minimizing digging too deep.
  • Auto Stop Control – During boom and bucket operation, the work equipment automatically stops when the bucket edge reaches the design surface, thus minimizing design surface damage.
  • Minimum Distance Control – The machine controls the bucket by automatically selecting the point on the bucket closest to the target surface. If the machine is not facing a sloped surface at a right angle, it will still follow the target surface and minimize digging below it.
  • Facing Angle Compass – The orientation of the facing angle compass’ arrow shows the operator the facing angle, relative to target surface. This allows the bucket edge to be accurately positioned square with the target surface.
  • Realistic 3D Display – The machine and design surfaces are shown in realistic 3D. The angle and magnification of the views can be changed, allowing the operator to select the optimum view, depending on work conditions.
  • Control Box – The iMC monitor uses a large 12.1-inch screen for visibility and ease of use. The simple screen layout displays the necessary information in an easily understood fashion. A touch screen icon interface, instead of a multi-step menu, simplifies operation.

An 8.85-liter, Tier 4 Final Komatsu SAA6D114E-6 engine powers the PC390LCi-11, delivering 257 horsepower. The machine boasts 6-percent wider track gauge and 18-percent greater over-the-side lift capacity than the PC360LC/i machines.