Komatsu Unveils Smart RetroFit Kits for Excavator 3D Control

Designed to improve grading performance and provide more time- and cost-management tools, Smart Construction Retrofit kits can bring 3D guidance and payload monitoring to most Komatsu excavators in a fleet.

Easily installed by a local Komatsu distributor, Smart Construction Retrofit is a low-cost guidance kit that gives operators in the field and managers in the office access to 3D design and payload data to help drive accuracy, control load volumes and improve operations, the company says.

“No matter where you are in your Smart Construction journey, we have the expertise to help you integrate and optimize your fleet, based on your specific needs,” says Komatsu’s Ron Schwieters, senior product manager, customer solutions. 

Once a conventional excavator is fitted with Smart Construction Retrofit, operators no longer must set up a laser or bench every time the machine moves. The global navigation satellite system (GNSS) can determine where a machine is on the job site and what the target grade is. The need for additional labor is reduced because the technology collects and delivers information directly to the operator, so fewer people have to be working on the ground or in an open trench. 

“Smart Construction Retrofit kits are an entry-level solution that can help bridge the technology gap and drive production improvements to your fleet,” Schwieters said.

Increase productivity

Machine production can be monitored from the office by integrating Smart Construction applications, and as-built and payload data can be collected for progress tracking. With Smart Construction Retrofit you can reduce handling and reworking material, which helps drive both productivity and profitability, according to Komatsu.

For installation of the Smart Construction Retrofit, a multi-GNSS compatible GNSS antenna and GNSS controller for detecting the machines’ position and orientation are placed at the rear of the machine body. The position and orientation of the machine are detected by using the two antennas. The GNSS controller has blue and green indicator lights that allow operators to confirm the status of the controller. Each part of the boom arm bucket link and revolving frame is equipped with an IMU sensor that measures the posture of the work equipment and the angle of the machine body.

Screenshot of Smart Construction appKomatsuWithin the cab of the excavator, there is a tablet that displays guidance content and a Wi-Fi router for communication. All movements and measurements of the bucket along the slope are displayed on the screen. According to Komatsu, the retrofit kit processes the sensor information without delay and displays it on the screen. Screen layouts can be set up to the operators’ preference between full screen or up and down split screen. In addition, frequently used functions are displayed with icons, and the offset of the design data can be set to two types, vertical and perpendicular, in relation to the design surface.

Lastly, an optional payload meter helps prevent overloaded trucks by promoting proper loading weights for on- and off-road vehicles to reduce the potential for equipment damage and other risks. 

On the tablet in the cab, if operators register the vehicle information in advance in the smart construction fleet, the dump truck list will be displayed. The maximum load capacity will be displayed once the truck is selected. The payload meter of the Smart Construction retrofit kit can be used as a guide for the dump truck load weight. 

According to Komatsu, the payload meter makes accurate weight measurements in the hoist swivel motion after digging. When the bucket is dumped, the earth is judged to be loaded and the measured weight is reflected on the monitor as being in the truck. You do not need to stop the machine to measure the weight. Further, if the dump load weight approaches the maximum load weight, the color of the excavator weight display on the monitor changes to yellow. If the maximum load weight is exceeded, the display turns red. When loading of the selected vehicle is completed tap stop to confirm the loading results. 

Two workers looking over machines at a job site.Smart Construction Retrofit kits are an entry-level solution that can help bridge the technology gap and drive production improvements.Komatsu