Komatsu Focuses Future of Electric Rope Shovels on AC-Powered Offerings

A P&H 4800XPC electric rope shovel operates in Canada.

Thu September 16, 2021

To provide customers up to 6 percent improvement in productivity compared to DC-powered models, Komatsu is now offering all of its P&H electric rope shovels as AC-powered machines going forward. The production improvement gains are measured by comparing machine performance data. Furthermore, several Komatsu customers have reported that they can regularly achieve higher productivity with the company's AC models.

Working with its customers to better meet the needs of the evolving mining market, Komatsu reported the following advantages of AC machines over DC machines:

  • Improved productivity: faster cycle times, no transfer-to-propel delay
  • Less power used: higher efficiencies with AC motors and power converters result in lower electricity (kilowatt hour) usage per ton moved for a more sustainable product offering for today's mines. With increased productivity and availability, the AC platform is consistently shown to be a higher-performing machine.
  • Lower maintenance and repair cost: reduction in parts/components costs (e.g. motors — no brush inspections or change-outs, no commutator stoning or skimming), and a reduction in labor cost
  • Increased availability: field observed mechanical availability increase of one to two percent. This increase is primarily driven by increased MTBF (mean time between failure) of the electrical system. AC motors and drives require fewer static maintenance checks, resulting in more efficient planned maintenance, and an overall improvement in maintenance labor ratio

Now that AC models are available in all size segments for customers, Komatsu will focus its OEM production and development efforts on the higher-performing AC line of electric rope shovels. The company will continue its global support of the existing DC shovel market, however, providing customers around the world with innovative service, parts, technology advancement and all aftermarket services.

Where possible and supported by DC technology, product upgrades, including Centurion upgrades, will continue to be provided for the more than 400 DC-powered Komatsu shovels in the field.

"With over 100 P&H AC shovels operating globally, we are confident in our shift to the AC shovel platform," said Brian Fox, VP Mining Products, Komatsu Mining. "However, we remain fully committed to working with our customers to keep their existing P&H DC shovels running far into the future."

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