My flying visit to the North East & Komatsu UK’s headquarters was rapidly drawing to a close, but there was still enough time to head out to the demo area to sample the delights of the Dash 8 machines. The entrance to the comprehensive demonstration ground is marked with a large Komatsu face shovel bucket and at the time of my visit a demolition rigged PC800-8 was proudly standing guard.
There were other delights from the Dash 8 range for me to see as well, including two examples of the excellent PC138US-8 models. First up was a mono boom version of the 91.7 hp machines, complete with dozer blade assembly.
Secondly was a very interesting version, which was fitted with narrow track pads and featured a triple articulation boom, which is always a firm favourite in Central European and Rail markets.
Also on display, as shown in its full glory in part one, was this example of the ever popular PC450-8 in full high reach demolition specification. I spent time on a PC450-7 model for London based BCL Plant Ltd, on a site in Plymouth a few years ago and found it to be an awesome piece of kit! I have no doubt that the new Dash-8 model would be even better.
I was offered a drive in the latest PC190LC-8 machines, which was launched earlier this year to replace the outgoing PC180-7. The PC190LC-8 is described as a true 20 tonner, and with the engine power being increased by 7% compared to the previous model, it brings a new level of performance and versatility to the market.
I have spent a lot of time on Komatsu excavators during my 30 year career, and I must admit I have fondness for them. This machine did not disappoint either, as I settled down in to the seat, it was like I had never been away. All the usual creature comforts one associates with the Komatsu product were there, including the heated air suspension seat, automatic climate control system and the full colour monitor panel.
The TFT monitor panel has the largest full colour screen on the market, allowing convenient setting of all work modes, and information on all the machines fluid levels and working temperatures. The screen also doubles up as a rear view camera when reverse tracking is required and gives the operator a very clear and concise view of the area behind the machine. As well as being one of the quietest, with an internal noise level of just 68 dB (A), the cab is also described as the safest in the industry, and anyone that has seen the video of the roll-over test on these machines will testify that.
I finally set out on the machine for a test dig, climbing up onto the heap effortlessly, once in position I spun around to take a bite, the slew was quick and the feel on the levers was very responsive, the ground in this area of the demo plot was tough going, comprising of a lot of demolition rubble which included some rather large lumps of concrete. This kind of material is always a challenge for any machine, as you pull through the mixed ground the excavator will always try to find the easiest route. Unsurprisingly this machine had plenty of power to cope with this kind of material.
Of course for most operators a machines ability to grade well is paramount, its fine grading that always sorts the men from the boys on most sites I have ever worked on, and we can all relate stories of some machines that are almost impossible to grade with. I was not surprised to find that the Komatsu machines refined hydraulic system gave it an impressive feel when I put it through the grading motion.
On my drive home from the factory I noticed a lot of Komatsu excavators at work on the A1 improvements around the Leeming Bar area, and regular Digger Blog reader John Ridley, has promised us some photos from that site in the not too distant future, so look out for that feature on the blog soon.
In summary, the Dash-8 machines are a quality piece of kit and the team at Birtley that fabricate, assemble and promote them are top notch. The Digger Blog thanks you all for making this visit possible and we look forward to many more in the future.
Don’t forget there is still plenty of time to enter our win a Komatsu PC210-8 model competition just follow this link to find out more.