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As the EPA regulations have ramped up to Tier 4 Final status over the last few years, heavy equipment manufacturers have toiled mightily to reduce emissions and fuel consumption on these machines—despite drawing the ire of many customers who value power and speed over just about everything. After all, time is literally money in construction.
And while the engines powering these machines have been engineered and re-engineered with each passing stage of EPA regulations, the manufacturers have also implemented power modes into newer machines which enable operators to save even more fuel by being able to tailor engine speed on the fly as the job demands.
Unfortunately, while power modes sound like a really smart feature, most of the manufacturers I’ve spoken to about customer adoption of these modes say they’ve gone largely ignored. Anecdotal evidence suggests most operators throw their machines into H or Heavy mode and get to work knowing they’re getting everything the machine has to offer.
Which brings us to today and Komatsu’s unveiling of its latest dozer model, the D61-24.
As a replacement to the D61-23 released in 2012, there are new, fuel-sipping power modes on the D61-24. But Komatsu owners and operators will be happy to hear that the company’s engineers haven’t omitted advances in the engine’s top end in favor of fuel economy.
Offered in two models, the D61EX-24 and D61PX-24, and powered by a Tier 4 Final-compliant, 6.8-liter Komatsu SAA4D107E-3 engine, Komatsu says the new dozer features enhancements to its heavy duty H-Mode.
Komatsu product manager Jonathan Tolomeo says the machine’s power in the top end goes farther in improving cycle times.
The new dozer also brings much more detailed, on-the-fly performance customization to operators through the ability to choose between a quick-shift, three-speed mode and a variable, 20-speed customizable transmission mode.
Another change to the machine sure to make operators happy: Komatsu says 99 percent of the dozer’s regens are performed automatically and without interruption to the job at hand.
For those operators and owners who are fuel conscious, the D61-24 does cut fuel consumption over its predecessor, though just how much wasn’t explicitly released. Further fuel consumption reductions can be found through the new economy power mode and auto-idle shutdown.
Inside the cab, Komatsu has included a 7-inch high-resolution monitor which displays real-time fuel economy and diagnostics should the need to trobleshoot arise.
The monitor also displays the view of the machine’s rear-view monitoring system, which is a standard feature.
Also standard is Komtrax machine monitoring, Komatsu’s telematics service which allows operators and fleet managers to keep up with the machine’s fuel levels, operating hours, location and more while providing cautions and maintenance alerts via a website or a smartphone.
Additionally, Komtrax now monitors DEF levels, ambient air temperatures and pressures.
Komatsu CARE is provided on the machine for the first three years or 2,000 hours, and includes scheduled factory maintenance, a 50-point inspection at each service, and two DPF exchanges and DEF tank flushes in the first five years.