THE KOMATSU HYBRID HB215LC-1 EXCAVATOR HAS ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND
Shipped from Zeebrugge on 3rd December, this excavator donated to the International Polar Foundation by KOMATSU EUROPE INTERNATIONAL and BIA reached Antarctica in mid January via Cape Town. It was unloaded at the new site on the Antarctic ice shelf. Due to very bad weather it could not be unloaded at the Crown Bay site as usual, which resulted in it being delayed. Because of this, an alternative location had to be found. This was selected by satellite using a photo. The Danish captain was finally able to identify one further to the east, where the shelf was low enough for the excavator to be unloaded. The decision was taken to go by snowmobile from Derwael Junction as far as the south of the old unloading platform at the site of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition in order to carry out reconnaissance for a route to the east through the King Baudoin ice shelf, while the freight convoy would follow some way behind. After a number of changes and difficulties, and despite extremely poor visibility, the convoy covered not less than 300 km up and down the ice shelf so that the convoy could cross it, finally arriving with all its equipment on 19th January. The manoeuvres for unloading began almost immediately to allow the ship to cast off before being trapped by moving ice. They were finished by the end of the day through the cooperation of the team and the ship’s crew, who used the two cranes simultaneously to speed things up. Once unloading had finished, the ship left for Cape Town in South Africa, from where it will return to its home port in Denmark. This was the last contact with “the outside world”.
A few words about the HB 215LC-1
The hybrid HB215LC-1 excavator weights 21.5t and is powered by an innovative system, initiated and developed by KOMATSU, which replaces the hydraulic motor rotating the turret by an electric motor-generator set. Each time the turret brakes the generator stores the kinetic energy, which will be restored the next time the excavator rotates in the form of electrical energy, or used in the internal combustion engine to increase the efficiency of the hydraulic pump. The HB215LC-1 excavator is driven by a 141 HP (104 kW) Komatsu diesel engine which is itself supported by the 50 HP (37 kW) generator/engine, or 141 kW in total. This new technology enables a reduction in fuel consumption of between 25% and 40%, depending on use. There are at least 2,400 of these machines in use around the world.