Komatsu PC490HRD-11 K100 goes to work

In June 2021, Komatsu announced a new variant of their PC490HRD-11 high reach demolition machine featuring a brand-new boom connection system. Named “K100”, the new system allows the operator to change the configuration of the machine singlehandedly in only a few minutes, without leaving the comfort of the operator cab. One of the first of these new machines recently went to work in Bradford, UK.
September 20, 2021
The Komatsu PC490HRD K100 system, getting to grips with a constrained city centre site (photo credits: Komatsu)
The Komatsu PC490HRD K100 system, getting to grips with a constrained city centre site (photo credits: Komatsu)

The 76 tonnes machine, owned by Rotherham-based Demex Ltd, started work on the city centre site in June 2021, arriving at the site in Medium Reach Demolition configuration.  The eight month project will involve demolishing several buildings within a constrained city centre site to make way for the construction of a new market and market square in Darley Street.  

Using Medium reach configuration to gain access  to severely constricted site.
Using Medium reach configuration to gain access  to severely constricted site.

Medium Reach Demolition arrangement

One of the 6 different configurations available to the machine’s operator, Justin, the Medium Reach configuration allows the machine to reach up to a maximum height of 17.4m, while carrying a demolition tool of up to 5000kg.

Justin explained that the first task after unloading the machine was to create access directly into the structure.  The Medium Reach Demolition arrangement came into its own, working within the tight confines of the road, while being able to successfully clear the outer parts of the building.

Once inside the structure, Justin continued to work with the Medium Reach configuration to begin the demolition work and to use the arisings to create a level pad to allow the machine to gain access to the higher sections.

High Reach Demolition arrangement

With medium height work complete, the machine can easily swap between high reach and low reach work. (photo credits: Rotorgraph Ltd)
With medium height work complete, the machine can easily swap between high reach and low reach work. (photo credits: Rotorgraph Ltd)

The high reach boom arrived a couple of weeks after the work had started.  Reaching up to 28m with a 3400kg concrete cracker, the high reach boom was immediately put through its paces on the taller parts of the former retail unit.  Space on site was still severely restricted at this stage and Justin believes that the K100 system really came into its own at this phase of the project.

K100 quick boom change system

“There was not enough space for two machines on the site, so this one machine had to do the low work as well as the high reach work” says Justin.  “It wouldn’t have been possible to do this efficiently with a normal boom change system.”

Justin continues, “To change the boom of a normal high reach machine in site conditions like this would usually take hours, but I’m able to do it in about 5 minutes with the K100 system.  Most of the time is taken in travelling between one set of equipment and the next, so if the equipment was lined up differently, you’d be able to do it even quicker.  I’ve not found any problems with lining up on site – it can tolerate a certain amount of uneven ground.”

Justin has changed the boom configuration around 15 times since the machine arrived, with the machine having worked in most of its 6 different arrangements during its time on site here in Bradford.  

Extended High Reach arrangement

The 32m extended high reach arrangement was important when reaching to the southernmost sections of the building, located on the lowest part of the sloping site.

Simple to arrange the booms for convenient configuration change (photo credits: Rotorgraph Ltd)
Simple to arrange the booms for convenient configuration change (photo credits: Rotorgraph Ltd)

Of all the available configurations, the high reach boom has seen the most action, proving itself more than capable of dealing with the challenges presented by the structure.

Justin praises the comfort of the operator cab and the smooth power and combined movement of the work equipment.  “It’ll work to its maximum reach comfortably and I can place the attachment just where I need it.”

Short digging boom equipment

The short digging boom equipment has proved its worth in building the stable platform needed for the machine to access some of the furthest parts of the building, while also being able to get below ground level to clear out the basement of the former shops.

Komatsu group technology

Simon Saunders, Working Gear Product Marketing Manager for Komatsu, was on site to see the machine in action during its first project.  “It’s great to see the result of years of effort from the development team.  Watching the machine and technology take shape behind the scenes has been fascinating and we’re proud that the people in the UK factory have been fully responsible for the development and manufacture of such an impressive machine.  For me, it’s great to see the customer benefitting from all that development work.”

More details on the new K100 boom change system and other Komatsu products are available on the Komatsu Europe website: Komatsu Europe

Content produced in association with Komatsu

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