Hitachi has unveiled its new series of hybrid excavators bound for Australia.
"Is it environmentally friendly?"
A question that is becoming more and more common on Australian mine sites.
A push to be seen as a more environmentally friendly industry, and reacting to the impost of the carbon tax, many miners are looking for ways to cut their carbon footprint.
This is also driven to a degree by the planned reduction of the diesel fuel rebate tax scheme, which will see industry pay more for diesel fuel for both its on- and off-road vehicles and machines.
One way miners are addressing these issues is by utilising hybrid vehicles on site, which use less fuel and produce a smaller carbon output when operating; encouraging machinery manufacturers to look further down this route.
Hitachi explained that "an increase demand exists for earthmoving equipment manufacturers to design this more environmentally sustainable technology".
Komatsu made the first steps into Australia, two years ago launching its hybrid excavator.
At the launch Australian Mining was told that these new breed of excavators could cut carbon emissions by a quarter during operations.
Now Hitachi is making waves in the market by releasing the first of its own hybrid excavators into Australia.
It has released the Hitachi ZH210-A and ZH210LC-A hybrid hydraulic excavators into the country.
According to the company "these hybrid excavators represent decades of innovation, research and development in hydraulic, electric, and battery-powered excavator technologies".
The shift towards hybrid technology has been seen for years in the automotive sector, and over the last five years has become increasingly popular within the earthmoving sector.
The two new excavators are equipped with a TRIAS-HX hybrid system that combines Hitachi's newly developed large capacity tri-pump control valve hydraulic and hybrid systems.
In a similar fashion to Komatsu's hybrid excavator, Hitachi's vehicles use the electric hybrid technology in conjunction with swing momentum to regenerate energy, which aids in cutting fuel consumption.
However "this combination of regenerated electric power and hydraulic power to the swing motor is an exclusive feature to Hitachi," it stated.
In comparison to its standard ZX200-3 excavator, which features two pumps and two control valves, the new TRIAS-HX hybrid system provides increased performance, responsive operation and energy savings.
Generating 165 horsepower, the ZH210-A and ZH210LC-A models both utilise a four cylinder Isuzu diesel engine to provide more fuel reductions and higher productivity to miners in the 20 tonne excavator class.
According to Hitachi, this cut in fuel usage represents and annual reduction in CO2 emissions of nearly ten tonnes compared to its non-hybrid ZX200-3.
It added that by selecting the excavator's eco-mode the engine speed can be decreased to provide even more fuel savings.
A monitoring system supports maintenance and operation by highlighting fuel usage data on an average hourly and daily basis.
In addition to this, an automatic idling stop function cuts the engine during machine idling, limiting unnecessary fuel consumption, as well as minimising exhaust emissions, noise levels, and overall engine wear.
Yusuke Kajita, Hitachi's general manager of the Construction Equipment Development Centre, explained that "when fossil fuels are in short supply and become more expensive, electrical technology will be the key to the future and we will be in an excellent position to capitalise on this".