Exploration is the engine that drives innovation, so let’s go exploring. Let’s search through a year’s worth of creative ideas in the off-highway equipment industry and see if we can benchmark the innovative exploration of the American machine market. Over the last 12 months, global manufacturers from Caterpillar to Kubota have released compact machines that have set new standards for power, versatility, efficiency and design. Our editors have traveled across the globe to meet these manufacturers, operate their new products and give detailed reports and opinions both in print and on our website (compactequip.com). We sifted through the hundreds of models and brands released in 2015 and picked 19 units that set the bar for innovation. With this article, we salute those companies (from Komatsu to Case) that have changed the commercial equipment market over the last year with their unique, interesting and innovative machines, engines and technologies.
Excellent Digger, Ultimate Communicator
The PC55MR-5 shall be noted as the first compact excavator to provide a 100 percent wireless interface to its telematics, communication system. That Komatsu proprietary system is called KOMTRAX, and it’s a telematics system that can both wirelessly communicate machine condition reports and give warnings for working conditions and service requests. The large onboard monitor displays the machine’s diagnostics and service records. No separate laptop or diagnostic tool is required for troubleshooting. The full-color, high-resolution LCD monitor has Ecology Guidance to help operators monitor machine performance and maximize fuel efficiency. Auto-idle shutdown and economy modes save fuel and reduce machine wear. The automatic downshift feature eases machine operation. Basically, the Komatsu PC55MR-5 offers compact equipment owners and operators a full set of machine management tools. Until now, these tools were only available to larger-equipment customers, and the best part, the KOMTRAX telematics system is free of charge. Plus, the PC55MR-5 hydraulic excavator boasts a tight tail swing radii, cool convex sliding doors that hug the machine, a high-strength X-Track frame and a 12-ft, 6-in. dig depth.