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Komatsu PC200 Excavator - High concentration of dirt entry & high wear rate of final drive case study

Affected Component: Left hand side final drive (travel motor)
Industry Sector: Motorsport
Machine: Komatsu PC200 Excavator
Critical Report: High concentration of dirt entry, high wear rate of final drive

REPORT FINDINGS

Findings from our tests

Using Komatsu’s technology and testing capabilities such as ICP analysis and Particle Quantifier (PQ), our laboratory analyst detected unusually high elements from the PC200’s final drive, including:

  • 250 ppm (parts per million) of aluminium
  • 770 ppm (parts per million) of silicone
  • 800 ppm (parts per million) of iron
  • 250 ppm (parts per million) of copper
  • 60 ppm (parts per million) of chrome

What did that mean for the customer?

Having both extremely high levels of aluminium and silicone are signs of dirt ingress. Dirt within the final drive has the potential to wear the part at an extremely fast rate given the amounts detected from our tests. This was confirmed when Komatsu detected unusually high amounts of iron, copper and chrome, which suggested that the final drive itself was in fact already deteriorating. This classified the issue as critical, meaning a final drive inspection/replacement was required immediately


Ability to identify specific wear rates, thanks to previous test from Komatsu CMS

As the customer has undertaken oil samples for testing with Komatsu CMS on a regular basis, we were able to identify the specific wear rate, allowing us to inform the customer immediately to take action. The previous sample detected cautious amounts of aluminium and silicone which required the customer to monitor the final drive although the machine could continue operating.

As part of the customer’s monitoring of the final drive, it was decided to take the sample again within the next 250 hours which led to the current findings. Our analysis in comparing trends from the previous and current reports gave Komatsu CMS the confidence to calculate wear rates and to provide expert recommendation. The decision for the customer to regularly sample with Komatsu allowed us to evaluate the machine’s components historical test data, identify any anomalies and make assessments.

 

OUTCOME FOR THE CUSTOMER

The below steps were taken to ensure swift action to avoid catastrophic failure which exposed the risk of lengthy downtown.

Communication with the customer’s service supervisor

Once Komatsu laboratory analyst/technician (role?) completed the sample report and emailed it to the customer, a phone call was made directly to the customer’s maintenance manager to advise of the critical findings to make them aware of the critical status of the final drive and the potential imminent failure that could lead to costly downtown if left unaddressed. The maintenance manager addressed the issue by stopping the PC200 from operating and had the machine taken into the service workshop.

Komatsu provides alternatives with ongoing support

During the call with the customer, the Komatsu laboratory technician’s proposed solution was to immediately replace the component with a Komatsu genuine final drive. This was to guarantee the ease of fitment and peace of mind that the part would be covered under Komatsu’s parts warranty.

One of the options proposed by Komatsu was for the customer to replace the final drive themselves. However, as all their fitters were busy on other tasks, Komatsu’s second option of have a Komatsu service technician on site was the best option.

The Komatsu service technician travelled directly to the customer’s site where the PC200 was ready to be worked on. Upon doing the final drive replacement it was found that the duo cone seal had failed, which allowed dirt to enter the final drive and cause the component to wear at unusually high rates.

Once the final drive was replaced, the Komatsu service technician completed a Condition Report which included a visual inspection of the final drive as well as an inspection of the PC200 overall. This report was provided to the customer for peace of mind and record-keeping.