The extraordinary seven week voyage from Belgium to the South Pole, completed by Komatsu’s latest hybrid excavator wasn’t the end of the journey. The HB215LC was then transported using a giant sled to the Princess Elizabeth Station, around 250 miles away! It’s not the first time the company has delivered snow vehicles to the Antarctic. The first machine arrived in 1956!
The hybrid excavator was loaded on the Mary Arctica at the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, and the ship departed for the White Continent the day after. After a short stopover at Cape Town, South Africa, it headed out for Crown Bay on Antarctica’s coast, where cargo for the Princess Elisabeth Station is usually unloaded.
The HB215LC was unloaded onto the icy continent of Antarctica. The ship could not arrive at the usual site at Crown Bay due to the worst sea ice conditions in the last 30 years.
Soon after it arrived at the station, the HB215LC was already hard at work, removing snow and preparing the site for the reconstruction of the technical storerooms. “It is fantastic to see how much work the excavator can do in one day,” says Mr. Alain Hubert IPF founder and Belgian polar explorer. “The power and the precision of this new HB215LC are amazing.”
In Komatsuʼs unique hybrid system, the electric swing motor/generator captures and regenerates energy as the upper structure slows down and converts it into electric energy. The regenerated energy is stored in the capacitor and used by the generator/motor to assist the engine when it needs to accelerate. Thus, the hybrid system reduces fuel consumption significantly. Most components of the system are developed and manufactured by Komatsu.