Komatsu progressing with integration of former GE Fairchild underground products

Back in June 2018, quietly and without any fanfare, GE Transporation sold its scoop/LHD product line and intellectual property that had been part of GE Fairchild, to Komatsu Mining. GE itself had only bought Fairchild back in 2012, while in 2014, GE and Komatsu had announced “a new collaboration to develop next generation mining equipment” and combining “GE’s electric power expertise, electric drive systems, and battery technologies with Komatsu’s vehicle and ICT technologies for mining equipment to deliver innovative solutions to global mining customers.”

It seems in the end, Komatsu opted to take this project forward on its own. A Komatsu Mining spokesperson told IM: “This year Komatsu purchased assets and related intellectual property from GE Transportation for a variety of underground products that were formerly part of the GE Fairchild line. The purchase has allowed us to expand our underground soft rock offerings for customers while offering former GE customers the opportunity to take advantage of our global sales and service support. Our teams are integrating the product into our current manufacturing and warehouse systems and processes, to ensure we can meet our brand promises on safety, quality, reliability and delivery.”

The purchased assets included original equipment but also exchange parts, and intellectual property to support the existing installed base of scoops, which is thought to number around 400 machines. The GE Fairchild machines and designs were well known in the coal industry and included models such as the 35C-WH-AC battery-powered scoop with Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) and the 35C-LV-AC battery-powered low vein scoop with VFD. There was also a continuous coal miner, the F330. GE Fairchild had also conducted trials on hard rock battery LHDs, notably partnering with IAMGOLD to test a battery LHD-5-LB model at the company’s Westwood underground gold mine in Canada. GE had also trialled its battery coal scoops at Coal River Energy in West Virginia. At the core of these machines was GE’s Durathon battery technology.

GE earlier in 2018 had separately offloaded its Industrea Mining Equipment product lines, made in Australia but also bought by GE in 2012; with machines including longwall roof support haulers (chock carriers) and other models, to Cougar Mining Group.