FLEX Feature: Komatsu Mining Corp. with Joel King

We started our “FLEX Feature” series in January of this year to share about Venango County businesses and nonprofits through the eyes of young professionals who work there. We specifically wanted to feature organizations that do interesting and amazing things, but are not talked about enough or what they do is misunderstood.

This month we’re excited to hear from Joel King of Komatsu Mining, with locations in Reno and Franklin.

Tell us about Komatsu.
Komatsu, formerly known as Joy, designs and builds heavy duty machines for underground soft rock mining. Our main location is on Liberty Street in Franklin, but we have many offices and manufacturing facilities across the United States and around the world. The Franklin office is the global center of engineering, new product development, contract management, supply chain, quality assurance, and more.

What is your role there?
I am an Electrical Engineer responsible for the design and support of underground haulage machines, including Shuttle Cars and Battery Haulers. The main job of these machines is to transport coal, potash, gypsum, or other minerals from the mining face to a conveyor belt leading out of the mine to the surface.

What is your favorite part about working at Komatsu?
My favorite part about working at Komatsu is the variety of new challenges that we face. We frequently receive requests from customers to use new systems and technologies and it’s our job to integrate these into our machine designs. Recently we installed a new Shuttle Car LED head light and tail light system which provides better lighting and visibility for the miners underground. We are also beginning to implement lithium-ion technology to create machines that run solely on battery power. Another fun part of the job is traveling to mines and heading underground to observe the mining machines in operation.

What is surprising about the organization?
Right now our largest market in the United States is in coal. Some people don’t realize the market price of coal – currently it is about $400 per ton which might not seem like much. In order to be profitable, coal mines must be highly efficient and produce hundreds of tons every day. This is what drives the need for the heavy duty and high capacity machines that Komatsu specializes in.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
More information can be found on the company website:

You can also find Komatsu on Facebook at and LinkedIn at

This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) December 2022 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.

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