Construction equipment

How to choose a large dozer

300+ horsepower crawler bulldozers are a staple in heavy-duty earthmoving and mining applications, typically facing high production expectations, but often suffering additional wear and tear due to conditions. abrasive or rocky.

Managers are responsible for balancing production requirements and operating costs with maintenance needs and the life of components and machines. Major crawler dozer manufacturers and their dealers are out-of-the-box resources, offering advice on setup and cost savings through maintenance, technology, and more.

How to set up a bulldozer

One of the most obvious questions is what type of big dozer is needed? There are options for the front and back of the unit, as well as the technology, and there are only a handful of manufacturers making large robots.

“Pick the right size bulldozer with the right attachments, like blades, ripper and undercarriage. Too often it seems [buying] a replacement bulldozer is a ‘cut and paste’ exercise without really understanding what is needed, ”says Todd Cole, Caterpillar Large Bulldozer Applications Specialist. “You can never optimize your costs if the wrong size dozer / blade / ripper combination is purchased. “

Charles Murawski, Bulldozer Product Manager for Komatsu, explains that moving massive amounts of material in high production applications requires managers to specify the correct front and rear attachments and undercarriage, based on jobsite conditions.

“For the front attachment, a semi-U or Sigmadozer blade should be selected for slope materials that can be slit upset or for the greatest versatility in general dozer jobs,” says Murawski. “In materials that pile up, the Komatsu Sigmadozer blade can increase productivity by up to 15% compared to the semi-U. For looser materials such as sand and gravel, a full U-blade should be considered. Special applications with low density materials like charcoal, wood chips and scrap require an extra large capacity blade, two to three times the standard capacity.

Although the rear attachment of a large bulldozer is usually a ripper, Murawski points out that a counterweight or a towing winch can be selected if the ground conditions are relatively soft and do not require tearing before dozing off.

“The width of the undercarriage shoes should be as narrow as possible,” he says. “On firm ground, choose shoes that are 24 to 26 inches wide. For loose soils, the Komatsu D155AX-8 LGP with 38 inch wide runners will provide optimal flotation.

Undercarriage costs on bulldozers

The most important factor in reducing the operating costs of large bulldozers is maintenance. Manufacturers focus on undercarriage maintenance, as the undercarriage is universally considered to be a robot’s biggest expense.

4 tips for landing gear maintenance.

“When it comes to getting the most out of undercarriage life, we can’t overlook the fundamentals,” says Matt Goedert, John Deere Road Construction Solutions Marketing Manager. “First, the tension of the tracks. Maintaining proper track tension is an important and controllable factor in undercarriage life. A narrow gauge greatly increases component stresses and increases wear rates; However, too loose running of the tracks will also reduce the life of the undercarriage components and cause uneven wear of the sprockets. The tracks should be adjusted to the correct amount of sag; this procedure is listed on each John Deere bulldozer located on the periodic maintenance chart decal.

“Track tension should be monitored regularly, especially when soil conditions change,” Goedert explains. “Increased soil moisture, for example, can cause compaction of the gables and a tighter track. It is important to make sure that your machine is correctly configured for the application. In this example, recessed sprocket segments and track shoes with trapezoidal holes would be beneficial in extending undercarriage life, as both options help reduce material compaction and allow material to escape. .

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