The dozer has many names – sometimes, it is called a crawler loader, but the proper term is a bulldozer. What makes the dozer so unique and common? Let’s find out together in this piece.
The Bulldozer Explained.
The dozer’s powerful demolition capabilities make it ideal for a wide range of applications in mining and construction. The dozer comes in handy during earthmoving processes, such as excavation, dirt levelling, and digging.
It is ideally created for the rough terrains. This is why it only moves on heavy metal tracks. You will hardly see a bulldozer on a finished asphalt or concrete. You can use a dozer to clear a worksite of debris and rubies, in road building, as well as snow ploughing, asphalt tear ups, and other heavy-duty maintenance.
The Versatility of the Bulldozer
As mentioned earlier, the bulldozer is used across the board. This is because of how excellently they handle the pushing task. Bulldozers have large flat blades that help to push and move large amounts of dirt; therefore, they are valuable in the farming, mining, and construction sectors.
When combined with other heavy equipment, the bulldozer can do more than pushing. For instance, it can help a great deal in any excavation project. Sometimes, the bulldozer works alongside digging machines and earth moving equipment.
It’s also important to mention the dozer’s ability to use multiple blade types. This makes the bulldozer even more versatile. So, if you are not using the dozer to push soil and dirt, you can use it for bush clearing and waste disposal. Other common uses include truck loading, grinding down rocks, and surface grading.
Lastly, dozers help in clearing vegetation in preparation for foundation digging.
The Makers of Bulldozers
You have quite many options to choose from when looking for manufacturers of bulldozers. Equipment manufacturers have continued to improve on their bests to put out state-of-the-art bulldozers of different sizes and models. You can rest assured of finding the right dozer for any project.
You can either buy or rent a bulldozer, with options ranging from 15,000 lbs to 200,000 lbs. that said, here are the most common makers of bulldozers out there.
The amalgamation of Holt Manufacturing Company and C. L. Best Tractor Company birthed Caterpillar in 1925. Benjamin Holt of the Holt Manufacturing Company holds the credit for the name “Caterpillar” – a term attributed to the way the machine crawled along the ground.
Over the years, Caterpillar (CAT) has grown into a renowned heavy equipment and machinery brand. It boasts over a hundred manufacturing plants in different parts of the world. Its impressive collection comprises 24 distinct kinds of vehicles.
Interestingly, there are different types of dozers in CAT’s collection. There are dozers under 105 hp – the small dozers. These are designed to offer maximum speed and transportability. The medium dozers, on the other hand, focus on productivity and multifunctionality. The smaller CAT bulldozer models include the D5K2, D4K2, and D3K2, while the medium-sized models include D6 and D7E.
Komatsu started in 1917 as a Japanese brand. However, by 1970, it has extended its tentacles into North America. The name ‘Komatsu’ was derived from a city in the Hokuriku region of Japan called Komatsu. The meaning in English is “little pine tree.”
Komatsu ranks top among other manufacturers and suppliers of heavy equipment worldwide. In fact, it is the second-largest producer of machines. You will find Komatsu machines in almost every industry you can think of – compact construction, forestry, construction, and mining, amongst others.
Small bulldozers from Komatsu are within the 70 and 150 hp range; the mid-sizers are between 151 and 260 hp, and the large dozers range between 361 and 500 hp. Mining dozers are offering over 500 hp. For instance, the D155AX-8 is a large dozer by Komatsu renowned for its remote-control capabilities.
John Deere and Co.
In 1837, John Deere, a former blacksmith, founded this company in his name. John invented the polished steel plough as a tool to help prairie farmers turn the then hard soil. Since then, the John Deere Company has had several inventions in its name, making it a top name in the equipment industry.
At the moment, you will find a wide range of heavy equipment in JD and Co collection, including different kinds of crawl loaders. There are also small bulldozers like the 80 hp JP 450K, which offers an operating weight of around 19,000 lbs or 9,000 kg.
The largest bulldozer on the JD and Co list is the 1050K crawler dozer with 43,100 kg or 95,000 lbs operating weight and 350 hp. Considering the diverse options available, you can rest assured of finding the right dozer for any job in the JD collection.
Hans Liebherr founded the Liebherr Group in 1949. The Swiss Company started with manufacturing aeroplane parts and tower cranes. But over the years, it has delved into building mining and digging equipment. Today, Liebherr is known for excavators, telescopic handlers (telehandlers), dump trucks, loaders, and other types of equipment.
Liebherr is apparently on this list because it makes bulldozers. Bulldozers from this company are known for their durability, efficiency, performance, and comfort. Some of its crawler tractors include the PR 716 and 726 Litronic, which can move as fast as 11km/h while offering operating weights of up to 44,092 lbs or 20,000 kg. There is also the PR 776 Litronic – the largest bulldozer from Liebherr. Its operating weight is 161,354 lbs or 73,189 kg.
The Common Bulldozer Models
Let’s start with the D7E from CAT. This dozer has a 238-hp engine that does minimize not only emissions but also fuel consumption. It uses a diesel-electric powertrain.
Next is the 700K bulldozer from John Deere. It packs a 130 hp engine that runs at 1800 rpm. The operating weight is within 30-275 and 31,290 lbs or 13,733 and 14,193 kg. Alongside other John Deere’s K-Series Bulldozers, the 700K has a standard Eco mode, which offers improved fuel efficiency. The cabs are quite spacious for maximum comfort. The 700K works with blades with a width up to 168 inches, making it suitable for most jobs.
The last on this list is the mid-sized bulldozers from Komatsu – the D61PX and D61EX. Both offer a net horsepower of 125 and 168 respectively. They both run at 2,200 rpm. You get up to 94,798 lbs or 43,000 kg in operating weights. The operational efficiency from both dozers is impressive, alongside their minimal fuel consumption. If you want a versatile dozer to work with, these two should be your top considerations.
Using the Dozer Safely
Like any other heavy equipment out there, there are certain safety protocols you must observe when using the dozers. This is why only people that are adequately trained in the handling of bulldozers should use them. Any mistake or incorrect use of the dozer or any other heavy equipment can lead to serious problems.
To get started, here are some safety protocols to adhere to when operating a dozer.
- Always report any potential repairs or safety concerns for immediate attention.
- Do not leave the bulldozer unattended without setting the parking brake. The parking brake in bulldozers helps to secure the equipment from rolling or moving when idle. If you cannot turn off the equipment completely before leaving, then set the parking brake.
- Be more careful when running on uneven terrain. Using a bulldozer on rough terrain requires caution. It is essential to ensure the tracks are straight up and down on a slope. Do not miss the centre of gravity. More importantly, do not forget to use your seat belt.
- Do not move without checking the blind spots. Like every other heavy equipment, driving the bulldozer requires you to be aware of your immediate environment. There are several modern techs you can use to get the best visibility, including spotters.
- Do not operate a dozer without wearing the proper PPE, including reflective vests, safety clothing, hearing protection, safety shoes, and hard hats. It does not matter if you are sitting in the cab or not, always wear your personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Ensure your dozer is adequately maintained and preventative maintenance is adhered to. This includes ensuring the bulldozer track and undercarriage are in good shapes. You should also perform daily circle assessment, and document the conditions of the machine pictorially in case of an accident.
Relevant Training to Operate a Dozer
Every heavy equipment operators must undergo training and instruction before they can use the equipment. While there may not be certifications to this effect, an employee or potential operator is required to undergo training in the areas of safe operation of equipment and how to identify and avoid hazardous conditions.
Only people who have had proper training are allowed to operate heavy equipment. So, if you are going to drive a piece of new machinery, always ask for the necessary training. By putting safety first, you are protecting yourself and the people around you.
The Timeline of the Bulldozer
Let’s go down memory lane about the bulldozer.
What is known today as a bulldozer started as bits and pieces manufactured over several years.
In 1713, a French man named M. D’Hermand built a trailer with a crawler-thread that relied on goats to move. In another unrelated development, Dmitry Zagrayazhsky and George Cayley of Russian and British origin respectively built a continual-track system for equipment. However, the process stopped at the design and prototype stage.
Two centuries later, Benjamin Holt’s Holt Farm originally built the dozer’s tracks for a tractor in 1904. Holt wanted to improve the functionality of his steam tractor. Hence, he made the track that allowed it to run in soft and uneven terrains. After installing the new tracks, the steam tractor started crawling – like a caterpillar. Then he named the new machine a “Caterpillar.”
The Dozer Blade
A bulldozer wouldn’t be one without the all-important blade. The blade was designed by a draftsman – J. Earl McLeod and a farmer – James Cummings. They came up with a large flat metal blade that could fit in the front of a tractor. They got a patent for their invention on January 6, 1925, and it was called an “Attachment for Tractors.”
The Making of the Bulldozer
We can attribute the making of the bulldozer to the work of three people – J. Earl McLeod, James Cummings, and Benjamin Holt. Holt built the continual-track, which later found useful application in World War I tanks, and other heavy equipment later. The blade signalled the completion of the bulldozer, which is now used extensively worldwide.
By 1930, there were three common types of bulldozer blades. These include the curved U-blade, which is used in carrying and pushing dirt, the flat metal blade, which is used for spreading dirt, and the brush rake, which is used as a brush or root.
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The Modern Dozer
The current bulldozer is a product of a series of improvements over time. These bulldozers are suitable for a wide range of projects. They are strong, powerful, and built in different sizes to handle various types of tasks. So, whether it is an earthmoving task or demolition, the dozer will take it on. They are also great for excavation, road work, farming, and mining.
Frequently Asked Questions – the Dozer
Here are some commonly asked questions about the bulldozer;
- Can the dozer get stuck, and how can you remedy the situation?
Your bulldozer may get stuck somewhere. Dozers have tracks instead of tyres. Tracks ensure even weight distribution, which makes them ideal for soft terrains. That said, a dozer can get stuck in mud or soft ground.
A stuck dozer can pose serious problems. Hence, it is best to prevent the situation. Here is how you can prevent your bulldozer from getting stuck;
- Assess the plans of the worksite before moving the bulldozers around. This helps you to identify were drainage ditches, caverns, holes, or cisterns are present. Avoid these places.
- Walk around the site physically to identify debris and other dangerous materials the site map may have missed. Such hazardous materials may cause harm for the dozer and other heavy equipment.
- Watch out for hidden sinkholes, big patches of water, or wet spots. Uneven and low grounds are common culprits too.
- Poke the ground using a stake. If some parts of the ground give way to the stake, it means the area isn’t suitable for a bulldozer.
- Always use a dozer that suits the size of the job. With a small bulldozer, you spend less on rent and fuelling, plus it is easier to get them out if they are stuck. Only consider giant bulldozers when it is necessary.
- Avoid using a dozer if you find any other safety hazard on the site. Remove these hazards or wait until they clear before using the dozer.
- Are dozers available for rent?
Yes, you can always rent a bulldozer for your projects, either daily, weekly, or monthly. All you have to do is find a reliable supplier.
- What is the cost of renting a dozer?
There is no specific cost of renting a dozer. Factors like the location, size of the dozer, and duration all play an essential role in the pricing. That said, a small-sized bulldozer would be cheaper to rent.
- Is a dozer suitable for removing tree stumps?
Yes, you can use a dozer to remove tree stumps. You can check online videos and resources to get specific instructions on how to remove tree stumps using bulldozers.