Using a Bulldozer

bulldozerConsisting of two main parts, a bulldozer is operated by a blade and the machine’s base.? The majority of the bulldozer’s functions are operated by various controls that are located on the base of the machine. Only one of these mechanisms control the bulldozer’s blade.

While a dozer is not overly complicated to operate, you should definitely learn how to use it by someone that is experienced in using this piece of construction equipment. Moreover, it’s the actual machine controls that can seem complicated; driving a bulldozer is rather easy.

Operating a Dozer

Like most riding machines, a dozer must be powered on with a key. Similar to a car, by inserting the key into the ignition and turning, the bulldozer will rev with power. After the machine has been turned on, you’re ready to start driving. At this point, you will need to use the joystick that is generally positioned to the left of the machine in order to control your movement. Even though the joystick is not overly difficult to use, you should definitely know exactly how to use it in order to safely operate the machine.

bulldozer in actionTo successfully use the joystick, you will push it in the exact direction that you would like the dozer to go. While you are driving the large piece of machinery, if you notice that you are going too fast, simply use the decelerator pedal to slow down.

The decelerator pedal will not stop the dozer like the brake pedal. It will only slow the machine down.

Different than the brake pedal, the decelerator pedal is located directly next to the brake.? After you have started moving the machine, it will be time to use the blade. In order to use the bulldozer’s blade, locate the joystick control on the right side of the machine. Similar to the bulldozer’s direction joystick, this mechanism will completely control the movement of the blade.

Uses for This Construction Equipment

Used to level a specific mass of land, you can use the joystick to lower the blade till it is in contact with the ground. Once the blade is touching the ground, use the dozer’s movement joystick to move the machine forward. By doing this, you will allow the bulldozer to pick up the ground while leaving a smooth, flat surface behind it. After you are satisfied with the amount of earth that has been scooped up, simply move the bulldozer to where you would like to place the dirt.

There’s no question that a bulldozer is a very useful piece of construction equipment.? Making the machine even more attractive to use is its usability. As long as you are properly trained on operating a bulldozer, you will quickly realize how beneficial and easy to use the machine is. In fact, a bulldozer can always be quit fun to operate.

Dozer Machinery Unveiled

Dozer vs Bulldozer

Bulldozer
The bulldozer is a frequently used piece of heavy equipment.

Commonly known as the bulldozer, the large dozer machine has been around for centuries. ?These machines have assisted construction workers in breaking ground and moving around large, heavy piles of dirt, metal, rocks and other large masses.

Initially used by engineers, construction crews and architects, many companies began producing their own version of the heavy machinery. These companies include: the Caterpillar Tractor Company, John Deere, CAT, Terex, Fiat-Allis, Liebherr, Komatsu, International Harvester and JCB.? Previously much louder, larger and much less efficient, the dozer quickly became a necessary piece of equipment used to complete a wide array of earthmoving projects.

The Dozer: A Rich History

First invented in 1923 by James Cummings and Earl McLeod, the first dozer

was originally modified to resemble the Holt farm tractors.? By the late 1920’s, the enormous piece of equipment was greatly improved and reintroduced to the construction world by the now global company, ?Caterpillar Incorporated as the Caterpillar 60.

Greatly advancing its technology by the 1940’s, the bulldozer adopted rubber tires enabling it to dig large canals, raise broken dams and move large mounds of earth.? As technology continued to advance, so were the capabilities of the dozer.

Now, coming fully equipped with automatic transmissions, razor sharp hydraulic cylinders and electric motors, there isn’t much that the powerful dozer can’t do.? In addition to these immense improvements to machinery, certain manufacturers like Leica Geosystems, Trimble, Inc. and Topcon Positioning Systems now enable bulldozers with GPS tracking capabilities.

The Different Blades of a Dozer

Possibly the most important component of the dozer is its blade plate.? Made from a thick metal, the blade is used to move things like rocks, sand and different particle masses. Depending on the type of bulldozer, there are three different blade shapes; the ‘S’ blade, ‘U’ blade and a combination of both the ‘S’ and ‘U’ blades.

The most common blade, the ‘S’ blade, is a relatively straight, short edge that has no arch and no side attachments.

Another blade type that is somewhat common on new age dozers is the Universal blade or ‘U’ blade.? With an all-together different shape than the Straight blade ‘S’ blade this type is tall and extremely curved.? Developed with large side wings, the Universal blade is used to move larger mounds of material.

Finally, the most common blade option is the ‘S-U’ combo.? Generally smaller than the other two blades, the ‘S-U’ combination has smaller side divisions that are used to push large piles of debris.

Regardless of the blade that is being used, the bulldozer part typically attaches to the frame of the piece of machinery either straight across or at a slight angle.

For more advanced attachment options, some blades require an extra ‘tilt cylinder’ to provide more of a curve.? Interestingly, the bulldozer’s blade can actually be sharpened using a special sharpener that allows various objects to be cut down like tree stumps.

When deciding on the appropriate part to use, it’s extremely important to know what the piece of equipment is being used for.

The Future Of Construction Equipment: What To Expect

Construction Equipment Technology

An important part of many industrial operations over the past century has been construction equipment. Companies like Caterpillar, Case, Komatsu and Deere have made continuous advancements in the capabilities and safety features of these machines, making them the useful tools they are today.
These same heavy equipment manufacturers continue to develop new machines with improved features aimed at:

  • Lowering maintenance costs
  • Decreasing operation costs
  • Increasing machine versatility
  • Improving machine efficiency and reliability

In the years ahead, construction equipment manufacturers will likely be focusing more on improvements in areas like:

  • Increased fuel efficiency
  • Energy conservation
  • Decreased harmful emissions
  • Development and implementation of new machine technologies

Hydraulics – Construction equipment such as excavators, backhoes and loaders rely on hydraulics to lift, load / unload and move materials and objects. New hydraulic technologies are emerging, optimizing both hydraulic flow and pressure including the ability to modulate both. As these improvements are introduced, the efficiency and versatility of the equipment will continue to improve.

Engine – Many construction machines are equipped with diesel engines because they are efficient and reliable. Many improvements to engine controls, fuel injection systems and the engine combustion process are in the works and aim to increase fuel efficiency while decreasing the amount of harmful emissions released into the air.

Computer Systems – Computer systems are being integrated into some new models of construction equipment and will continue to be utilized even more in the future. Computer systems are being used to remotely monitor machine operation, analyze fuel efficiency, control hydraulics, report machine performance and more.

Hybrid Construction Equipment

Hybrid technology has come a long way since hybrid cars were first introduced. Similar hybrid technologies are being used for heavy equipment equipped with diesel engines.

We are already seeing the introduction of hybrid excavators and hybrid bulldozers. The released hybrids are the first and second generations of hybrid construction equipment and offer many advantages including:

  • Dramatically increased fuel efficiency
  • Fuel savings of a 20-ton machine reaching 25% as compared to non-hybrid models is not uncommon.
  • Recovery and reuse of energy
  • Reduction in carbon emissions
  • Decreased operating costs
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Increased machine life

The first hybrid-drive, heavy equipment, construction vehicle was released by Komatsu in 2008. The hybrid excavator was a huge success and many valuable lessons were learned, ushering in newer and improved generations of hybrid equipment.

The third generations of hybrids in the construction field are underway and will likely offer even more impressive advantages for hybrid machine owners.
Future of Construction Equipment
Hybrid technology will most likely be the most dramatic improvements made to construction equipment. However, technologies and advancements are being developed for individual equipment types.

For example, improved hydraulics for excavators and backhoes, which improve lifting capabilities and efficiency, or redesigned bulldozers with increased earth moving power.

The future of construction equipment will likely follow a theme. That theme being “environmentally friendly”, aided in part by emissions regulations set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This means cleaner air, more cost efficient operation and improved fuel efficiency.