ECI - Updated: on 2019-08-21 10:01:52 - By Marie ANDRE

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Bulldozer

A powerful and massive construction site equipment

 

The bulldozer is a powerful and important machine for construction, especially for levelling. Review of the multiple uses of the machine that has established itself and stays unbeatable in the construction equipment industry.

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Where does it come from?

The bulldozer is a heavy and powerful machine, on wheels or on tracks, equipped with a front blade  to push materials or level the ground. It can be equipped with different types of blades but as well as drawn tools. It comes from the USA, where at the beginning of the 20th century, farming tractors were transformed to be used in logging or road construction. Over time, dozers have evolved, the use of tracks increases, numerous accessories are made for different types of operations and  its use is more and more important in America. It is only from the 40s and after the Second World War, that dozers make their way to Europe. Then, it evolved thanks to the technological advances of the time such as the hydraulic mechanism, it became more powerful and sophisticated and continue being perfected and benefit from progress thanks to new technologies.

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 Los diferentes usos de un bulldozer

The different uses of a dozer

Despite its massive characteristics and low mobility, the dozer is extremely versatile. Its important power allows it to be efficient for lots of uses, especially for:

  • - Earth-moving and ground levelling
  • - Topsoil stripping
  • - Deforestation and vegetation clearing
  • - Ground screed and scraping
  • - Stone extraction, slipping
  • - Push scraper
  • - Structure demolition

These uses are usual in the construction industry, yet dozers can efficiently be used for other uses such as snow removal or clearing of congested areas. Finally, equipped with a shielding, it can be used for military purposes: clear mines, demolish obstacles and clear out rubbles in order to open itineraries.

Technical characteristics

There are two types of dozers:

  • - Wheel dozers offer an increased mobility and a better versatility. Contrary to tracked vehicles, they can go on the road.
  • - Tracked dozers have better traction on soft terrains thanks to their larger contact surface with the ground.

Tracked dozers are perceptibly lighter than wheel dozers but their weight is still important : from 5 tons for the smallest models (calfdozers) and up to 100 tons for the bigger models. The engine range for these machines is between 25 and 1.000 hp. These characteristics give dozers its well-know identity. The identity of a machine to which nothing can resist.

The front equipment of a dozer is a blade that can measure between 1,80 m to 6 m, the same width as the machine. Several types of blades can equip the machine (that will then have another name)  to be used for different types of work. Thus, it will be called a tiltdozer when equipped with a blade that can tilt on a vertical plane, it is a tipdozer when you can vary the angle of the blade and   angledozer for blades that horizontally move.

The back equipments are usually optional but add versatility to the machine. It can be a ripper with one or several teeth (called rooter) and is used for ripping. The winch is used to pull heavy loads.

 

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The utmost importance of safety rules

The bulldozer is an imposing machine and it is important to follow a precise protocole to ensure safety rules are complied with. Work on slope, in humid or obstructed areas, the use of a dozer can be difficult. Concentration is important when using the ripper because the driver needs to watch the back and the front of the machine, or when using a wheel dozer since it has a lower adhesion on the ground than tracks. Simple actions such as the safety belt use, wearing a hearing protection (the decibels are important inside the cab), or  wearing sunglasses when working a clear terrain, are essential.

 
 

The main dozer manufacturers

The most emblematic manufacturer of dozers is probably Caterpillar. Manuafacturer of oversized dozers such as the famous Caterpillar D11 and supplier for the American army, Caterpillar now has an undoubted reputation. 

Other makes have stood out with innovative models and now occupy an important part of the market, such as Liebherr that manufactures machines that are more and more efficient, such as the PR 766 and Komatsu, Japanese group that put on the market the biggest dozer in the world, the D 575 weighing more than 152 tons for 1 150 hp.

New Holland, Shantui, Fiat, or Case are other bulldozer and equipment manufacturers that proved their reliability.

 

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Evolution and technical innovation of bulldozers

Through the years, bulldozers have evolved and benefited from technologic progress. The safety norms have been upgraded and increased as well as their performances. Like many vehicles, they now use little energy, reduce their environmental impact while keeping the same power.

Bulldozers are complex machines and lots of their characteristics are bound by innovation. Thus, deformable tracks offer an outstanding grip and the hydraulic cylinder system are more robust than ever. The new technologies also brings important progress to the automation of bulldozers, equipped with slope sensors, level difference and orientation calculator, the work can be done to the millimeter, faster and with an impressive efficiency.

We still are a long way from robotisation but who knows ? Maybe tomorrow we will see dozers and other machines working autonomously ? It is too soon to say it, however it is certain that improvements and innovations are still to come.

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