Published on: Jul 11, 2017
One major challenge for dozer manufacturers is to find ways to work around the basic working principle of the machines – more power always needs more fuel. The milestone to achieve here is more power without additional infusion of fuel. A number of mechanical improvements like higher injection pressure, custom design of the piston and combustion chamber, turbo-charging and some others can improve combustion efficiency to a certain extent by extracting more power from each unit of fuel. However, the fundamentals don’t change because more power would still need more fuel, which explains why there’s a direct correlation between power generation and fuel consumption.
This is where electronics and automation come in with specific improvements in the dozers that cover the inadequacies of even new recruits in a dozer fleet crew. Since it boils down to cost of operations, which in turn is directly related to the amount of fuel a crew uses up or the percentage of repairs from their handling of the dozers, the need for electronics, load management and automation systems become that much more important. A dozer produces power in proportion to the amount of fuel in its tank. Reducing its power during less demanding applications can help reduce fuel consumption but will performance remain the same? The balance needed here is to reduce power with no loss of performance and that becomes possible with electronics and automation.
In the era of smart machines, there are many functions that humans operating such machines aren’t required to do anymore. Similarly, dozers have also embraced smart technology to increase efficiency and safety. For instance, when the power eco mode is reduced, for work that requires less power, the engine speed (rpms) reduces by say, 10% while electronics take control of the engine speed and manages to balance it with the hydraulic system. Thereafter, when the engine needs full power, after the work requiring less power is accomplished, the system returns back to eco mode. Use of GPS systems has also made a tremendous difference to the output capacity of not just dozers but all other construction equipment.
The other improvements to dozer technology include reduced noise, better ergonomics, improved visibility and easier access to service points. John Bauer, brand marketing manager, Case Construction Equipment, says “The industry will always need skilled operators, but smart technology like machine control and automation can certainly speed up the learning process for inexperienced operators. These technologies also make seasoned operators more efficient, allowing them to focus less on precision grading and more on safe operation on the jobsite.”