Komatsu iMC Proactive Dozing Control: NEXT-GENERATION, EARTHMOVING EFFICIENCY
Mar 19, 2020, 14:22 PM by Jeff Richards
Komatsu’s intelligent Machine Control (iMC) system has been a game changer for contractors, and the new Proactive Dozing Control (PDC) mode is going to up your game even more. With Proactive Dozing, you can use the automatics on your iMC dozer for all dozing operations, not just finish grading and regardless of the cut or fill to design. That means improved efficiency throughout the process.
The PDC mode uses the dozer’s satellite positioning to “learn” the surface of the existing grade. As the dozer tracks, it records and stores topographical information. It also processes that information to interpolate what the surface surrounding the dozer is like, even where you haven’t tracked. With this data, the machine can be predictive, smoother, and more productive.
“For years in machine control, we’ve known two things—the exact position of the blade and the design surface we’re trying to get to. The machine would simply calculate the difference. Adding this third piece of information, the grade of the dirt we’re on, allows the machine to be predictive in how it’s going to attack the grade,” explained Mike Fenster, manager of Columbus Equipment Company’s SmartConstruction Division.
Proactive Dozer Control makes the dozer intuitive in cut-and-carry operations. With iMC, the dozer knows when the blade is full, but hills or valleys in the terrain can cause the machine to lose material or push too hard. “With PDC, the machine knows the grade in front of you and it will trace the existing surface, carrying the load to where you want it. It will maintain a full blade of dirt until you decide to pile it out,” Fenster said.
PDC also automates spreading material over an existing surface. If you’ve cleared a parking lot and need to spread stone to a specific depth, for instance, simply input the depth of stone needed. Using its knowledge of the terrain, the machine will do it automatically, compensating for any overdigging by filling in the dips.
Proactive Dozing is also useful in stripping topsoil, which typically requires an experienced operator. With PDC, just lower the blade until you reach clay, then input the depth and let the automatics take over. PDC vastly expands the range of applications where you can use automatics, while traditional automated dozing is often limited to finish grading. “On machines with PDC, we’re seeing the percentage of time when automatics are being utilized increase from the high single digits to almost 50%,” Fenster noted.
Columbus Equipment Company has received a very positive response to the feature, he added. “Owners who have made an investment in automatics are seeing results. Operators using automatics are getting jobs done faster and better.” Automated operation also results in less wear and tear on machines.
PDC helps close the skills gap because the machine can perform like an experienced operator, even when a newer operator is at the controls. In fact, Komatsu engineers studied how highly-experienced operators handle a dozer while they were developing the PDC logic, said Derek Morris, Komatsu’s product marketing manager for iMC and SmartConstruction.
But PDC also has a feature for more experienced operators who sometimes resist using automatics because they think it takes away their expertise. With PDC, they can finetune the automatics’ blade control. “An operator can push the blade to go deeper, for instance, and the machine will remember—it will maintain the automatics but cut more through the push,” Fenster said. In iMC machines without PDC, the machine only maintains the change as long as the operator holds the lever.
The Proactive Dozing Control software update is currently available on Dash-24 models of the D51i and D61i. Contact SmartConstruction Division Manager Mike Fenster at (614) 802-7099, or your local, Columbus Equipment Company sales rep for more information on PDC, or on iMC equipment generally.
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