Contractors invest in automated equipment to get the job done faster and better. The new Proactive Dozing Control (PDC) feature on Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) dozers is helping contractors get more out of their investments by increasing the range of applications where automatics can be employed.
Proactive Dozing Control is a game-changing technology that takes data from the dozer’s satellite positioning systems and records the topography as the dozer tracks. With that information stored in the system, the machine “learns” the surface of the existing grade and uses the data to predict the nature of the surrounding surface, including areas you haven’t tracked yet. That “knowledge” makes the dozer smarter, smoother, more powerful, and better able to predict the most efficient course of action.
Steve Houlette, a foreman with RT Vernal Paving, is a big fan of PDC. RT Vernal owns three iMC dozers—two D61i models and a D39i.
“There is no guesswork involved. We have a model (in the machine) that we go by, and we stick to it. With PDC, the machine helps figure out how much we’re pushing and the most efficient way to do something,” said Houlette, who has more than two decades experience as an operator. He also manages all modeling for RT Vernal’s iMC machines.
“The biggest advantage I see is that our time spent grading is so much shorter than if we didn’t have it,” he said. Between not having to wait for stakes to be set and the machine knowing how much to push, “the time savings are substantial.” The automatics are so precise that operators can use a larger machine to speed a project, he added.
“The D61i will do big dozer work, but it’s small enough for fine grading. We use it to grade aggregate bases for parking lots because we like the spreading function and the precision. We’re using a big machine for what we’d usually use a smaller machine for, so we’re completing the grading in half the time.”
In cut-and-carry operations, the automatics eliminate guesswork because the system senses when the blade is fully loaded. “Why spend more time digging? Carry it where it has to go and get another blade full,” Houlette said. “It’s good for a new operator who doesn’t have a feel for when the blade is full. It helps experienced operators, too. It comes down to the time you spend guessing or feeling out the work. PDC puts hard science and technology behind everything you do.”
RT Vernal operators trust PDC, so they’ve increased the amount of time they use the machine in automatics mode, he noted. “Once we’re in automatics, we leave it there. We know the dozer is going to react how we want. There have been times we’ve had to grade over shallow utilities, and we’ve had so much trust in the responsiveness of the dozer that we left it in automatics.”
“As operators use automatics more and more, contractors see a higher return on their investment in iMC equipment,” noted Mike Fenster, manager of Columbus Equipment Company’s Smart Construction Division. Machines with PDC are often operated in automatics mode up to 50% of the time, compared to the high single digits for traditional automatics, which means projects are getting done faster and better.
The Proactive Dozing Control firmware update is available on Dash-24 models of the D51i and D61i. Contact Smart Construction Division Manager Mike Fenster at (614) 802-7099, or your local Columbus Equipment Company sales rep for more information on PDC or to answer any questions you have about iMC equipment generally.