The new Proactive Dozing Control (PDC) feature on Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) dozers is helping Ohio contractors get the job done faster and more accurately than ever before because automatics on the dozer are now available for all dozing operations.
Proactive Dozing Control uses data from the dozer’s satellite positioning systems to track, store and record topographical information as the dozer tracks. The machine processes the information to “learn” the surface of the existing grade and to predict what the surrounding surface—including areas where you haven’t tracked—looks like. The data allows the machines to be smoother, predictive, and more powerful.
PDC is game-changing technology because it allows you to use automatics in a much wider range of applications, whereas traditional automated dozing is typically limited to finish grading. “In fact, machines with PDC are often operated in automatic modes up to 50% of the time, compared to the high single digits for traditional automatics,” according to Mike Fenster, manager of Columbus Equipment Company’s Smart Construction Division.
Increasing the use of automatics gives contractors a higher return on investment for their iMC equipment, Fenster added. “Owners who have made an investment in automatics are seeing results. Operators using automatics are getting jobs done faster and better.”
The ability to stay in automatics mode really appeals to Kenny Heitzenrater, a dozer operator for Cavanaugh Building Corporation. “You don’t have to turn the system on and off all the time. You can just turn it on and let it go,” he said.
Heitzenrater, who has 30 years of experience as an operator, finds the cut-and carry function very useful because with Proactive Dozing Control, “you don’t have to worry about the blade trying to go all the way down to grade” on the first pass. Instead, “it adjusts itself. It just cuts in until it fills the blade,” and he can carry the load where he wants. With PDC, the dozer knows the grade of the surface in front of it and traces the existing surface rather than losing material when it moves over hills or valleys.
Cavanaugh owns a D61i, and Heitzenrater uses the PDC system for cut-and-carry operations, excavation, and spreading topsoil or stone. “It will knock down and spread 20 tons of stone in two passes,” the operator said. PDC makes spreading material highly automatic, because it already knows the terrain you’ve dozed. You simply input the depth of stone needed and the automatics take care of the rest.
Proactive Dozing Control is also very useful in stripping topsoil, a job that usually requires an experienced operator. With PDC, the operator just has to lower the blade until he reaches clay. At that point he can input the depth and the automatics take over. 
Dave Mason, a survey manager for Mosser Construction, finds that Proactive Dozing Control is particularly beneficial in stripping topsoil. “You don’t have to worry about overstripping,” he said. “The machine’s ability to store variations in elevation to help keep you on grade is fantastic.”
Steve Houlette, a foreman with RT Vernal Paving & Excavating who has 20 years of operating experience, agrees with Fenster that PDC is encouraging operators to use automatics more often. “The operators here leave it in automatics because we know the dozer is going to react how we want it to. We really trust in the responsiveness of the dozer,” he said.
The Proactive Dozing Control software update is currently 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.