Cat Smart Dozer cut a skid steer’s time to finished grade with no GPS
By Larry StewartJanuary 25, 2023
Caterpillar installs digital intelligence directly on the new Cat GB120 and GB124 Smart Dozer Blade attachments for Cat D3-Series skid steer and compact track loaders to give the attachments the Slope Assist and Stable Blade features that have proven so effective at improving dedicated dozer production. These onboard features improve pretty much all operators’ speed to finished grade without requiring a GPS signal or uploading a digital plan file.
The Smart Dozer Blade attachment brings six-way power/angle/tilt functionality designed for cutting, moving, and grading
virtually any material used as a base. The D3 Series host machine’s ECM recognizes the attachment and unlocks display screens specifically created to allow the operator to select how the blade is controlled.
Tailor controls to rough or fine grading
Selecting the attachment-control mode changes the standard joystick functions (left for travel, right for boom and bucket) and allows the left joystick to continue to control travel, while the right joystick now operates blade functions – tilt (move the joystick side-to-side), lift (move the joystick fore and aft), and angle (rotate the thumb wheel to the front or back). In addition, the operator can
select either a “lift” mode or a “tilt” mode to change which cylinders (lift-arm or bucket) control major blade functions, tailoring the machine to either rough grading or fine grading.
Intelligence that cuts passes
The Assist feature helps the operator get smoother grades in fewer passes by coordinating machine and blade movement. The loader’s ECM compares its position from the inertial measurement unit (IMU) to
information from the blade’s position sensors to stabilize the moldboard even as the loader rises and falls over uneven terrain. The computer is faster than a human operator at raising and lowering the dozer blade when terrain begins to pitch the loader forward or back (see the video below). Like the Stable Blade feature on Cat dozers, this makes it much easier to trim to a flat surface, allowing the operator to concentrate on building or cutting material to achieve the desired grade.
Assist also adds blade-slope control functions. The Smart Dozer Blade has a memory that allows the operator to save a chosen blade slope and recall that slope at the touch of a joystick button. A double press on the memory button will mirror the memorized blade slope to the opposite side. Pressing a left-joystick button returns the blade slope to zero when the machine is on a level surface.