Small Caterpillar dozer tech helps make smoother cuts and full blade loads with less track slip

By Larry StewartOctober 05, 2022

Cat D2 with Blade Load Monitor estimates maximum blade load in current conditions and shows the operator how much more the tractor can push without slipping the tracks. Photo: Caterpillar

Caterpillar added automated lift and tilt functionality to its Stable Blade dozer operator-assist feature and created new blade-load monitoring. The company is launching the new features along with extension of assist features and Command remote control for the first time on Cat D1, D2 and D3 small dozers

Electro-hydraulic

Blade Load Monitor in the cab display shows current and optimum loads. AutoCarry will attempt to keep pushes in the optimum load range. Image: Caterpillar

control commonality across Cat Next Generation dozer line eased application of these features that help make smoother cuts and full blade loads with reduced track slip to the small dozers. All these control features are available from the factory now, and can be retrofit to NextGen small dozers built since August 2020.

Operator assist

The Cat operator-assist features expand on existing technologies: Traction Control, Stable Blade and Slope Assist.

“Stable Blade Lift and Tilt, Blade Load Monitor, Traction Control With Low Slip Mode and Auto Carry are a suite of features that work to save time, effort, fuel, wear on your machine and overall costs,” said Derek Furr, product application specialist at Caterpillar.

The Cat Command remote-control station puts the user in a familiar seated position, simulating traditional machine control, with monitors to display output of machine cameras. Photo: Caterpillar

Bundled with the Cat attachment ready option (ARO) with Assist and Grade 3D with Assist packages, new Stable Blade Lift and Tilt improves performance over Stable Blade. The feature combines chassis accelerometers with an advanced control algorithm to automatically make minor blade raise, lower, and left/right tilt commands to compensate for the machine’s movements as it pushes through a cut, resulting in a smoother surface.

New Blade Load Monitor, Low Slip Traction Control and AutoCarry are integrated into Cat Grade 3D with Assist. Blade Load Monitor produces real-time feedback of current machine load versus the target load, helping novice and experienced operators use all of the machine’s capacity. The technology automatically compensates for ground conditions, actively monitoring both machine load and track slippage to give the operator feedback on current load compared to optimal pushing capacity.

“It’s very beneficial, especially for new operators,” said Furr. “It’s difficult to know how much dirt you could actually push with the machine without spinning the tracks, and that’s one of the most in productive things we can do. So we’re trying to make it easier for operators to confirm they are maximizing machine capability.”

With its two operating modes – normal and low slip – Low Slip Traction Control automatically prevents excessive track slip to increase machine efficiency while reducing operator burden. The default normal mode setting automatically limits non-productive track slip when pushing heavy blade loads. Operator-selected low slip mode substantially limits track slip in applications sensitive to any minor track slip such as spreading material on top of a liner.

Working in unison with other operator assist features, AutoCarry automatically raises and lowers the dozer blade to maximize pushing capability and prevent excessive track slippage when pushing heavy loads. When activated by the operator, AutoCarry remains in standby mode until the blade is fully loaded and then automatically engages without the need for Slope Assist or Grade 3D automatics to activate the technology.

“It works with the hydraulic and engine systems, um, to create that optimal machine capability,” said Furr.

Because they rely on Cat Grade 3D with Assist, Blade Load Monitor, Low Slip Traction Control and AutoCarry are not available indoors or in areas where GPS signal is not available.

Faster remote-control installation
Cat Command for line-of-site operation allows all of the functions of the dozer to be remotely operated from a safe distance, eliminating risks from potentially dangerous applications. Photo: Caterpillar

Cat D1 through D3 dozers now offer a RC ready option that simplifies dealer installation of Cat Command for dozing. Cat Command allows the dozers to be remotely operated from a safe distance, eliminating risks from potentially dangerous applications. The system also allows a single operator to operate multiple machines at different locations. The technology helps increase machine productivity and decrease downtime by allowing production to restart immediately following disruptive processes. By integrating with machine electronics, it allows users to retain all the same control they would get operating from inside the cab.

Cat Command for dozing comes in two configurations – line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight control. The ergonomic control layout of the lightweight, over-the-shoulder Command console provides line-of-sight machine control from up to 1,300 feet away, allowing for convenient remote operation. Ensuring the user maintains dozer control at all times, integrated Cat electronics activate multiple safety features to stop all machine movements under several conditions: the all-stop switch is pressed; command stop is activated; wireless communication is lost; a severe fault is detected; or the Command console is tilted more than 45 degrees from normal operator position.

The customized non-line-of-site Command station positions the user in a familiar and comfortable seated position, simulating traditional machine control. A single station allows users to control multiple Cat machines one at a time, and it is compatible with other Command offerings for Cat equipment. Station components include machine joystick and foot pedal controls plus a touchscreen mount for machine control. Universal screen mounts are included for dozer camera displays.

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