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Dozer tips for saving fuel, boosting production

Productivity and fuel consumption are dependent on factors such as site geography, including level or sloping ground, as well as material composition.

Since a dozer mostly operates at full power using its own weight, it is difficult to save fuel while working. However, there are some tricks you can use to optimise your production, while minimising fuel consumption.

This article refers to operational data from the Komatsu D155-6 dozer but the fuel ?efficiency data shown here may vary, ?depending on the actual work site, machine condition and operator skill.

There are four tips for dozer fuel consumption and greater productivity:
? Avoidance of high idling/running the engine.
? Work from the front of the dozing zone.
? Doze on a downhill slope.
? Other important factors, eg shoe and blade slippage.

AVOID HIGH IDLING
When waiting for a truck at the dump, reduce fuel consumption by avoiding high idling whenever possible. In a long wait between dozing jobs, turn off the engine altogether.

Use either your low idle option or depress the decelerator pedal to slow down the engine speed.

Komatsu?s test results from adopting these practices show that:
? Switching from high idle to low idle for 30 minutes a day saves 1710 litres of fuel a year.
? Turning the engine off rather than idling for one hour a day saves 2430 litres a year.

START WORKING FROM THE FRONT OF YOUR DOZING ZONE
The most effective way to doze on level ground is to shorten the distance you are pushing a full load by dozing ?front to back?.

Using this technique, start from point A, which is three to five metres back from point X at the forefront of the dozing area.

After finishing dozing from point A, move further back in increments of three to five metres each time to start a blade load.

This method increases full load in the blade each time because you are establishing a downward gradient, plus it enhances productivity by keeping the digging ground even.

In contrast, repeated dozing from ?back to front? lengthens the pushing distance and requires additional blade control (up/down operation) to prevent shoe slippage.

Consequently, the dozed ground easily becomes uneven, making it more difficult to keep a full load in the blade.

Compared with the ?back to front? method, the ?front to back? method can improve fuel efficiency (productivity per litre) by 11 per cent.

DOZE ON A DOWNHILL SLOPE
Wherever possible, you can significantly improve productivity and enhance fuel efficiency (productivity per litre) by dozing on a downhill slope, using gravity to assist your dozing.

Compared with dozing on level ground, downhill dozing allows you to dig and carry a much larger amount of material. Dozing time is also faster, leading to higher productivity.

While fuel consumption per hour is the same, dozing a downhill slope of seven degrees increases blade capacity 20 per cent compared with dozing on level ground and using the same engine power.

Dozing downhill also harnesses the weight of the dozer, so you can expect greater efficiency, particularly from larger blades such as Full-U (Fully Universal) blades.

Further, reversing up a seven degree downhill slope in reverse second gear (R2) results in more fuel efficiency than reverse first gear (R1). Less fuel is consumed in R1 – since the speed is lower, the dozer can travel 20 per cent further in R2 with the same amount of fuel.

Productivity is lower when dozing uphill since you are working against gravitational force. However, fuel consumption may not increase because it takes longer for each cycle of dozing earth uphill.

OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS
(a) Avoid shoe slippage and stalling.
Dozing or ripping while shoes are slipping or keeping the torque converter stalled will increase fuel consumption and cause irregular wear on your undercarriage.

(b) Doze again in material where getting a full load is difficult. Where it is difficult to fill the blade due to hard ground or rocky material, reverse after the first pass and doze in the opposite direction, which will allow you to fill the blade as much as possible before carrying the material.

(c) Minimise blade spillage. You can improve operating efficiency by minimising spillage from the blade while dozing. One method to achieve this is slot dozing, which is useful at sites where material is prone to spill from the side of the blade due to large loads of relatively soft earth or movement down the hill, and at sites where the load must be carried a long way, ie:
? The digging procedure should be in the order 1 through to 3.
? The depth of the trench should not exceed the height of the blade.
? The space between trenches should be approximately half the width of the blade.

Source: Komatsu Australia

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