Proactive Dozing Control logic: “revolutionizing” dozer machine control

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Proactive Dozing Control logic, an industry-first from Komatsu, helps operators deliver precision work

Komatsu America Corp’s new Proactive Dozing Control logic is capable of delivering the technique of a 30-year veteran, regardless of who is sitting in the dozer cab.

Komatsu recently introduced the industry-first, fully-integrated dozing control system that allows operators to perform auto-stripping, auto-spreading and high production dozing, as well as finish grading.

“This technology is going to revolutionize machine control as we know it today. It’s on the forefront of the jobsite of the future,” said Derek Morris, product marketing manager for intelligent machine control and smart construction for Komatsu. “This is proof that our machines are getting smarter, better and performing in ways they never have before.”

Available on the Komatsu D51EXi-24, D51PXi-24, D61EXi-24 and D61PXi-24 dozers, Komatsu’s Proactive Dozing Control logic is built on the company’s existing intelligent machine control.

Previously, GPS machine control focused on finish grading, meaning operators would typically only use the system 10 to 20 per cent of the time.

“We want our customers to think outside of what the norm is. This system allows them to do that and utilize it 100 per cent of the time,” said Michael Salyers, senior product manager of intelligent machine control and smart construction for Komatsu. “It performs in all applications and allows them to be so much more productive.”

Leveraging experience

The new tech is partially based on the technique of veteran operators, in order to make the less experienced operator more efficient.

“When we were developing this logic, we looked at highly experienced individuals and what do they do in a dozer; what are their inputs, and how do they make and understand these inputs?” Morris said. 

“We tried to figure out how to incorporate that. We wanted Proactive Dozing Control logic to mimic exactly what he’s doing. That’s why I say the less experienced operator, with this new proactive dozing control, is as efficient as a 30-year veteran.”

For the experienced operator, Proactive Dozing Control logic may also help reduce the stress of the job.

“There’s a lot of concentration the experienced operator uses to get to the grade he’s trying to accomplish. By the end of the day he’s exhausted,” Salyers said.

“With our dozing logic, it actually reduces a lot of strain and stress of the experienced operator.”

The science of logic

The system uses Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning in conjunction with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to calculate precise position. The two sensors work together to calculate exactly where the tracks are on the ground.

The difference between Proactive Dozing Control logic and previous machine control options is that the new system collects at the tracks, rather than at the dozer blade.

By collecting data at the tracks, Proactive Dozing Control creates a real-time image of the ground around the machine. This allows the system to calculate decisions, based on the current terrain.

“In real time, we’re building this 3D model of the existing ground. The system is using it to understand what’s up in front of the machine,” Salyers said. “We’re still only automating the blade, but we’re bringing in much more data to make the machine more intelligent and more efficient.”

The machine control system also communicates with the dozer’s hydraulic controllers, engine controllers and the machine controller. Through cylinder sensor technology, the position of the blade is calculated in relationship to the machine body.

The Proactive Dozing Control logic measures the surrounding ground and determines what has been done on the area being graded, then stores that data and information. When the dozer prepares to go back over that area to cut or work it more, the system understands what it was like from its previous track and therefore, follows the existing terrain — the very terrain that was just created.

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Proactive Dozing Control logic provides real-time position of the machine on the job site to create accurate elevation for the system to drive the blade to the precise grade needed. 

By using real-time conditions, the system understands what the terrain around the machine looks like and makes calculated decisions, like whether it should cut and carry material, whether it should spread or fill that material or whether it should be finish grading.

“The machine understands the terrain and anticipates terrain changes so it doesn’t lose material off the blade. Ultimately, you’re going to move more dirt in less time,” Morris said. 

“Fewer passes saves money. And you’re going to burn less fuel because you’re not running the machine as long.”

With Proactive Dozing Control logic, operators can use the dozer to its full capacity, leading to increased utilization, a higher return on investment and improved production.

Owning and operating costs are also reduced as wear and tear on the machine is reduced by automating operation.

By significantly minimizing track slip during operation, undercarriage wear is reduced, which, in turn, lowers owning and operating costs, since 50 per cent of the ownership cost of a dozer is the undercarriage.

“Since our dozing logic is able to manage material in a cutting situation, we greatly reduce track slip,” Morris said. 

“We’re cutting down on the ownership cost of the dozer with this technology, whether the operator is experienced or inexperienced. You’re getting quality whoever the operator is.”