First publishedin World Highways
Caterpillar is offering new machine control packages for use with dozers
Caterpillar is widening its range of solutions for dozers with the introduction of the GRADE with 3D system for its D3K2, D4K2 and D5K2 models.
This package is an automated grade control system using GNSS technology to position the machine's blade, without operator input, from first rough cut to finish grade. In addition, GRADE with 3D incorporates the Cat AccuGrade Ready Option. This system allows the use of universal-total-station and laser references for automated control. The new package means that operators of all skill levels can reach specified grades faster and more accurately. The system also helps to reduce staking costs and the need for reworking, reducing fuel consumption and machine hours.
Cat GRADE with 3D is an optional system, installed at the factory and integrated into the machine. The GNSS antennas are mounted on top of the cab, eliminating the need for mast-mounted antennas on the blade, along with related cables. GNSS receivers and a data radio are also housed in the roof structure. Three inertial measurement units (IMUs) monitor machine orientation, and position-sensing hydraulic cylinders monitor blade position. The integrated installation eliminates the need to remove components at the end of each shift.
In GNSS mode, GRADE with 3D can provide high accuracy by employing real-time kinematic positioning technology. This integrates multiple satellite signals with information from an on-site, base-station receiver or other correction device. The system compares machine location and cutting-edge position relative to an on-board design plan, automatically positioning the blade via an integrated, electro-hydraulic valve module.
The system delivers this information to the operator via an in-cab display., while control buttons for activating the system are integrated into the joystick levers.
GRADE with 3D, when activated, automatically controls the movement of the machine's blade, both lift and tilt, to conform to digital jobsite plans. The only input required of the operator is to steer the machine, reducing overall manual input required by an estimated 80%. The new system is optimised to work with other Caterpillar dozing features such as AutoCarry, which is designed to allow optimum blade loads in varying ground conditions, while reducing track slip. GRADE with 3D can increase productivity by as a much as 50% on some projects according to Caterpillar.
As an alternative to the factory-installed GRADE with 3D system, machines can be ordered with only the AccuGrade Ready Option (which includes the Cat Slope Assist system, sensors, processor, and wiring harnesses). When appropriate, the Sitech Cat dealer can then scale up this technology by installing the required GRADE with 3D components.