Bulldozers are large machines used to push, dig, excavate, and level soil and debris at construction sites. They have large, heavy front blades that push material. In addition, modifications like rippers at the rear can help break down tough terrain.
Bulldozers are extremely powerful pieces of heavy equipment, but not everyone understands how they work or recognises their full potential. For example, a bulldozer is used to transport large quantities of material like sand, rocks, soil, and bricks.
Because of their size and claw-like extensions, bulldozers are commonly used for demolition. However, they have a variety of other uses, including earthmoving. Bulldozers can also be used in construction and land clearing projects. When it comes to clearing the brush and natural vegetation of a site before construction can begin, bulldozers can easily remove unwanted trees, shrubs, garbage, and other debris.
Like most heavy machinery, bulldozers are designed to make work easier.
Types of bulldozers
Depending on your project, you can select from various bulldozer types. However, when choosing a bulldozer, consider the terrain and type of project you’re working on, among other factors. The right machine is critical for your project’s efficiency and safety.
A crawler looks like a tractor and is also known as a tracked bulldozer. This heavyweight is ideal for transporting heavy materials from one location to another. Because of its tracks, this bulldozer is great for traversing dense and irregular terrain. Rippers on larger crawlers help with crushing and clearing dense terrain.
Key features include a strong plate for loading and pushing heavy objects. In addition, it is great for manoeuvring hard surfaces and hauling heavy materials and is ideal for working in fields, plains, and uneven terrain.
This machine is larger than a crawler and is sometimes referred to as a tyre bulldozer. Because its tyres provide better overall handling, a wheel bulldozer is more manoeuvrable than a crawler. It also has hydraulic steering that is fully articulated and moves on a smaller axis. Because the tyres are softer than tracks, this machine is also ideal for soft or sensitive ground.
This type of bulldozer is ideal for construction, stadiums, etc.
A compact bulldozer is ideal for projects requiring greater manoeuvrability and versatility than larger machinery. Due to its small size, a mini bulldozer performs well in projects like grading and clearing lots.
It’s excellent for completing tasks quickly and manoeuvring in tight spaces like driveways and residential areas.
Blades for bulldozers
These bulldozer types can be further subdivided based on the blades used. Different blades serve different functions and can handle various materials and load weights.
Straight blades (S-blade)
A straight blade is the shortest blade a bulldozer can use and has no side wings. This blade connects to the arm at the lower back corners. The straight blade is ideal for fine-grained and medium to hard density materials. The disadvantage of this blade is that the bulldozer’s lifting and carrying capabilities are limited due to its straight shape. Straight blade applications include stumping, back-filling, grading, and soil evening.
Universal blades (U-blade)
A universal blade has large side wings and a curved shape, making it ideal for pushing materials over long distances. When moving, the wings prevent material from spilling over. Like straight Blades, they attach to the lower back corners of the blade. It is the largest blade type in terms of height and width, and it works best with soft to medium-density soil. Ditching, hauling, pushing, and crowning are some of the best U-blade tasks.
Semi-U blades (S-U blade)
This blade combines features from the straight blade and the universal blade to provide greater penetration and versatility. It is narrower, less curved, and has smaller side wings than a standard universal blade. This design makes it ideal for transporting soil over long distances. This blade is attached to the bulldozer at the lower back with angled stabilising braces and either one or two hydraulic tilt cylinders. It works best for pushing soft to medium-density sand and soil. Crowning, moving heavy material, stumping, and ditching are all excellent uses for an S-U blade.
This blade is attached to the centre of the bulldozer panel. Because it can angle close to 30 degrees left or right, it is useful for moving debris to the side. As a result, an angle blade is classified as a two-way blade. Because it lacks side wings, this blade has the potential to spill. It’s ideal for projects involving soft to medium-hard soils and gravel. Angle blades are most useful for stumping, shaping, stripping, and ditching.
Power-angle-tilt blades (PAT blade)
Because of its easy manoeuvrability and multifaceted motions, the power-angle-tilt blade is one of the most versatile blades. From the cabin, the driver can angle, tilt, and lift the blade in almost any direction. These blades, like angle blades, are installed in the centre of the panel. Some of the best applications for power-angle-tilt blades include scraping, land clearing, levelling, backfilling, and grading.
Bulldozer components and functions
A ripper is an extended attachment that resembles a claw and is located at the rear of the bulldozer. Rippers are used to break up land so agriculture can grow or to break down rock and earth so it can
be moved. Depending on your project requirements, you can find single-shank rippers or multi-shank rippers.
The final drive on a bulldozer is likely the most used and replaced component. Modern final drives distribute the load across multiple gear teeth and raise the drive motor out of suspension.
The cab of a bulldozer is an important part of the machine because it is where the operator controls the machine. Some cabs have various features that increase their level of comfort and safety. Check to see if your cab reduces noise and absorbs impact as you move around the job site. These are essential because operators can spend hours inside the cab at a time.
Tracks or tyres
Tracks and tyres have a significant impact on a bulldozer’s mobility. Tracks are better suited for hard, uneven terrain, whereas tyres are better suited for soft ground. If you’re working in a sensitive area that you don’t want to damage, you might want to consider using a bulldozer with tyres.
Because bulldozers move a lot of heavy materials around the job site, they typically require high-powered engines. There are various types of engines that serve various purposes.
When positioning materials for various tasks, the push frame is essential. This bulldozer component moves the blade.
The blade is the heavy metal plate in front of the bulldozer used to push and dig through materials. The different types of blades are better suited for specific projects.
Choosing a bulldozer
Purchasing or renting a bulldozer for your project can improve its efficiency if the right one is chosen. Here are a few things to consider when selecting a bulldozer for your next project:
- What is its purpose? Are you levelling the ground or pushing material around?
- Examine the work site. Do you have to manoeuvre in confined spaces?
- Analyse the terrain. Is the surface you’re working on hard or soft?
- Determine material types. What kind of soil are you moving and how dense is it?
There are several types of bulldozers available to meet most of your hauling, pushing, and levelling requirements. Taking the time to weigh your options and become acquainted with each unique feature of the bulldozer will benefit your job site greatly.
Why choose BurGers Equipment & Spares
BurGers Equipment & Spares in Johannesburg provides a complete range of specialised earthmoving equipment, including bulldozers. In addition, we provide flawless aftermarket services to ensure the continued operation, safety, economy, and reliability of all our equipment.
This, coupled with industry-leading partnerships and a highly skilled and experienced team of professionals, makes us one of the most trusted suppliers in the South African market.