With a larger blade, increased power, a range of control options and a new cooling system equipped for the desert, Caterpillar’s D8R bulldozer cements its position as a legacy model
Think of the word ‘bulldozer’, and the vision instantly conjured up in your mind is of a powerful, rock-solid machine that can raze fortresses and flatten hills. Such is the power of the machine that its name itself has become a by-word for brute strength, force and power. It is also one of the best-known pieces of construction machinery.
Now take another well-known word, ‘Caterpillar’, and place it with the bulldozer. Just as the machine is preceded by a reputation of power and strength, so too is the brand. And when the two come together, you have not only one of the pioneers of the ‘dozer’, as it’s more popularly called, but also one of its best exponents down the years.
The Caterpillar brand has been associated worldwide throughout its long and illustrious history with the dozer, and the Cat stable still has some of the best dozers that money can buy.
With the company constantly bringing out newer and improved versions of the machine, enter the new Cat D8R Dozer. The D8R features increased horsepower and a larger standard blade for more productivity, as well as a range of optional GRADE technologies to help bulldozer operators get more work done in less time. It has also been given a more efficient powertrain and cooling system, increasing ambient capability by up to 20%.
Speaking to CMME about the Cat D8R dozer, Samer Ismail, product manager, Earthmoving & Excavation at Caterpillar’s regional dealer Al-Bahar, says: “Cat is leading the market in the dozer segment for more than a decade now, and the D8R is one of the most popular machines in Cat’s line-up on a global scale. It is the legacy model within the industry for customers who demand dozers.”
Some of the features of the model make it easy to see why the D8R has achieved legacy status. Equipped with the largest standard blade in its class at 10.3m3, the dozer moves up to 13% more material per pass. High tensile strength steel construction and a strong box-section are designed to stand up to the most extreme applications.
With Cat’s constant tinkering and improvements, the latest D8R has a new electronically controlled transmission that offers smoother shifting as well as greater ease of operation with soft touch gear shift buttons. Field-proven features such as elevated sprocket, differential steering and planetary power shift transmission with high efficiency torque divider deliver powerful, durable and reliable operation to provide uptime and productivity, says Cat.
Added to this is the quiet, air-conditioned cab with integrated Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS), which provides a secure cage for impact protection in case of accidents. The cab is designed to give operators greater all-round visibility to enhance safety and productivity.
In addition to monitoring machine operation, diagnostic events and modes of operation, the D8R’s upgraded primary display is rear-camera ready for added safety (optional). Simple rotary dials control engine throttle speeds. The bi-directional feature allows the operator to pre-select forward/reverse gears, for reduced operator effort and improved efficiency.
“Any customer who has already tried the D8R will never regret it. They prefer to have it, especially when the application is tough, as the machine is built for it. The applications that the D8R is used for vary from pushing sand dunes to building roads, and many things in between,” adds Al-Bahar’s Ismail.
Speaking about the features that make the D8R such a favourite, he adds: “The drive train features power shift transmission, differential steering and durable final drives. Then a unique Cat torque divider provides greater driveline efficiency and higher torque multiplication.”
A huge benefit of the differential steering system, Ismail adds, is that it “puts you on the leading edge of productivity by maintaining power to both tracks while turning”. When one track speeds up, the other slows down an equal amount.
“Undercarriage arrangements feature elevated sprockets, allowing optimised balance for the best possible results in each application. This is a field-proven design that offers outstanding machine performance and longer component life,” Ismail adds.
The hydraulics in a piece of construction equipment often make or break point performance. This is a critical aspect of any earthmoving machine; it’s no use building the most robust shell and hardwearing engine and parts if the hydraulics are not top-notch. Cat knows this well, and has carved out an enviable reputation for the reliability of its hydraulics over the years.
Ismail says: “The D8R’s load-sensing hydraulics respond to operating requirements by automatically and continually adjusting hydraulic power to maximise work tool efficiency. The entire hydraulic system in the dozer is field-proven and robust, assuring customers reliability in the toughest of job conditions.”
With the new D8R equipped with technologies such as Cat Connect GRADE, contractors can increase productivity and grade quality by selecting available electro-hydraulic controls that reduce operator effort while improving precision and response. These advanced tools help contractors to reach target grade faster and more accurately in fewer passes, to save time and increase profit.
Standard with electro-hydraulic controls, Cat Slope Indicate displays real-time machine cross-slope and fore/aft orientation on the driver’s primary monitor, allowing operators to work more accurately on slopes, Ismail says.
“The optional Cat GRADE with Slope Assist automatically maintains established blade position. This enables the operator to finish jobs faster, with better surface quality and significantly less effort. No additional hardware is required,” explains the Al-Bahar product manager.
“And then there is the versatile, scalable Cat AccuGrade, a dealer-installed grade control system. It gives contractors the choice of Laser, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or Universal Total Station (UTS), so you get the right level of accuracy to match your job requirements.”
In addition to grade control technologies, the Cat Product Link telematics system is also available in certain regions. It provides timely, pertinent data – such as location, hours, fuel usage, productivity, idle time and diagnostic codes – that is easily accessed through the online VisionLink interface. The system helps machine owners achieve more effective asset management, improved productivity and lower operating costs.
Powering the D8R dozer is Cat’s C15 ACERT engine. Offering more than a decade of proven reliability in a wide range of applications, from Arctic cold to desert heat, the engine offers 8% more power and increases dozing efficiency by up to 18%, claims the manufacturer.
The durable engine produces a gross 273kW, powering the dozer through demanding applications. A new hydraulically controlled fan with reversing capability boasts variable on-demand operation, automatically maintaining optimum cooling capacity even in the most demanding desert applications.
The dozer’s Auto Shift feature automatically downshifts to the most efficient gear based on load, improving material moving efficiency.
While reliability is important and has been given a lot of the attention the Cat brand is known for, so is serviceability. The D8R, like all Cat dozers, has been designed to be easily serviceable. The machine includes features like wide-opening engine panel access doors to minimise maintenance time. Optional service features like ecology drains, a ground-level fast fuel system and high-speed oil change help to further simplify and speed up maintenance tasks.
An optional cab-mounted air conditioning condenser supports better system performance, improved engine cooling and easier servicing, and available bottom guard access panels facilitate machine clean-out.
When support is required, however, Cat has dedicated dealers such as Al-Bahar, which are completely aligned to its policy of putting the customer first.
“Al Bahar and Caterpillar believe in after-sales support as a key factor in order to improve and grow the business,” says Ismail. “In pursuance of this, our well-educated and trained product support sales engineers are covering the whole territory and visit customers regularly to consult with them and make sure to increase their machine uptime by conducting a battery of tests on the machines in a professional manner.”
“They also act as advisers, telling our customers about the next step to take in order to run their equipment and fleets in a better way. Add to that our parts availability level of around 95%, which is unmatched by the competition, and you see why the Caterpillar-Al-Bahar partnership is music to the customers’ ears.”
In what will be music to the ears of Middle East customers, the new Cat D8R dozer features a special Desert Arrangement Package, which increases cooling capability for even more consistent and reliable operation in high temperatures.
Not only does the D8R have 8% more engine power than previous models, its more efficient powertrain, hydraulic fan and new radiator configuration already increase ambient capability by up to 20%. Together with the package, the operator can keep pushing sand or other similar materials in second gear, even under hot desert conditions, enabling the D8R to finish jobs more quickly.
“The Desert Arrangement Package is a standard feature on all D8Rs that we sell. It allows the machine to be more durable and reliable by adding components suited to working in harsh and extreme environments, such as the baking hot and sandy deserts in the GCC. These components increase the machine’s uptime and so make it more efficient and productive for the customer,” says Samer Ismail from A-Bahar.
Beyond higher ambient capability, the D8R dozer is equipped with multiple features designed specifically to boost machine performance and increase service life when working in extremely sandy or abrasive applications. These include:
– Pre-cleaner Turbine Air Intake System to deliver longer air filter life, more efficient engine performance and lower maintenance cost by preventing heavier-than-air particles from entering the system
– Engine Enclosure Doors to reduce the amount of sand entering the engine compartment, so the dozer runs cooler and cleaner
– Fan and Radiator Core Protection, a special coating to these components that resists abrasion and increases service life
– Sealed Bottom Guard, this stops penetration of fine abrasive particles, reducing wear
– Replaceable Wear Plates to deliver longer service life in abrasive applications
– Cab-mounted Air Conditioning Condenser, which improves system performance and enhances serviceability