A bulldozer is “a tractor-driven machine usually having a broad blunt horizontal blade for moving earth (as in road building),” as defined in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. These heavy machines are common at construction sites where they are used for removing the rubble. On snow-covered roads they are used for clearing piles of snow. Bulldozers have simplified the laborious task of construction workers in the developed countries, although it is a pity to see some workers perform digging and removing the debris manually in the developing countries.
Bulldozers were initially a modification of the Holt farm tractors, which were used for plowing the fields with rough terrain. Later, they were used for logging, constructing roads, and for use as armored tanks during the First World War from 1914 to 1918. With further development of technology, the bulldozers were equipped with tracks that enabled them to crawl on rough terrains having rocky and muddy ground. Bulldozers of the 21st century are equipped with global positioning system (GPS) technology and are also available in small sizes to enhance their versatility.
Types and Applications
Bulldozers are used for a variety of applications, and they are classified according to the purpose for which they are used. Some of the most common types of bulldozers are: compactors, excavators, and backhoe loaders. Compactors are used for reducing the size of soil, waste matter, or gravel by the application of the heavy weight of the bulldozer. They are used in landfills and also while constructing roads. Excavators are bulldozers that are used for digging, and they consist of a cab and a bucket, which are connected to an articulated arm rotating on a pivot. They are used for mining, digging foundations for houses, demolishing, and river dredging. Backhoe loaders are tractor-mounted bulldozers that are used for road building, landscaping, and digging. The task is accomplished with the help of a hoe and arm located in the back, while a bucket in the front shovels the soil and the debris.
Components and Versatility
A bulldozer mainly consists of a tractor with tracks to facilitate the movement of the heavy engineering vehicle over rugged terrains. There are two other components of a bulldozer—the blade in the front section and the ripper in the rear section. The use of tracks divides the heavy weight of the vehicle over a large surface area, thereby decreasing the pressure and facilitating the movement of the bulldozer. The ripper loosens the rocky surface and the hard soil, which makes farming easier. The blade helps to clear the soil and the debris, and then loads the heap into a truck. Different attachments at the front and the rear sections of a bulldozer make it a versatile engineering vehicle.
Depending on your specific requirement, you can buy a bulldozer from a registered dealer. It is available from 40 horsepower (HP) to 400 HP; however, most of the bulldozing operations can be carried out by a vehicle that is in the range of 100 to 240 HP. The price of a bulldozer, having 100 to 200 HP range, costs about $75,000, and hence, it is essential for you to identify your needs and discuss them with a trustworthy dealer. While buying a bulldozer, you should see that the operator finds it comfortable, and can see the edges as well as the blade. A bulldozer should also be easy to maintain, and it should have an accessible service center.
Bulldozers have provided comfort, saved time and money, and facilitated construction, mining, and agricultural projects. Multinational companies, such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Fiat-Allis, John Deere, International Harvester, Case, Liebherr, Terex and JCB manufacture different types of bulldozers in the developed countries.
- Photo Credit bulldozer image by John Maldoror from Fotolia.com
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