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Make sure you and your team are dozing as efficiently as possible with these slot dozing tips from Cat® dozer experts Derek Furr and Sam Meeker.
Riley Kovicak | Marketing Intern
Before starting a big dozing job, you want to consider the most efficient and cost-friendly way to get the work done. When mastered properly, slot dozing is an operator’s best friend for completing the job.
So how do you start dozing in a slot like a pro? We’ve got all the insider tips and tricks for you from Cat dozer experts Derek Furr and Sam Meeker.
Slot dozing is a dozing practice where an operator manipulates the blade to create walls of the dozed material on each side of the machine to reduce the amount of spillage. Like all dozing, the goal of slot dozing is to level the ground by taking a cut and moving it into an area that needs to be filled. Primarily carried out with medium-sized dozers, slot dozing can be used for both heavy and light dozing work, and is commonly used to move materials such as clay, sand, soils, and some decomposed rock.
According to Sam, the most basic components of slot dozing are the weight of the machine, the blade size, and machine traction. It’s also important to gauge the job site when slot dozing – for example, be sure to consider the kind of material being moved and the moisture content of that material.
Why slot dozing? Derek can’t stress enough that slot dozing is the best method to move material. “Dozing efficiency is best achieved by considering how much material you are moving per gallon of fuel used. When slot dozing, you are dozing in a way that moves the most material per hour per gallon of fuel,” he said.
When working in a slot, even if you are using just one side of the blade, the amount of material spilling out is greatly reduced. As you load the blade when moving heavy material, the walls formed in a slot result in less drag on your machine. Slot dozing also enables a blade capacity increase by up to 20 percent because of the walls formed in a slot.
Now you know why you should slot doze, but how exactly do you get started?
Most slot dozing begins with an operator dozing from front to back. When selecting a place to start, make sure you are deciding where you are going to carry the windrow.
“One of the most important parts of dozing is making sure you are using every push to its best potential,” said Sam. “Don’t push uphill, as this will wear the machine and may hinder the grade of your slope. To best keep your material on the blade, you should keep your machine in first gear when cutting and second gear while carrying, using the walls of the slot to prevent spillage.”
For new and seasoned dozer operators alike, Cat dozers are equipped with many tools to assist in everything from fuel efficiency to getting a fuller blade.
When it comes to efficiency, there’s no greater enemy than downtime. It’s important to take care of your machine during and after completing heavy work with your dozer. Sam and Derek have a couple of suggestions to not only make your slot dozing work more efficient, but the upkeep of your machine as well.
Slot dozing doesn’t necessarily require special care for your machine, but Sam and Derek both stress the importance of diligence when it comes to not only your work, but machine care as well.
Before you start a slot dozing job, you will want to decide what size dozer is the most ideal fit.
To do this, consider the capacity of a machine. Derek notes that the weight of the dozer and the ground pressure are important factors for selecting machine size. Your local Cat dealer is always available to consult and help determine what dozer capacity is best suited for your upcoming job.
It is also a good idea to consider the timeframe of a job, the size of the job site, and the volume of material you need to move to make sure slot dozing can be conducted in a timely, inexpensive, and safe manner. When considering larger, more complex machines, the return on investment of the job is also important to consider.
As Sam always says – you can do the same job with a D1 or with a D11, the only difference is time.
Riley Kovicak is a 2022 Summer Marketing Intern for Caterpillar. She attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is studying Communications with a media rhetoric and politics concentration. She plans to apply her passion for writing and research towards a career in PR and Journalism after completing her Undergraduate studies.
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