Heavy Machinery Demystified: The Bulldozer

What does the term “bulldozer” refer to when you’re talking about heavy machinery?

The term bulldozer has become a general reference to any large, tracked or heavy engineering machine, but is actually classified as a tractor that has tracks and sports a dozer blade and a ripper.

The bulldozer is considered an earthmoving vehicle and falls into the same category as other heavy machinery like cranes. It is used frequently in construction related activities to move large amounts of material, like dirt, rock, scrapings, metal, etc.

Why do many heavy machines like bulldozers have tracks?

Tracks allow heavy machines to navigate difficult terrain, like soft ground, sand, rocky silt, mud, etc. They provide excellent mobility and a measure of stability that is important in such a large machine.

Many bulldozers and other heavy engineering vehicles have wider tracks, also known as ‘swamp’ tracks. These tracks are especially useful for wetter conditions like swamps and other muddy environments. The wideness of the tracks enables even weight distribution for the bulldozer, thus ensuring it gets through easily and quickly.

How does it move heavy material and other heavy machines?

The energy from a bulldozer’s engine is converted into a strong drag force through the use of a torque divider. This essentially enables the bulldozer to add its own weight to push or pull an object.

This characteristic is ideal for moving heavy materials and other heavy machinery because it allows a bulldozer to move as much as eighty tons and more. This includes full size tanks, shrubs, vehicles, structural remains, debris, and more.

What is a ripper? How is it used on heavy machinery like a bulldozer?

A ripper, specific to a heavy machine like the bulldozer, is often described as a “scooper” or “claw.” It is designed to literally rip through harsh terrain like rocks and solid earth. A ripper destroys the material and churns it into small rubble or debris that can then be easily removed and cleared.

Rippers come in two forms: single shank (one claw) or multiple shanks (two or more claws). Most tractors use only one ripper, but sometimes will use two if the situation calls for it. A single shank is preferred most often for heavier ripping.

What is a blade? How is it used on a heavy machine, such as a bulldozer?

A bulldozer blade is the heavy metal plate that sits on the front of a tractor. The ultimate accessory for a heavy machine, it serves as an all-purpose mover, shoving material like rock, sand and debris, pushing through obstacles, and generally plowing through anything in its way.

There are three varieties of bulldozer blade: a universal blade, or U-Blade, a straight blade, or S-Blade, and a combination blade, or S-U blade. They all have specific purposes: a universal blade is used for heavier material, a straight blade is used for finer grading, and a combination blade is more all-purpose.

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