Product profile: Cat D6T dozer

By: Cameron Officer

Christchurch construction firm CCL has invested in some high-tech, heavy-duty gear with their new Cat D6T dozer

With only around 600 hours on the clock, CCL Construction Contracting’s Cat D6T dozer still feels box-fresh. CCL’s Hamish Wright says the D6T is the company’s first new Cat, although there are other second-hand machines from the brand’s combined model lines on the Christchurch company’s fleet.

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"We’ve also got 12M and 12H Cat graders and an excavator on the fleet, and we have a Cat 323F L excavator on a long-term lease. But this is the first time we have bought new," he says.

"Goughs made it easy for us to get what we need and, I have to say straight off the bat, buying new really has given us a much more intelligent machine."

CCL’s Cat D6T is currently working at a 390-lot subdivision in Cashmere, Christchurch. Along with contract civil roading work for NZTA and other construction entities such as Fulton Hogan, this type of earthwork is CCL’s bread and butter.

With around 65 employees on deck, the company spreads itself far and wide. Consistent project work means CCL men and machinery will be regularly found as far away as Kaikoura (where the company has a satellite yard) and Nelson, as well as being a regular sight on the streets of metropolitan Christchurch.

CAT D6T features

The big plus point for opting for the Cat D6T, says Hamish, was the fact that the dozer arrives with GPS machine control already hardwired into its operating system.

"We are investing in GPS machine control across the fleet with two excavators, two graders, and now the D6T with GPS. I liked the idea that Cat has the fully-connected Cat GRADE system integrated already, so the GPS system was talking to the machine from the moment it arrived."

Through the Slope Assist function within Cat GRADE, Hamish’s dozer operator can maintain an established blade position across varying terrain, making both heavy-duty dozing or finish grading much faster.

The system is integrated at factory level and features cab roof-mounted GNSS antennas, eliminating the need for masts on the blade and other cables trailing between the business end of the machine and the cab. The system ‘reads’ 3D design plans and accurately follows the required grades, with the ability for updated plan information to be uploaded to the cab immediately.

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"The technology is awesome," Hamish continues. "We knew it would work well for us, and it’s definitely the way things are going. But the fact that we can purchase a machine that comes with GPS functionality already embedded is even better."

Hamish also believes that the extra precision the machine control system in the Cat gives his operator means work can be completed faster and more efficiently.

"I would estimate that the Cat probably allows our guys to work three times faster than they were before. That’s a good result, but the machine is even better at saving fuel, so despite the faster work, we’re using less diesel as well.

"The dozer can assess whether the blade is full or not and adjust how hard the engine needs to rev automatically. It knows what’s needed to work as efficiently as it can."

Auto Shift technology

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The Cat D6T’s Auto Shift technology means that the machine can save up to 20% on fuel burn without sacrificing dozing performance. That makes for less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the work site, too.

Caterpillar has calculated that Auto Shift can reduce carbon emissions by an average of around 16.6 metric tonnes over the course of a year’s usage. So, is it a complex machine then? Yes, in part, says Hamish. But the other side of the equation is that Gough Cat’s support team made sure CCL got the right training to use their new D6T to the best of its abilities.

Gough Cat’s support team

"Goughs were great with the handover of the dozer. Obviously, the on-board tech is a step up from where we’ve been until now, so it was good they had our back. They had experts out to train our driver once the machine landed," Hamish says.

"But even before we got to that stage, our sales contact Matt Holloway was awesome at providing us with all the information we needed.

"Cat machines do what we need them to and Cat just makes a better dozer, hands down. They’re grunty and hard-wearing, of course, but the D6T has shown us that they’re also much more technologically advanced than people might think these days too.

"It’s also another tick for Cat that Goughs have been great at making sure our guys are comfortable with the machine and we’re getting the best out of it.

"Our driver was sold on it before it even arrived. He spent a lot of his own time watching tech videos on YouTube to help learn the functions and capabilities of the machine, so it’s also great when the guys on the team look forward to using the machinery, too. They treat it like it’s their own, so it’ll definitely last longer out in the field when it’s being looked after."

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