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Caterpillar D11T in a Gravel Quarry

Awesome Earthmovers visited Stokey Plant Hireʼs 115 tonne Cat D11T bulldozer in Croxden sand and gravel quarry during September. The D11 is iconic amongst heavy equipment, being the largest dozer that Caterpillar produce and the largest machine using the elevated sprocket design, if you donʼt count the oddball one of a kind Acco dozer that is.

One of a kind!

As the D11R, Affectionally known as “Matilda”.

Croxden quarry has extremely hard gravel deposits, so hard in fact that it has been tested and found to be as hard as concrete. With blasting not being an option the only solution is to rip the 600,000 tonnes of sand and gravel needed annually with a large dozer. Stokey Plant Hire have had the contract to excavate the gravel in the quarry for the past 18 years, with a D11R previously being deployed by them. As the D11R, affectionally known as “Matilda” was coming to the end of her life, with 30,000 hours on the clock, it was decided that a D11T would be the replacement.

The decision to go with another Caterpillar D11 wasn’t just about the performance of the machine according to Stokeyʼs Contracts Director, Ian Jones, as they knew it was up to the job. The decision to go with Caterpillar again was in large part down to the partnership Stokey Plant Hire had with Finning. With a new 8 year contact having been signed with the quarry’s operator, Finning and Stokey were able to work out a service and maintenance contract to cover that time period, which allowed Stokey to have an exact costing, not just on the purchase price but on the running of the machine as well.

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Stokey Plant Hireʼs new D11T is the UKʼs first. It was shipped all the way from Caterpillarʼs manufacturing facility in Peoria, U.S.A and then built onsite by a team of Finning engineers. After commissioning the new D11T could briefly be seen working alongside the old D11R.

The new dozer has an array of upgrades and improvements over the previous D11R. The D11Tʼs 932HP acert engine meets Tier 4 final emission regulations. The operator, Pete Boustoullerʼs access and egress to the machine has been improved with extra catwalks and hand-railing as well as a fully remote Cat certified hydraulic stair system. The dozer has a 12 tonne Caterpillar single shank ripper on the back with a 5.58m wide and 2.8m tall U-Blade on the front.

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Visibility around the dozer has been upgraded. In addition to numerous mirrors, cameras provide a 360 degree birds eye view around the machine, fed to a colour monitor in cab. LED lights provide better visibility during the darker Winter months.

The Digital revolution has not left the D11T behind. Caterpillarʼs VisionLink system allows remote monitoring of the dozerʼs performance and health, allowing Finsight engineers in Cannock to closely monitor the machine. The system can be programmed with alerts to warn of potential component failures before they happen, allowing preventive maintenance actions before any damage is done. The capability to perform inspections through the Cat Inspect app allows for an ongoing digital picture of the dozer.

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Thanks to Francine Shore of Caterpillar as well as Abbi Cox and Sam Morrison of Edson Evers for their assistance in getting access to see and film the dozer in action and Ian Jones of Stokey Plant Hire. The patience of the D11Tʼs operator, Pete Boustouller is also appreciated in putting up with my drone flying around his cab for a few hours.

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