Bradpave’s Liebherr PR 716 Dozer
A combination of increasing hire costs has led long-term Liebherr customer Paul Bradshaw of BradPave to invest in a new PR 716 G8 dozer, the first to be delivered in the UK.
Paul has traditionally hired in a dozer as and when required but with an increasing order book requiring dozer work along with the lack of suitable machine available, he decided to add his own to the fleet. Already operating a pair of Liebherr excavators, an R 914 Compact and R 934 G8, both fully spec’d with Leica GPS and Steelwrist tilt rotators, Paul was immediately drawn to the new G8 version of Liebherr’s smallest dozer and subsequently placed an order for one in his grey and white livery.
The range of hydrostatically powered dozers are made in the Alpine factory on the outskirts of Telfs in Austria where the company also manufacturers their range of tele handlers and crawler excavators. The PR 716 is one of seven machines in the range which is topped off by the impressive 70t plus PR 776 high drive machine. With an operating weight between 13.3 and 15.8 tonnes, the dozer has been delivered in LGP specification which includes 711mm track shoes on a 2.6m track frame. There is just a single arm option on the PR 716 with the manufacturer fitting inside mounted draft arms with the hydraulic cylinders fitted low down giving an unobstructed view from the seat. Two blade options are available with a fixed six way or hinged corner six-way version designed to reduce transport width to under 3m and therefore negating the requirement for a movement order in the UK. Paul has opted for the fixed version with a width of 3.5m. To the rear of the tractor Liebherr offers a drawbar or three-shank ripper but Paul has opted for a bespoke 5-shank version allowing material to be broken up into smaller pieces.
The angular shape of the G8 design allows a class leading view around the machine from the heated, air-suspended seat. The cab is mated to the chassis on a series of hydroelastic mountings to reduce vibration and noise transfer from both the engine and hydrostatic transmission. Unlike many competitor’s machines, Liebherr have fitted a tilting mechanism to the cab allowing simple and easy access to the transmission components within the chassis below. Upgrades to the internal fixtures and fittings of the cab take it above and beyond its competitors according to Paul and, as we previously mentioned, the angled seat allows a perfect view through the fully glazed doors to each corner of the blade and to the ripper mounted to the rear. Paul is also very complimentary about the controls in the cab. “The way you can adjust everything to suit your seating and operating position is ideal, the controls are effortless to use and allows you to easily undertake the finest of grading jobs. The slim dashboard is filled with the Liebherr touchscreen which provides Paul the ability to access machine health and operating figures and gives him the possibility to change certain operating modes.
Liebherr’s G8 range of dozers have been upgraded with a series of in-built operator aides. The new assistance systems include three levels of operator support: Free Grade for active blade stabilisation during fine grading; Definition Grade for automatic blade positioning when creating simple 2D surfaces and 3D Grade from Topcon as optional GNSS machine control for modelling complex terrain forms. In addition, there is an option order factory installed ready-kits, which allow a range of machine control systems from Trimble and Leica to be retrofitted in the field. Paul has opted for the Leica option to compliment his systems on the excavators. As Paul is a firm believer in making his operations as productive as possible, he has specified the dozer Leica ready to match his two excavators with the system supplied and fitted by the UK’s leading machine control specialists OnGrade.
The first job for the dozer was near Leeds where Paul and his team were constructing an access road into a new commercial development. Earmarked for a development of several large distribution warehouses, Paul and his team were required to install the new access road, roundabout and a series of attenuation ponds along with the surface and foul drainage for the site.
With Liam Schofield in the R 934 G8 digging out one of the first attenuation ponds, Paul’s son Blake ferried the material across the site for Paul to push out and fill a small area. Working with the Liebherr’s Free Grade system, Paul very quickly dealt with each 30 tonne load of heavy muck dropped from the ADT trimming it to a rough level.
With the shape of the pond taking place, Paul quickly swapped over to the Leica MC1 system and showed off the ability of the PR 716. Sitting at the top of the pond Paul set the revs on the Liebherr and edged it onto the slope. With the information relayed from the model for the site in the MC1 system, Paul was left to ensure the Liebherr stayed on the slope. The hydrostatic drive on the dozer allows infinite control over speed and power and Paul put this to the test accurately cutting the batter to the pond on a smooth and constant curve.
Paul has been impressed with the early performance of the dozer and in particular, its fuel economy. Powered by a StageV, 4.5 litre Liebherr diesel engine. The four-cylinder engine fits snugly inside the slim and steeply sloping bonnet and can be accessed easily via the large panels on both sides of the tractor. Early fuel figures indicate the dozer on a mix of hard pushing and trimming work is returning just 9.5 litre per hour.
Whilst the dozer will not be in constant operation, the ability to use it as and when it’s required increases its value for Paul. “We plan our work out weeks in advance and usually know when and for how long a dozer is required for.” He comments “Having the ability to use it for certain operations we might have put an excavator to do, allows us far more flexibility for us.”