Monster Mover Komatsu D475A

What is arguably the biggest crawler dozer operating anywhere in the UK has been impressing the team at Paterson Quarries’ Burrowine Moor silicia sand quarry near Alloa in Scotland. The powerful Komatsu D475A-8 has been ripping and dozing around 7,000 tonnes of the much sought-after sand every week since it was delivered to the site by the UK’s sole distributor of Komatsu construction and utility equipment, Marubeni-Komatsu.

Established in 1973, Patersons operates a network of quarries across Scotland. It supplies its specialist sands to a wide range of customers throughout the UK and Ireland who use it for a variety of applications.  These include construction, glass manufacturing, cattle bedding, horse riding arenas and some of the country’s most prestigious golf courses, such as those at Loch Lomond and Ardare Manor.

The Komatsu D475A-8 is a monster of a machine, replacing a five-year-old D475A-5 model.  It was supplied with an extra wear package to meet the heavy demands placed on it at the quarry where the hard compacted silicia sand can be difficult to loosen before being stockpiled ahead of it being transported to a Kleemann MC110 crusher for processing.

Operator Robert Bryson says the new model is a big improvement and ‘far superior’ to its predecessor, offering an exceptional working environment and an array of safety features.  Quarry manager Martin Lyle agrees: “It’s a huge upgrade compared to our previous machine.”

Operator comfort, of course, is essential for safe and productive work. The newly designed spacious cab on the D475A-8, which features a rear-view camera system, is quiet and comfortable and is easy and safe to enter and exit.  This is thanks to the addition of hydraulically operated steps.

The cab’s hexagonal design and large tinted glass windows offer excellent visibility of both the blade and the ripper, while a high capacity climate control system pressurises the cab to keep dust out. A high-quality sound-absorbent lining covers the interior to minimise noise levels for the operator who also enjoys the benefits of an air-suspension heated and ventilated seat that reduces vibrations.

Gear shifting is simplified, while an electronically-controlled joystick allows the operator 

to move both blade and ripper quicker and more accurately…

A large high-resolution LCD monitor gives quick access to the auto-idle shutdown, the Operator Identification System, the auto ripper return and the auto blade tilt functions. The layout for the steering console and work equipment lever has been upgraded from previous models. The height of the steering console can be adjusted electronically and gear shifting is simplified with push buttons.  The electronically-controlled joystick allows the operator to move both the 15-tonne 27.2 m³ blade and the ripper quicker and more accurately than ever before.

With an operating weight close on 120 tonnes, it is powered by a fuel-efficient EU Stage V compliant Komatsu SAA12V140E-7 engine, which provides 697 kW / 934 hp @ 2,000 rpm in forward gear and 777 kW / 1040 hp @ 2,000 rpm in reverse. 

Set by default, the D475A-8 has a highly efficient transmission that automatically matches the best gear mode in all dozing operations and includes a travel speed preset function to reduce work time and fatigue for the operator. Gear changes are smoothly timed to always keep the power transfer at maximum efficiency.  To reduce the frequency of gear shifting and for comfortable machine operation, a shift preset mode is provided as standard equipment. 

The preset switch lets the operator select a combination of forward/reverse gear shifts by using the UP/DOWN shift switch on the steering lever.  To reduce unnecessary fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, and for lower operating costs, the Komatsu auto idle shutdown automatically turns off the engine after it idles for a set period of time.  This can be easily programmed from 5 to 60 minutes. An Eco-gauge and Eco guidance tips on the cab monitor further encourage efficient operations.

For increased blade performance and better machine balance, Komatsu uses a box blade design. Highly wear resistant steel is used for the front and sides of the blade to increase durability. Indeed, the Semi-U blade will stand up to the toughest applications as has been well proven at the silicia sand quarry. The shape of the blade not only improves carrying capacity, but prevents material spillage.

Meanwhile, thanks to the new ripper arm structure, the visible area of the ripper shank is drastically enlarged. With all cylinders connected to the ripper shank holder, it allows maximum pry-out force. Its key feature is the ripper point movement that lifts the material during the ripper shank operation to greatly improve overall performance. The shank supplies great penetration into various types of materials, such as the compacted silicia sand, and is fitted with special wear parts for increased longevity.

Keeping the dozer in optimum operating condition is straightforward. For example, a swing fan gives easy cleaning access to the front-side of the radiator core, while heavy duty steps lead up to the rear platform with large hand rails for safe access to rear maintenance points. Fuel and washer fluid levels check and refill, cleaning of cab windows and air conditioner condenser, cab lights replacement and other routine maintenance can all be performed safely and efficiently. 

As for the service and support provided by distributors Marubeni-Komatsu, it is described by Martin Lyle as ‘gold standard.’ He adds: “They are only ever a phone call away should any problems arise, not that we have had any major issues with the Komatsu dozer, and we don’t expect to, given the long and dependable performance of the old D475A-5 model.”

Alan Greenshields, Marubeni‑Komatsu Limited’s Regional Sales Manager for Scotland comments: “With this now being the third Komatsu Super Dozer that Paterson’s Quarries have purchased as their prime mover for their Fife Silica Operation, we are delighted that our valued customer has once again chosen to continue their partnership with Marubeni Komatsu Ltd and replace their tried and very well tested Komatsu D475A-5 with our new DASH-8 variant.

“The decision to go with the original Komatsu D375A back in 2005 feels like a lifetime ago now.  However, it has been a journey that we have made collectively.  With the invaluable experience that has been gained over the last eighteen years for all parties involved, a number of the new features and product improvements on the latest D475A-8 have been borne as a direct result of our Komatsu product’s working in this extreme application.

“This when coupled with our bespoke customer support package gave our customer the confidence that it was the right choice going forward – again!”

Gregory Peeters, Komatsu Europe International’s Product Manager-Large Machines, adds that delivering the D475A-8 to the silicia sand quarry was the result of a long and close collaboration between Komatsu, Marubeni and Patersons. 

“Together we were able to understand the jobsite’s unique challenges and find ways to overcome them. We are thankful that Patersons has chosen D475A-8 to continue to provide high quality products to their customers throughout the UK and Ireland,” says Gregory.