New dozer boosts productivity, controllability and operator comfort compared to older dozer models.
Fritcha’s Construction – a New Haven, Ind. firm owned and operated by brothers Troy and Todd Fritcha – completed a levee expansion project in New Haven to protect a golf course from the Maumee River. This involved hauling in more than 20,000 yards of dirt and building the levee higher than its existing structure.
To complete the project, Fritcha’s Construction used the new 1150M dozer from CASE Construction Equipment. This machine provided Troy Fritcha (who doubles as the company’s primary dozer operator) with advances in productivity, controllability and comfort that helped improve overall operation.
As dedicated earthmovers, the company relies heavily on bulldozers. The new low-ground-pressure 1150M weighs in at 32,632 pounds and features a best-in-class drawbar pull of 48,000 pounds. It’s powered by a 127 horsepower Tier 4 Interim engine that features CASE exclusive Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology.
“For the size of the machine, it will take the haul truck load in a couple of swipes,” says Fritcha. “It’s got plenty of power pushing up the hill… it holds the slopes well. It’s hands down faster than what I’m used to. You get a lot more done.”
Fritcha adds that the power and speed of the dozer contributed to being able to shave time off the job compared to his older models.
“I guarantee it would take an extra day or two (with the older models),” says Fritcha. “(It provides) a good day (in time savings).”
The 1150M is also easy to maintain. All hydraulic checkpoints, filters and electric fuses can be reached from the ground level for easier access.
“We do all of our own maintenance,” he adds. “Checking the engine oil is nice. Everything is laid out really well. The grease fittings are convenient so it doesn’t take long to grease the machine at all… It makes it easier than chasing them all over the machine.”
Controls Improve Operation
The new M Series dozers from CASE give operators the ability to dial in blade steering sensitivity, dozer steering sensitivity and shuttle sensitivity to three different settings (smooth, moderate and aggressive) to better match ground conditions and operator preference.
“The blade steering responds quick; I like the thumb control,” says Fritcha. “When you’re doing side slopes and you’re angling the blade and pushing dirt, you want to be able to control your windrows. You don’t want the stuff going all over, so the quicker you can turn, the better it is.”
The machine responds equally well to steering in relatively tight spots.
“That’s a 10-foot, 6-inch flat spot on the top of the levee, and you can counter-rotate right on top,” he says. “That makes it good when you’ve got trucks coming and you’ve got dirt and you want to turn around and go the other way. You’re not putting dirt on the silt fence and you’re not going back and forth four times just to make a turn.”
Operator Cab Key in Comfort, Productivity
Another aspect of the 1150M that stood out to Fritcha is the overall design of the cab. The 1150M features a positive pressure cab that helps keep out the elements by pushing more clean/filtered air into the cab.
“The rest of our dozers are open cabs,” explains Fritcha. “When I can go home at night (after operating this new dozer) and not have dirt everywhere, and I’m not tired, it makes a huge difference. It’s quiet. It’s got a radio. It has great visibility out the windows.”
The visibility afforded by the 1150M ranks with the best in the industry. Floor-to-ceiling glass at the doors with a direct line of sight to the blade corners assists in placement accuracy.
“The visibility is good,” says Fritcha. “You can still see the blade tips whether you have glass or not, and that’s the main thing. You want to be able to see where your blade’s at and what you’re doing.”
“All-in-all, it’s extremely nice, it’s been a pleasure to run,” concludes Fritcha. “You can get a lot of stuff done with that machine.”