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Bulldozers And Graders Blurring The Lines

If you were to place a bulldozer and road grader side-by-side you would have to admit they were completely different machines. About the only similarity between the two is they both have blades. The bulldozer’s blade is front and center whilst the road grader’s blade is somewhat smaller in height, often wider, and slung under the machine. Looking at them, you would imagine they would do completely different types of work.

That was true several years ago. The bulldozer was the ‘bull’ of a construction site. Its job was to virtually tear everything up and leave the area relatively flat. The grader’s job was then to come in and do all the fine work to exact measurements.

As Bob Dylan once sang, ‘times they are a changing’. With the inception of modern technology such as GPS and laser leveling, bulldozers can now do many of the tasks often left to the road graders. Modern technology can now do wonders – in this case, taking a big powerful brute of a machine and turning it into a gentle machine that do a lot of the fine tuning once the domain of a road grader.

This doesn’t mean that road graders are now defunct. One of the reasons that laser leveling was introduced was to ease the load on road graders. They can now be left to perform the final finishing touches to a new road – the real ‘grading’ needed before the hard surface is laid.

What does this mean when it comes to employment opportunities and training? First, it reinforces the need to undertake training that includes experience on a variety of equipment. Secondly, it lifts the skill levels of operators. Bulldozer operators need to learn to use laser leveling and the art of grading using a dozer blade, whilst road grader operators need to hone their skills in the area of fine or finishing grading. It all comes back to training. Your heavy equipment training should include experience on both bulldozers and road graders – that will set you up to perform either role with ease.

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