Journey of Cat® D10T dozer to Kiviõli Keemiatööstus’s open-pit mine.
Cat® D10T is one of the largest dozers in the world and now it is working in Estonia in Kiviõli Keemiatööstus’s open-pit mine. Read more about the journey of the dozer from the Caterpillar plant in the USA to the North Kiviõli 2nd quarry in Estonia.
"Hello! Can I have a dozer, please?" The buyer enters the store.
"Good day. Which one would you like?" asks the shopkeeper, curious of the buyer's wishes.
"That first yellow one," exclaims the buyer. "That one on the top right shelf. Is it still 80 tons?"
"Yes, it is," the store owner confirms confidently.
"I'll take it!" The buyer has decided.
"Do you want to pay with cash, or with a card?"
"With a card." The buyer flashes plastic.
The shopper then pays using his credit card, and then takes his selected bulldozer from the shelf. It comes inside of a cardboard box, one with a transparent plastic window so that he can see the product inside of it. He then places it on the counter.
"Done," says the buyer, while the terminal prints the receipt.
"Do you want a plastic bag?" The shopkeeper points to the bulldozer box.
"No, thank you. I have a car around the corner," the buyer smiles. The shopkeeper happily pushes the bulldozer toward the buyer, who then takes the box from the counter.
"Thank you! Please visit us again," the shopkeeper smiles.
“Thank you! I will.” The buyer leaves, satisfied. He then sits in his car and drives to Satsu, not far from Sonda, where the quarry of Kiviõli Keemiatööstus is located.
In actuality, bulldozers are not sold or bought in this way. Well, except for toy bulldozers in a toy shop. An actual bulldozer arrives in your field in a completely different way.
"The need for a new bulldozer arose at the end of last year, when we started quietly looking around for a new machine," recalls Kaidi Sulp, oil shale production manager at Kiviõli Keemiatööstus. He specified that keeping mining machinery up to the date to offer the best working conditions for its miners should be a company’s priority.
Sulp says they were clear about what a new bulldozer should be capable of. It should be like the last one, but better, and more efficient than the previous model. He also determined the search parameters, showing bulldozers from four manufacturers on the screen. Of the variants proposed by Avesco's sales manager for the eastern region, Ain Sarv, two machines made it into the competition.
“You had to choose the right-sized machines and offer them, simple as that," says Sarv, who has been working in the field for fifteen years. As a modest man, he doesn't feel like a hero belonging worthy of the limelight, even though he made history. The CAT D10T is Caterpillar's first bulldozer in Kiviõli Keemiatööstus’s open-pit mine.
"We decided in favor of CAT because Avesco made a good offer and we also found a suitable financial solution in cooperation," praises Sulp. He went on to add: "The sales process has been positive. We have received quick solutions to all our problems and questions, and the small delay in the delivery of the machine due to COVID-19 got resolved in a way that is suitable for both parties. ”
When the hands were shaken, and digital signatures were added to the contract, the bulldozer started its journey from the CAT plant in the USA to the North Kiviõli 2nd quarry in Estonia. It was not rolling on its own tracks or just as a truckload, however, but instead as a special cargo, delivered late at night. First in three big containers from the factory to the ship, then from the port of Paldiski to the Avesco’s workshops, where the machine was finally assembled so that he could be driven in all its beauty on a trailer through the still warm autumn night to the work field between Sonda and Kiviõli.
According to Kuido Liivaoja, the project manager of the special transport company Kaarlaid, towing a bulldozer is an easy job. The bulldozer with trailer is five meters and forty centimeters high, it can fit under all the viaducts and portals on the road. Moreover, the load itself travels to the trailer.
Once the preliminary work has been done, the towing crew must wait. The Road Administration only allows the transport of various oversized items during certain times within the day. When the clock falls twenty-one and ten minutes, a convoy of three minivans and a truck with a bulldozer starts from Saue.
Road construction and agricultural equipment, sometimes even tanks, are constantly transported. Why does this bulldozer get attention? Kuido investigates. Hearing that this is a big deal for Avesco for a new customer, Kuido nods. This time the Avesco’s persons just drive along, ask and take pictures, on other times even the drones rumble over the convoy.
Kuido does not feel like a hero; special loads have been his daily and nightly work for the last ten years. This truck is one of the most powerful machines possible. Convoy machines communicate via radio transmitters. A trailer that transports a bulldozer costs about half a million euros, when bought new. When you plan on buying one, you also need to go to the manufacturer's training to get a certificate stating that you understand and can handle its levers and taps.
"It's going well," Liivoja informs the radio transmitter. The truck driver is satisfied, the traffic signs on the roadside have remained untouched, and the work is going smoothly.
"I'll let three more through and then we'll turn around the traffic," the first car reports. Three headlights swarm along. At night, all cars appear to be gray.
"And I shut it down," the new announcement shouts. The truck starts to turn onto the Tallinn ring road. Let's drive, we have the whole night ahead.
"The plow goes nicely over the traffic sign," praises Liivoja from behind.
"I'll let go of the traffic and drive ahead again," the voice from the first car says on the air.
Kuido states that road users often do not know anything about the rules of special loads, or their privileges. It is very rude to ignore stop signals, so depending on the load and the collision, you can become the owner of a convertible or a stump. In Latvia, a police car moves along with the special cargo column, and in Belarus, there are also armed men tagging along, our people have received traffic training for special carriers and given the right to stop and direct others.
"What speed are we taking, sixty-five, will the tires remain okay?" asks the truck driver when he reaches a straight line. The road leads to Jägala via Pening. “Yes. When driving faster, the tires will be smoking soon under such a weight,” says Liivoja.
As a rule, a car travels along the Tallinn-Narva four-lane almost twice as fast as a special load. The yellow rear-end of the bulldozer shines in the headlights of the last escort car. Due to repairs, the road is occasionally two-lane. The lights of the opponents flash on our faces. We have been warned of them, the first machine announces in advance. They all fit nicely under the edge of the plow, but still respectfully hold to their side of the road.
It is calmer to drive on a side road, the old highway, of which runs through the ancient villages, through which alleyways the bulldozer tends to load rape branches so that fresh autumn leaves rotate in the lights of the escort car and on the windshield, but there is nothing special or dangerous about it.
"If wind farms are built, the access roads will be inspected there for years before, if necessary, the forest will be cut down at the turnouts," says Kuido, specifying that special transport can be an expensive and labor-intensive undertaking. First of all, there is all of the required paperwork, permits, and approvals. After that comes the route planning, white loading on the day of transport, and transportation in the dark. If necessary, restrain others. If necessary, traffic signs are removed, including over-highway portals with signs. Only the bridges cannot be lifted or tested for load-bearing capacity. Everything else is possible. The yellow bulldozer for Kiviõli Keemiatööstus is still a small thing, easy driving along a well-known road.
Near Rakvere, it is time to turn back to Narva highway through Haljala. Someone here has set off a traffic sign on the roundabout. The men laugh that he did the job. Even if it wasn't needed, the bulldozer fits between the marks with a margin. Sõmeru already seems to be coming out of the dark. Rakvere is at the back, Sämi bridge will soon come and the road turns right onto Kiviõli road.
"The Road Administration does not take us directly into account, because according to the law they have to ensure the conditions for normal traffic," says Liivoja, when the column takes off the momentum at the entrance to Sonda.
The roundabout signs must be turned sideways in front of the bulldozer's wide plow and the truck must be twisted through a narrow circle. Now comes the game of men's training and special permission to solve such situations with their expertise. But before we get to work, another towing truck passes us by with a smaller shuttle bus on the hook. The clock shows midnight, someone else's life is also an adventure.
The signs are turned and twisted back, the load rolls through the night silence of the Sonda and then turns from black asphalt to the right into a gray gravel road. Five hundred more meters and we have made it - cargo unloads itself, parks itself and the job is done. It’s one o’clock. There are some stars shining in the autumn sky.
When the sun rises, that's when the bulldozer drivers come and start removing the soil and limestone layer from the oil shale with their new machine. "Since we have been using bulldozers from one specific manufacturer for years, this time we did not involve a lot of people who will start working with this machine," says Sulp, who promises: "However, we will do it when choosing the next machine, because then they have a comparative moment. Of course, some men already have it, because they have also worked with CAT technology in the past. ” And really - who wouldn't like CATs? Sulp does not rule out that if one CAT is already in the quarry, they may choose other CATs to befriend it.