LGP vs Standard Dozer: Finding the Ideal Bulldozer for Your Needs
In terms of power, size, and task variety, bulldozers are the powerhouses of heavy equipment. The two variations, standard and low ground pressure (LGP), make bulldozer models even more versatile and capable. It's important to make an informed decision when choosing between LGP and standard dozers since they each work best under certain conditions.
Overview of LGP Dozers
Features and Characteristics
Low-ground pressure dozers are simply a variation of a standard bulldozer. They're designed to operate efficiently on soft, wet, and muddy terrain. LGP dozers are also known as wide-track dozers since they have wider tracks and blades that help distribute their weight and prevent them from sinking into the ground and getting stuck while operating. They're often used in muddy, swamp-like conditions where standard dozers would susceptible to sinking.
Low-ground pressure dozers are readily available, as most bulldozer manufacturers offer the same model in a standard and low-ground pressure configuration. You can check out our bulldozer spec guide to see the variety of LGP dozer models available.
If a bulldozer isn't labeled as "low-ground pressure" or "wide-track," it's a standard dozer with a regular configuration. Komatsu labels their low-ground pressure dozers with "PX" and their standard-track dozers as "EX."
Due to their flotation capabilities and wide blades, wide-track dozer's clear material very well in difficult soil conditions. These machines are often used for clearing and earthmoving in swamps, marshes, and soft terrain. Pipeline and energy work often occurs in areas with wet soil, so these are common jobs that use LGP dozers.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The main advantage of a wide-track dozer is its floatation capabilities. Wider tracks help disperse pressure onto a larger area so the machine doesn't sink very far into the ground. This prevents the dozer from getting stuck in wet conditions, which standard dozers struggle to operate in. There's still a chance that an LGP dozer will get stuck, but it's less likely compared to a standard dozer working in the same operating conditions.
Wide-track dozers also perform well on slopes. Their wider undercarriage and tracks increase stability and balance on sloped ground. LGP dozers also have wider blades than standard models. Because widened tracks physically increase the machine's size, wide-track dozers must have wider blades than standard dozers. And hopefully, with a wider blade, it'll take fewer passes to clear material.
Despite their benefits, wide-track dozers have much higher operating and maintenance costs than standard dozers do. It takes a lot of effort to turn an LGP dozer because friction and resistance build up when turning wider tracks. This causes more wear and tear on the machine's undercarriage and track chains, which results in greater maintenance and fuel consumption. On a medium-sized LGP dozer, undercarriage maintenance accounts for roughly 60% of operating costs.
Overview of Standard Dozers
Features and Characteristics
Bulldozers are a class of heavy equipment used for pushing large amounts of material, earthmoving, excavating, leveling, and demolition. They have sealed cabins and blades, and typically run on tracks. There are many bulldozer attachments used to enhance functionality, including winches, blades, rippers, and rakes. In comparison to an LGP machine, standard dozers have narrower tracks and blades.
There's a massive range in size, power, and blade specs among bulldozers. In turn, bulldozers are some of the most dependable and versatile equipment on site. Standard dozers perform the tasks listed above for general construction, mining, quarry, agricultural, land clearing, grading, and factory projects. They can remove trees, dig shallow trenches, level and push material, and cut hills.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Unless the ground conditions require a low-ground pressure dozer, it's best to use a standard model. Regular dozers have significantly lower operating and fuel costs because their undercarriages, tracks, and transmission undergo less stress. The only disadvantage to using a standard dozer over an LGP model is that it's more likely to get stuck and struggle to operate in difficult terrain.
Another advantage of standard dozers is greater blade capacity. Wide-track dozers do have wider blades than standard models. Even though wider blades push more material, they can't hold as much capacity because the material spreads out along the blade as it pushes through piles. Bulldozers are mainly used for pushing, but projects that require more blade capacity, as opposed to width, would be better suited to a standard dozer configuration.
Comparing LGP and Standard Dozers
Ground Pressure and Soil Compaction
Structurally, the tracks on an LGP dozer are wider and longer than the tracks on a standard dozer. This is why LGP dozers exert much less pressure on the ground than standard dozers. With wide tracks, the dozer's weight is transferred to a wider area, and in turn, pressure is better dispersed across the tracks. This prevents the dozer from significantly sinking into the ground, allowing it to "float" over wet terrain.
Since wide-track dozers have more flotation and less ground pressure, they compact soil less than standard dozers do. The tracks on regular dozers exert more force onto a concentrated spot, so they have better soil compaction capabilities.
Traction and Maneuverability
LPG dozers have better traction in wet earth than standard dozers. However, on harder ground, standard dozers have better traction because more weight is concentrated into the ground, allowing the machine to gain traction.
Standard configuration dozers are easier to maneuver than wide-tracked alternatives. Standard bulldozers impose less strain on their undercarriages while turning, making them the better option on job sites where the dozer needs to navigate obstacles while clearing.
Performance in Different Ground Conditions
Each dozer variation has its specialty: low-ground pressure dozers work best on soft terrain while standard dozers work best on harder, more stable terrain. Harder surfaces that don't require flotation, like rock, can damage an LGP dozer's undercarriage whereas standard dozers will have better traction, grip, and maneuverability on rock, hard soil, and other solid terrains.
Jobsite Accessibility and Versatility
Both dozer configurations are versatile machines that can handle multiple tasks. However, LGP dozers were designed to perform those tasks specifically in soft terrain. Otherwise, the machine can be damaged and the increased operating costs outweigh its benefits. From this perspective, standard dozers are more versatile. However, it's best to use each model in their respective soil conditions.
Both types of dozers require transportation permits and are transported to job sites via flatbed trailers. The size of wide-track dozers may be a consideration during transportation, but the process is pretty similar.
Guidelines for Selecting the Appropriate Machine
The best way to choose between a regular and a wide-track dozer is to look at your job site's terrain. Maneuverability, maintenance, and cost are also important decision factors to evaluate. It's best to choose a low-ground pressure dozer over a standard one when the following conditions apply:
- On sandy, muddy, wet terrain
- When you require additional stability on slopes
- When the ground can't withstand excess pressure
- When flotation capabilities are required
- When there are limited obstacles in the dozer's clearing path
- When maintenance costs are less of a concern
Choosing the Right Dozer for Your Project
Both low-ground pressure and standard dozers are essential contributors to construction, earthmoving, mining, and agricultural projects. The most important factor to consider when choosing between the two configurations is ground conditions. Choose the LGP machine in soft, wet terrain and the standard machine in dryer terrain. Maneuverability, operating cost, and project requirements are the next factors to evaluate in your decision.
For your next construction project, check out DOZR's equipment rental marketplace where you can request either standard or LGP dozer rentals!