When John Deere Construction & Forestry began engineering a new production-class crawler dozer to replace its then-flagship 1050J model, the new machine’s design centered on four key performance criteria: horsepower, operating weight, track-on-ground, and a drive system that could most effectively translate these factors into optimum pushing power. Unlike the 1050J, the new model would be completely engineered by John Deere and built in the company’s Dubuque, Iowa, factory.
Some five years later, when the 1050K was introduced in fall 2014, its 13.5-liter John Deere engine developed 350 maximum net horsepower. Average weight was 95,000 pounds—94,000 with a semi-U (Universal) blade and a single-shank ripper, 96,000 with a semi-U and a multi-shank ripper—and a bit less when a winch or 5,000-pound counterweight replaces the ripper. Track-on-ground was just shy of 135 inches, and a heavy-duty, dual-path hydrostatic drive system transmitted power to the ground.
These ample specifications, says Mark Oliver, John Deere’s product marketing manager for crawler dozers, ensure that the 1050K will be productive at what it’s designed to do—“push a lot of dirt and rock,” he says—and will also give buyers more choice in the production-class market. Oliver is quick to add, however, that serviceability and operator efficiency were also high on the list of design goals.
“Serviceability and uptime are critical for a machine this size,” says Oliver. “With its tilting cab—an industry exclusive for a machine this size—the 1050K can be placed in a service-ready orientation in about 10 minutes for wide-open access to major hydraulic and hydrostatic components. There’s also great access to the engine, despite Tier 4 after treatment hardware.”
The decision to use the hydrostatic drive, says Oliver, was based on the system’s overall efficiency and reliability, as well as on the company’s long experience with the system. Because John Deere is both building the engine and writing the software for the hydrostatic system, he says, the 1050K can be “dialed in” for optimum performance. But beyond those advantages, says Oliver, the hydrostatic system also provides the most latitude for operators to tailor machine performance to their preferences:
“Production-class dozers typically are run by the best, most-experienced operators, and we wanted to offer these people the ability to customize the 1050K’s performance to their liking—an important consideration in high-production applications.”