CBO attends the 2013 Doosan Editor Boot Camp at the equipment company's Real Operation Center in Arizona.

When I started my job as associate editor of Construction Business Owner two months ago, I never imagined I’d be digging massive holes in the Arizona desert with a 22-metric ton excavator or dumping 20 tons of rock and dirt from the bed of an ADT with tires taller than I am.

But last week I did, and I’ve never had so much fun.

On Oct. 15, I attended the 2013 Doosan Editor Boot Camp at the heavy equipment manufacturer’s Real Operation Center (the ROC).

Located on the grounds of the Asarco Copper Mine in Sahuarita, Ariz., in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, the ROC is a 45-acre expanse of dusty land overlooking the nearby Santa Rita Mountains. I’ve been told wild horses wander the barren outcropping of the ROC, but all I saw was a lineup of massive, bright orange machinery boasting rugged power and prowess.

The Doosan product specialist team spent an entire day explaining the capabilities of Doosan machines and encouraging us to test our own equipment operating abilities.

After the team gave us a safety briefing and detailed walk-around descriptions of the equipment, a product specialist dropped me off at the largest of 10 models of wheel loaders, the 380-hp DL550-3. He showed me the basics of steering and filling the bucket and then shut the door, leaving me alone in the spacious, air-conditioned cabin.

I would be lying if I said my hands weren’t shaking when I gripped the wheel, but after inching through a path lined by orange cones, I put my bucket to the ground and scraped up my first load of dirt, depositing it on a nearby pile.

After a few more buckets of dusty earth, I was relaxed enough to notice some of the capabilities and comforts of the wheel loader, including the standard air-suspension seat, an 11-foot, two-inch dump height and several transmission modes. I had the option of using the FNR joystick or electric steering but opted for the more familiar steering wheel.

As with all Doosan wheel loaders, the DL550-3 is interim Tier-4 compliant.

Some of these features include the hydraulic locking front differential (standard on the DL550-3; optional on other models), lock-up clutch, increased visibility and an LCD display panel for monitoring machine operation data. “IT4 is something that everyone in the industry has to deal with—making our engine emissions compliant due to EPA regulations,” said Shane Reardon, product specialist for wheel loaders. “Well, Doosan took it a step further. Not only did we come up with compliant engines, we also came out with essentially a new series loader.”  

Check out the video below to hear more about Doosan’s line of loaders.

Next, I climbed into the 155-hp DX225LC-3 crawler excavator with 46,848 ft lb of swing torque and 33,510 ft lb of bucket breakout force. After some practice, I could scrape up a fairly full bucket and deposit it with relative ease. I stuck with the standard mode, but the Doosan Electronic Power Optimizing System allows operators to maximize fuel efficiency by choosing from several different modes—including economy, standard, power and power plus—depending on work requirements.

“These (modes) control for different features, different applications,” said Mike Stark, Doosan product specialist for excavators. “(For) heavy digging, you want to get it in the power plus mode. In the economy mode, you get some considerable fuel savings—as much as 25 percent—with a little decrease in productivity.”

To hear Stark describe the features of Doosan excavators, view the videos below. 

Finally, I buckled into the driver’s seat of the DA40 articulated dump truck and turned the key to start the iT4-compliant, 500-hp diesel engine. With the careful instruction of the ADT product specialist, Brian Bereika, seated in the cabin jump seat, I maneuvered the massive machine to an area where we collected a 20-ton, half-capacity load of dirt and rock. As I drove over a series of alternating dirt mounds, the effectiveness of the front-mounted turning ring located in front of the articulation point, the independent front suspension and the free-swinging rear tandem bogie suspension was evident. As the cabin tilted to the side, each of the machine's wheels remained firmly planted on the ground.


For more information about Doosan’s product line, click here.