Earthmoving Equipment: 5 Common Types and Their Uses
Earthmoving equipment are heavy duty vehicles that are usually used to move huge amount of soil, relocate heavy boulders and remove piles of debris from project sites. Earthmoving heavy equipment are generally hired at hourly rates. Hiring them for a project usually costs a lot. Therefore, it is important that project managers or companies should have a basic idea about earthmoving machines.
Described below are few common types of heavy equipment and their uses.
1. Backhoe Loader
A backhoe loader looks similar to a tractor but it comes with few modifications. It is fitted with an adjustable shovel at the front and carries a small backhoe at the back. This earthmoving equipment is mostly used in urban engineering. This is because it has a small size and is highly versatile too.
Its small size also makes it ideal to be used in small construction projects. It can perform a variety of tasks which include transportation of building materials, small demolitions, digging holes, and asphalt breaking.
Also known as a motor grader or blade, this earthmoving equipment is used for creation of flat surfaces. A typical model of a grader will have three axles. The engine along with cab is placed above the rear axles while the third axle is placed at the front end. The blade is located in between them. In some countries, graders are equipped with a second blade located near the front axle.
The most basic function of a grader is to level the site after rough grading by other heavy-duty vehicles like bulldozers or scrapers. Apart from leveling, graders with second blades are also used for underground mining.
This construction equipment comes in variety of models and is mainly used for digging trenches for laying cables and pipes. Trenchers vary in sizes and they can be attached to other equipment like a tractor or a skid loader to convert into heavy-tracked equipment. Besides digging purposes, a trencher is also used for constructing drainage system and for preparing trench warfare.
A trencher carries excavated materials through a conveyor system. The type and size of trencher used for work depends largely on hardness of material. Trenchers should be operated by experts only as they are extremely dangerous.
An excavator is perhaps the most common type of earthmoving equipment and finds maximum use in construction industry. It is known for its versatility and can perform several tasks. It is made up of a bucket, a cab, stick and a boom. The structures rest on a rotating platform also known as ‘house’. An excavator is usually divided into two main sections – undercarriage and house.
An undercarriage consists of the blade (if attached), final drives (containing hydraulic motor), track frame and tracks. The house consists of engine, hydraulic oil tanks and operator cab. There are different types of excavators namely hydraulic and cable-operated excavators.
Key functions of an excavator include digging trenches and foundations, forestry works, demolishing buildings, river dredging and mining.
Harvester is typically used in projects which require forest clearing. It is employed for various logging operations like bucking and felling trees. A harvester is built on terrain vehicle which is wheeled or tracked. At times, vehicles are articulated that provide tight turning capability to the harvester. Harvesting mechanism is carried out through hydraulic drive and is powered by a diesel engine.
A harvester often comes combined with a forwarder to haul logs to a proper landing. Though harvester can be extremely effective in hilly terrains, it is most competitive for operations with short distance to landing.
Selection of earthmoving machines depends largely on the project site and type of work. There is no doubt that heavy construction equipment are effective in accomplishing complicated tasks. But most of these equipment are dangerous and carry potential threats if they aren’t handled properly. Hence, before hiring earthmoving machines, companies should ensure that they get machines from reputed dealers and hire right persons for handling the same.
L&D Earthmoving is a public limited company experts across all types of earthmoving applications.