Types of Heavy Equipment Used in Construction: Massive machines perform the heavy-duty tasks that drive the construction of roads, buildings, bridges, and infrastructure. Operators rely on sturdy, specialized equipment to excavate, load, haul, lift, and grade effectively on job sites. Let’s examine 15 examples of essential heavy equipment that enable large-scale construction.
15 Types of Heavy Equipment Used in Construction
Excavators utilize a movable boom, arm, and bucket to dig trenches, lift debris, or move earth and rock. The operator sits in a cab atop a pivot and can rotate the upper section 360 degrees for precise control. Hydraulics power the arm and bucket for digging forces up to 50,000 pounds. Popular variations include conventional excavators with tracks or wheels and more compact mini and micro excavators. Their versatility makes excavators ubiquitous across sites.
Backhoes consist of a front shovel bucket combined with an articulated backhoe arm for digging off to one side. The backhoe can reach depths around 20 feet depending on the model size and configuration. Scooping, lifting, scraping, or trenching, backhoes efficiently handle a variety of earthmoving tasks in modest spaces a large excavator cannot access. Their front bucket also loads dump trucks and equipment.
The quintessential earthmover, bulldozers use brute power to reshape the terrain. The driver sits inside a protective cab and controls the heavy blade in front to push, cut, scrape, and shove rock, soil, debris, and more out of the way. Large bulldozers have incredible momentum and cleating that allows them to rip through obstacles. Bulldozers represent must-have machines for major grading, landscaping, and site preparation.
Also known as road graders or blade graders, motor graders consist of a long blade set between the front and rear axles used to level roads and surfaces. Skilled operators finely control the blade’s angle, height, and tilt to cut high points, fill low spots, and smooth materials. Graders work in concert with other earthmovers then provide finishing touches and slope grading for roads and parking lots.
5. Wheel Loaders
Wheel loaders utilize a front-mounted bucket connected to the chassis by mechanical lift arms to scoop, lift, and dump loose material rapidly. The operator fills the bucket by driving forward, then raises the bucket upwards to stack, load trucks, or deposit material in piles. Loaders work continuously with other equipment like excavators to transfer material around construction zones efficiently with quick loading cycles.
6. Dump Trucks
Dump trucks are essential workhorses across jobsites hauling tons of materials between loading and unloading points. The defining feature is a hinged open bed that hydraulically lifts towards the front, using gravity to discharge the load. Variations range from small 10-wheel units to gargantuan mining dump trucks. They efficiently convey rock, soil, debris, concrete, bricks, or anything a loader can bucket.
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Trenchers dig ditches and trenches for pipes, cables, drainage, or other underground infrastructure. The most common style uses a toothed metal bucket that rotates on a boom to grind through soil and chew a channel into the earth. Trenchers may ride on tracks or wheels and vary size depending on the required depth and width of trench.
8. Tower Cranes
Tower cranes provide towering vertical reach on large multi-year projects like high-rise construction. Fixed to the ground on a concrete pedestal, the tall mast supports a horizontal jib with a trolley to raise and suspend heavy loads midair. Tower cranes efficiently lift steel, precast concrete, HVAC units, and anything else for installation at great heights through rigging.
Asphalt and concrete pavers evenly spread and distribute material during resurfacing and construction of roads, bridges, runways, parking lots, and other surfaces. The paver’s operator precisely controls the flow of material from the truck onto the surface while maintaining proper coverage, depth, and smoothness. Pavers create high-quality, long-lasting paved surfaces.
After earthmoving and paving, compactors densify and settle material through vibration and compression. This compaction provides increased load capacity and stability. Different types include rammers, plate compactors, drum rollers, and pneumatic rollers that supplies compression force through varied methods. Compaction is vital for engineering strong foundations.
Telehandlers, also called telescopic handlers, are versatile machines that combine the lifting capability of a crane with the mobility of a wheel or track loader. They utilize a telescoping boom that can reach upwards to position tools, pallets, or materials up high. The operator cabin tilts for improved visibility looking up. Telehandlers provide increased lifting options on sites.
12. Feller Bunchers
In logging and land clearing operations, feller bunchers rapidly cut down trees and gather them together for transport. The machine integrates a cutting head with an articulated arm for gathering multiple trees into bunches by their trunks. The cutting heads typically incorporate saws, shears, or discs for high-speed tree harvesting.
13. Skid Steer Loaders
Skid steer loaders are small but strong loaders suited for lifting and moving materials in tight spaces with their distinctive zero turning radius. Four individual hydraulic wheel motors afford extreme maneuverability. A wide selection of specialized attachments like rock augers, trenchers, sweepers, grapples, and more make skids steers exceptionally versatile machines.
14. Asphalt Milling Machines
Also called cold planers, asphalt milling machines are used when resurfacing roads and parking lots to remove worn top layers of asphalt for replacement. The milling drum disintegrates the pavement surface as it rotates using carbide teeth. Conveyors then collect the debris into dump trucks. Milling reestablishes a sound base for fresh asphalt layers.
15. Concrete Mixers
Concrete mixers blend cement, aggregates like gravel, and water into fresh concrete ready for pouring. The rotating drum tumbles ingredients together while moving for optimal mixing. Concrete mixers may be stationary or truck-mounted for transporting batches to job sites. They provide an efficient, consistent concrete material vital in all construction.
The excavators, dozers, loaders, cranes, haulers, pavers, and other heavy machinery showcased here demonstrate their indispensability in major construction projects. As equipment manufacturers continue advancing machine power, precision, efficiency, and capabilities, these powerful titans will keep shaping the infrastructure enabling modern life. Heavy equipment underpins civilization’s development by multiplying human muscle.
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