Excavators are construction vehicles used in various construction activities like road construction for digging and the moving material on the site. They are also commonly referred to as backhoes or diggers, called so because they use wire rope or a hydraulic system to dig holes and trenches. An excavator has a long boom arm that is mounted on a pivot and connected at an elbow to a stick that holds the bucket.
The bucket is an attachment and can be removed and replaced by a different accessory depending on the specification of the work being done. The excavator can be used for different operations at the construction site. The cab of an excavator can rotate a full 360 degrees. For this reason, another common name for an excavator is the 360 degree digger.
An excavator can either be mounted on wheels or on tracks. These are used to facilitate for its mobility and are used in different environments. Track hoes are the type of excavators that are mounted on tracks. Excavators are not only used in construction industries but can also be used in the mining industry and also for lifting heavy loads. Other common uses of excavators include; river dredging, demolition, landscaping and also material handling.
Excavators come in different types and sizes depending on the different jobs they can be employed on. Small excavators are commonly called mini or compact excavators and often come equipped with a bulldozer blade at the front. The smallest type of mini excavators is capable of fitting through a doorway. In contrast, the largest type of excavators can weigh an amazing 180000 lbs.
Compact excavators can be found in 2 distinct types namely the tail swing and zero tail swing models. Conventionally, all compact excavators were tail swing models and had an attached rear counterweight to prevent them from tipping while digging. However the counterweight makes it difficult to maneuver the vehicle as it extends beyond the tracks. The zero tail swing excavators on the other hand have a counter weight that doesn’t extend over the rails and hence make it easier for the operator to maneuver.
Excavators are mainly defined or specified by their arm force, dump height power rating and their dig depth. Originally, all excavators came with the bucket as the only attachment. However, current exactors have a variety of attachments such as grapples, breakers and augers. The buckets also come in different types e.g. tilt general purpose and sorting buckets.
The operator can control the side to side angle of tilt buckets while sorting buckets are used to separate large materials from the smaller ones. The quick attach mounting system makes it easier for attachment switching at the site.