What are Excavators?

 A common piece of earth moving equipment found on most construction sites, excavators are a must when there is a need for heavy lifting of soil. This piece of versatile equipment is made up of a bucket, arm, rotating cab, and movable tracks giving them the power to dig trenches, lift heavy loads and excavate mines with great ease. They are indispensable machines as they are used for a variety of tasks such as road construction, demolition, mining, and building construction. The world’s heaviest excavator is also the world’s largest land vehicle which is the Bagger 293 bucket wheel excavator, manufactured by TAKRAF it weighs 14,200 tons.

History of Excavators

The first-ever excavator was created in the 1830s in America due to the need for speed when railroad construction was booming. Known as the “grandfather of hydraulic excavators” William Otis a 22-year-old from Massachusetts, along with the help of Charles French invented the first steam shovel, which shared many features with the modern-day excavator. However, the first-ever hydraulic excavator was created in 1882 by W. G Armstrong & Company in England as they quickly realised that hydraulic force was far more effective.

In 1897, the Kilgore Machine Company of America created the first all-hydraulic excavator. Like the modern excavator, it could be controlled by one person, whose movement of the controls was instantly replicated by the machine itself.

After WWII ended construction was booming as roads and highways were built around the globe, in the 1960s was a time when many construction equipment manufacturers emerged. This meant machinery became more refined, safer, and efficient to become what we know it as today.

Types of Excavators

Crawler Excavators are used for mining, landscape grading and trench digging, runs on two rotating tracks instead of wheels similar to a tank. This popular earth moving machine is ideal for steep, rough or muddy landscapes as it has a better balance due to the chain wheel. This is what most people in the construction industry would class as the standard excavator.

Wheeled Excavators are similar to the crawler however the difference is that this machine has wheels not tracks. Mostly used on asphalt or concrete this machine does not work well on muddy or hilly terrain, it is more suitable for a hard or flat surface. A benefit of this piece of equipment is that it is faster than a crawler and moves easily on concrete.

Hydraulic Shovels are also known as power shovels this piece of equipment has a powerful engine and large bucket capacity making it perfect for mining and heavy digging projects. However, although it is great for lifting heavy loads it is larger than needed for several jobs.  

Long Reach Excavators evident through their name this type of machine is used to get to hard-to-reach areas. The long extendable arm which can reach between 40 and 100 feet, makes excavating at a distance safer. This machine can be ideal for demolition projects over a body of water.

Dragline Excavators although they are large in size, they are the correct machine when you need to dig a great depth as they have the ability to dig up to 65 meters or more. These specific excavators operate differently from the usual as they use a hoist rope system and a dragline to raise and lower the bucket to drag it towards the driver.

Whereas Skid Steer Excavators are used mainly for more narrow tasks where the space is limited. As it is on wheels not tracks it is not as reliable on rough terrain. Another difference is the bucket faces away from the driver. These machines can be found in residential areas or for smaller projects to clear sites and remove debris.

Suction Excavators are also known as vacuum excavators are used for more fragile digging tasks, cleaning up debris and underground projects. The system within the machine sucks up soil and debris at speeds of 200 miles per hour. This would be the machine used for more precise tasks.

Browse our wide selection of excavators below from leading brands such as LiebherrHitachiHyundai and Komatsu. If you have specific requirements for your excavator that are not shown below, please do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable team who can help to source the perfect machine for you. Before shipment, we always ensure that our machines are up-to-date and are fully tested. Should you require something more specialist, please contact us and our expert team will aim to source the machine required for your project.