10 Types of Heavy Equipment & Machines
Heavy equipment and machinery are frequently used in projects for construction, earth-moving, road-paving, forestry, and more. Heavy equipment is often essential for construction projects, regardless of the scope of the project. Selecting the right heavy equipment for your project can make the process easier, faster, and less expensive. Below is a list of 10 types of construction and earth-moving heavy equipment and their most common uses.
Excavators are a type of large machinery that consists of a hydraulic crane-like boom with a metal-pronged shovel on the end. The operator is typically located in a driver’s cab with a rotating platform that is mounted on wheels or tracks. The 360-degree rotation of the operator platform allows for increase maneuverability. Excavators can be fitted with additional attachments to increase the versatility of the machinery when needed for different job functions. Excavators are frequently used to dig, crush, lift, landscape, and demolish in medium to heavy-duty jobs. Mini-excavators can accomplish many of the same activities with a smaller footprint in light to medium-duty jobs.
2) Backhoe (Backhoe Loader)
Backhoe loaders, often called backhoes, are a versatile piece of equipment that combines the utility of a tractor, loader, and backhoe into a single machine. The body of a backhoe resembles a tractor with an adjustable shovel in the front and a bucket in the rear. Although it is not considered small for heavy-equipment it is excellent for operations that need multiple functions within a limited space. Backhoes are often used for moving materials, backfilling, digging holes or trenches, and placing materials.
3) Dozers (Bulldozers)
Dozers are a type of heavy equipment that is commonly recognized for the large front blade. Bulldozers are often considered among the strongest and most powerful types of heavy equipment. Dozers can be wheel-mounted or track-mounted, depending on the application and environment, but track-mounted dozers are more common. The metal blade on the front of the equipment has many uses including, pushing, loosening, carrying, and condensing material. It is often used to move large quantities of material over a short distance.
4) Scrapers (Wheel Tractor-Scraper)
A scraper, also called a wheel tractor-scraper, is a style of heavy-equipment that can feature a sharp front edge for cutting, a hopper for collecting material, and a rear hopper with a sharp edge for flattening a surface. The two tools work together to clear an area and deposit the material into a hopper to transport it to a different area. Wheel tractor-scrapers are used to grade a surface, while also collecting the material that is loosened.
5) Motor Graders
Motor graders are an essential piece of heavy equipment used in road creation and maintenance. Motor graders are designed with an outstretched nose that allows the blade to be housed between the front and rear axles of the six-wheeled machine. The cutting edge can have a variety of blade profiles, including flat, curved, serrated, scarifier, and corrugated in order to break through the surface material. The equipment is often used to flatten a surface with a metal grader blade that evenly grades the area it passes over or transports small amounts of dirt over a surface.
6) Pavers & Rollers
Pavers are a style of equipment used to lay asphalt during road construction projects, it is often accompanied by a dump truck which provides the asphalt and followed by a roller. The paver machine contains a feeding bucket which is used to distribute asphalt evenly on the road surface before being lightly packed down. A roller is then used to compact and compress the asphalt. This fully flattened surface ensures that the asphalt is properly in place and smoothly finished.
Skid steers are a small and maneuverable type of heavy-equipment that is often used for a variety of jobs. The skid steer is designed to turn within its own footprint, making it ideal for confined spaces or areas of finished construction. The front of the machine, directly in front of the operator cabin, is an attachment area for different types of tools that can be used for digging, drilling, compacting, pushing, log grappling, snow blowing, lifting, jack-hammering, and other tasks.
As you may have guessed, a trencher is a type of heavy equipment used for digging trenches in the ground. While trencher models can range in size, it will have an outstretched arm in the front, similar to a chainsaw. This front arm is equipped with a heavy metal chain to cut into the surface and uses a conveyor system to move the loosened material. Trenchers are commonly used for ditches, pipe laying, cable laying, developing drainage systems, and excavating hard surface layers.
9) Loaders (Track & Wheel Loaders)
These two types of loaders often have an overlap with skid-steers and excavator style equipment. Track loaders are similar to a skid-steer, but have a larger footprint, larger capacity, and can be used on heavy-duty projects. Wheel loaders can tackle the same style of jobs, but are more maneuverable, making them comparable to backhoes minus the rear backhoe bucket. These two types of equipment are often used to load material onto dumpers or trucks, excavate raw materials, lifting, pushing, and moving materials around a worksite.
10) Feller Bunchers
Feller Bunchers are a type of heavy equipment that is used as a harvester in the forestry and logging industries. The machine is commonly built with a four-wheel base, multiple metal arms, and a cutting blade. A feller buncher is used as if it were a replacement for a lumberjack that cuts, harvests, and then carries trees.
Commonly Asked Question – What Is Heavy Equipment?
Heavy equipment, also called heavy machinery, is a type of heavy-duty vehicles that are designed to perform moving, demolition, digging, or lifting tasks. The vehicle can either be moved using wheels or a track-type undercarriage and typically have an operator cab. It is common for these types of vehicles to have hydraulic extensions or attachments that can be used for specific activities. Heavy-equipment is often used in construction, road maintenance, earth-moving, and forestry-related industries.