What heavy equipment is used in construction?
- Construction vehicles
- Forklift and others.
Heavy construction, or as it is also called, heavy and civil engineering construction, is the part of industry in charge of the infrastructure. Its main area of expertise and responsibility is the essential infrastructure of cities, towns, villages and other similar areas where communities of people live. This essential infrastructure includes roads, bridges, tunnels, water systems, dams, mass transportation, such as the railroad, the underground or the bus lanes, utilities, parks, runways etc.
It is called “heavy” construction due to the nature of the work that is done, which is in majority high-scale excavations, big constructions, digging, grading, hauling etc. For these high-scale tasks, big and powerful machinery and tools are needed, and those can be grouped into several categories, according to the nature of work done by each, their purpose or technique. Here are some of those categories, and some of the best tools and equipment in each.
Digging and excavation equipment
This equipment category includes some of the biggest and heaviest tools and machinery used in construction, such as excavators, different types of loaders, bulldozers, trenchers, graders, scrapers etc.
When it comes to excavators there are two main types – those on wheels and those on tracks. The latter type has become the industry’s standard, since it is more convenient, efficient and easier to move around.
Excavators are indispensable in heavy construction, as they perform a wide range of different important operations, and as they are used in different tasks and basic operations: digging foundations, trenches, material handling, heavy lifting, demolition, grading, mining and others. New technological developments have also reached the heavy construction machinery, so there are now remote control excavators available on the market.
There are different kinds of loaders available, such as backhoe, skid-steer and crawler. While backhoe loader is the most common one, its range of operations, as well as its space, is more limited due their smaller size compared to other types. Skid-steer loaders are among the best and most versatile when it comes to their function in construction. They are very easy to operate, and they can turn within their own footprint, which makes them very valuable in construction, especially in smaller, more confined areas.
Don’t miss out! Biggest construction companies in the world
One of the most powerful and strongest pieces of equipment in construction is a bulldozer. Its main function is to move dirt or piles of earth along wide and large areas of land, as well as rough or fine grading.
The main function of a grader is similar to that of a bulldozer, but it is used only for fine, and not rough grading. It moves smaller amounts and piles of earth, and it can also be used for mining it if has a second blade on the front. One of their functions is also preparing the grounds before asphalt is placed, as well as creating sloped surfaces or drainage ditches.
When it comes to vehicles in heavy construction, the most important ones are tippers and dumpers, i.e. tip trucks and dumper trucks. Their main function is similar, and that is carrying and transporting big, heavy and bulk loads. The difference between them is that with tip trucks, their rear platform can be lifted up with the help of hydraulic rams, in order to discharge the load that they are carrying. They are usually used for the transportation of loose material, such as sand, gravel and similar ones needed at the construction site, or for transporting waste material, such as from the demolition.
Material handling equipment
This category of heavy construction equipment includes machinery and tools used for the movement, transportation, loading and unloading of different materials, as well as for their control and protection. Some of the most important ones are cranes, conveyors, hoists and forklifts, among others.
In construction, a crane is used to horizontally move, transport, lift and lower different materials on variable paths in restricted areas, and usually when a conveyor cannot be used of justified. In comparison to conveyors, they are more flexible in their movement, and they can transport and lift materials of different shapes, sizes and weight. They usually operate in a restricted area, in a fixed position, which makes them a little less flexible in comparison to industrial trucks, for example. But there are also certain types of cranes with a portable platform.
Conveyor is a piece of mechanical equipment used in heavy construction for the transportation of materials from one place to another. They are used to transport heavy and bulk materials and are very efficient and quick. They are used in fixed paths when something needs to be moved frequently between specific locations on this path. There are different types of conveyors, categorized according to different aspects of it or the product: unit load, bulk load, on-floor, in-floor, roller, flat-belt, and many others.
Hoist operates on the basis of drum or lift-wheel, with a chain or rope wrapped around it. It is used to lift or lower different things and materials that are too heavy to be handled manually. In construction it is also known as Buckhoist, Man-lift, builder hoist or construction elevator, and it is usually used on high-rise, tall buildings and large scale projects. Apart from the materials, they can also be used to carry equipment as well as personnel between different levels and floors of the building. They can be operated manually, electrically or pneumatically.
Read also: 5 essential tools in construction work
A forklift is a type of an industrial truck and its main use is in lifting and moving materials over smaller distances. It is also known as lift truck, fork hoist or fork truck. It is operated by man, it has a cabin, and a fork in the front. Forklifts come in many different types and load capacities, usual between one and five tons, but there are some larger and more powerful ones that can transport loads of up to 50 tons.
Other construction equipment
Depending on the type of the construction project, there is a myriad of other machinery, tools and equipment needed to successfully execute and finish the project. These were some of the most powerful, useful, or most commonly used pieces of equipment in heavy construction.
“Matt J is a writer and editor working closely with local contractors. He is specialized in home improvement, smart technology, construction, and architecture.”