The Ultimate Guide to Excavators

The ultimate guide to excavators

No matter what kind of construction project you are working on, an excavator is one of the most versatile pieces of heavy equipment you will use, making it essential to most operations. 

Excavators can be used for many things, including digging, material handling, landscaping, demolition, mining projects, river dredging, and construction. 

Excavators consist of a boom, an arm, a bucket, and a cab on a rotating superstructure that sits atop an undercarriage with tracks or wheels. 

Additionally, various special tools, such as hydraulic breakers, cutters, shears, grapples, and couplers, can be attached to the end of their boom and arm configurations. 

This makes them even more versatile and allows them to be used in an even wider range of applications.

Excavators also come in many different sizes, ranging from those that can be considered “mini” to those which weigh up to 180,000 pounds.

What are the different types of excavators?

In addition to their varied sizes, you can buy different types of excavators. How do you know which one to buy, though? Well, that depends on what you will need it for, as each type has its own purpose, and some are highly specialized.

Some are more multifunctional, while others may be more fuel efficient or productive. The following excavator types are some of the most common that are available on the market:

1. Crawler excavators

Crawler excavators are optimal for mining and other heavy-duty construction jobs. However, they can also be used to dig sites, demolish structures, and carry out trenching.

They run on two large tracks and use hydraulic power mechanisms to lift heavy objects. The chain wheel system that they operate on allows them to go up or down hills with ease, even when the terrain is uneven.

Crawler excavators also come in a variety of sizes.

2. Wheeled excavators

Wheeled excavators are similar in size, function, and power to crawler excavators. 

However, the main difference is that they run on wheels instead of tracks, which makes them faster and allows them to move more efficiently on concrete, asphalt, and other flat surfaces. 

For this reason, they are often used for roadwork and urban projects.

3. Dragline excavators

Dragline excavators are most commonly used for large-scale civil engineering projects like canal dredging or underwater excavating. 

These excavators are larger, and they operate in a completely different way that involves using a hoist rope system attached to a bucket via a hoist coupler.

This bucket is affixed to a dragline that runs back to the cab. You can raise and lower the bucket with the hoist rope and pull it toward you with the dragline.

4. Suction excavators

As their name suggests, suction excavators’ most significant feature is a suction pipe that can typically provide up to 400 horsepower. First, this excavator releases a water jet that loosens the ground. 

Then, the pipe creates a vacuum that sucks up soil and debris at up to 200 miles per hour. 

This makes suction excavators best for delicate underground operations since they can reduce the likelihood of damage occurring by roughly 50%.

5. Long-reach excavators

As you might have guessed, long-reach excavators feature longer arm and boom sections, which makes it possible for them to be used in harder-to-reach locations. Their arm is generally extendable and can reach as far as 100 feet in a horizontal direction.

Long-reach excavators are frequently used for demolition projects. When different attachments are affixed to the arm, though, they can also be used for jobs involving shearing, crushing, or cutting.

6. Mini-excavators

A mini-excavator may be your best bet if you are working on a crowded or narrow construction site. They look and function the same as a standard excavator but are significantly smaller and lighter. 

Mini-excavators typically incorporate reduced tail swing and, in some cases, eliminate it altogether. This allows them to maneuver around tight turns and avoid contact with obstacles.

What are the most common excavator attachments?

One of the main reasons excavators can be used for such a wide variety of jobs is that they can function with many different hydraulic attachments, each serving a unique purpose.

Buckets are one of the most common attachments. They come in several varieties, but most of them have teeth-like edges that allow them to dig and scoop. 

Auger attachments make it possible to bore into the ground and drill deep holes. They are powered by hydraulic circuits and come in various specifications suited for different terrain types. 

Breakers are like large jackhammers, which is why they are often used to break up tougher surfaces like stone or concrete.

Clamps make it possible to pick up larger materials that may not fit in a bucket, such as trees or large amounts of concrete. It is also important to have a coupler, as it makes it easy to switch between various tools and attachments.

How Great West Equipment Can Help With the Purchase of Your Next Excavator

If you are looking to purchase an excavator to add to your arsenal of heavy machinery, then Great West Equipment can definitely help you. We have a huge selection of both new and used excavators for sale in BC that come in various brands, types, and sizes.

You can feel free to come and take a look at any excavators you are interested in at one of our 11 locations spread across British Columbia and the Yukon. 

Someone from our team of experts in heavy machinery will gladly answer your questions about any of our products or the differences between various models.

After listening to all of your needs and requirements, we can also make some suggestions as to which excavators we feel would be best suited for you. 

We offer competitive pricing and even have financing options available to make your purchase as easy as possible. 

Our ultimate goal is your satisfaction, so we will do whatever we must to ensure you are satisfied with the piece of equipment you bought and the price you paid for it.

We will also gladly set you up with one of our custom-tailored service and repair agreements, so we can continue to ensure that your excavator is constantly performing at the best of its ability.

For more information about our excavator inventory or to request a consultation, call Great West Equipment at 1-833-730-0613 or contact us here.

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