Types of Excavators

Many major construction projects often require the use of an excavator, especially if there is some groundwork to be done. These machines usually consist of a dipper or stick, a bucket, and cab on a rotating platform called a house. Using complex hydraulics, they are used to dig and haul large amounts of materials.

Some excavators use linear actuation of hydraulic cylinders, while others are cable-operated. The latter use winches and steel ropes to perform their task. 

The Different Types of Excavators

Excavators are mainly used for digging trenches, holes, and foundations, but there are different kinds of these machines. Each of these types is more suited to certain functions, which we will discuss later in depth. 

The Crawler

A crawler excavator or crawling digger is a vehicle with tracks similar to tanks. It is used to dig, grade, or move earth and other large objects like pipes and stones. These machines have the ability to pick up and transport materials as they proceed throughout the site. 

Crawlers consist of a chassis, rotor support, central swivel joints, counterweights, panels, cab, and air conditioners. Many equipment traders in Canada value these machines as they are highly versatile for medium to large-sized construction and mining operations. 

The Dragline Excavator

This is popularly used in construction and surface mining, with two subtypes available for different uses. There are those that are based on standard lifting cranes as well as heavy units that have to be assembled at the site. The latter are generally designed to be dismantled and transported over the road on flatbed trailers. 

Dragline Excavators are often used for road construction, port construction, pond and canal dredging, and pile driving rigs. It is also not uncommon for crawler cranes to be fitted with a winch drum on the front to function as a dragline. This multi-functionality makes them a popular item among equipment traders. 

The Suction Excavator

Not to be confused with the vacuum truck or gully emptier, this piece of heavy equipment creates a vacuum in a wide pipe of up to 30 centimetres in diameter, generating air suction speeds of up to 100 meters per second.

This collar on this machine can be rotated, that can uncover suction release openings to release the suction. This forces the suction nozzle to drop objects too big to enter the tube. Suction Excavators are used to cut the earth during excavation and pick up loose debris and litter. 

The Skid Steer Excavator

This is a small, rigid-frame machine with lift arms used to attach a wide range of tools. These are typically four-wheel vehicles locked in synchronization on each side. The left-side wheels can be independently driven by the right side wheels. Differential steering is used to control the equipment, in which the left and right sides are operated at different speeds. 

These are often used in place of a large excavator. This is done by digging a hole from the inside by loading a ramp leading to the edge of the desired excavation. That ramp is then used to move material from the hole. 

Final Thoughts

No two construction projects are the same. Depending on a number of factors, like weather, topography, and geography, you might find yourself needing different types of equipment—different types of excavators. With a little elbow grease, however, you might find that it is less about the machine and more about how it is used.

If you’re looking for an equipment trader in Canada to provide you with an excavator of some kind, send us at Heavy Equipment Direct a message. We are the country’s leading marketplace for buying and selling heavy trucks, trailers, machinery, and equipment.