Learn More About the Hydraulic Excavator

A hydraulic excavator is used on most construction sites and for multiple purposes. Heavy and powerful in its use for public works, it is no less versatile because it has a cabin that can rotate up to 360° and carry much additional equipment.

This vital function gives it many advantages and, above all, excellent maneuverability. This distinguishes it from the backhoe loader since this machine offers far fewer axes of mobility.

The different uses of an excavator

The fields of application of the excavator are numerous. It is widely used in the building and public works sector and is present on most sites that require powerful machines. However, various excavators have different capacities, sizes, and uses. Moreover, it gains versatility thanks to the additional tools that can be fitted. Here is a short, non-exhaustive list of the primary uses for an excavator. It is used in particular for:

– Earthworks and sanitation;

– Demolition sites;

– Extraction of materials in quarries;

– Various handling jobs (e.g., sorting, handling of bulk materials, etc.);

– Agricultural, forestry, and landscaping work (e.g., grubbing);

– Digging wells and ditches;

– Lifting loads;

– Underground work.

Technical characteristics

Hydraulic Excavator

There are different types of excavators for different uses. They can be divided into three categories:

– Wheel excavators: generally used in urban areas, as they can move on public roads. To compensate for their lack of stability, they are equipped with stabilizers and a blade that increases the weight toward the ground.

– Tracked excavators: more stable and often more powerful, they are used on rugged terrain. Some tracked excavators can even have a flotation system for maritime work (ports, marshes, ponds, etc.)

– “Spider” excavators: These are also known as walking excavators. Spiders are used in sensitive and difficult-to-access areas, such as aquatic or mountain environments, or for specific forestry work. They are also used in earthmoving and civil engineering to perform various delicate operations. They have three or more legs and can also be equipped with wheels.

In recent decades, mini excavators have been widely introduced, offering individuals and small businesses an inexpensive alternative to performing many jobs. Then, they are distinguished by their arm and bucket in public works. The arm brings the bucket back to the machine to fill it and quickly excavate all materials. The excavator is more specialized for large jobs such as those done in quarries. Its bucket is loaded towards the front. Cable shovels are still sometimes used in quarries.

Excavators benefit from great versatility thanks to the various equipment that can be added. These include:

– The demolition mass

– The clamshell bucket or clamp bucket

– Various types of buckets

– The hydraulic breaker

– Handling accessories such as hooks, multi-grips, pliers, or electromagnets

– The dozer blade

Risks and safety on the site

Driving a hydraulic excavator requires a certain amount of experience but, above all, a lot of know-how. There are many risks to consider, such as landslides, the risks linked to buried and overhead power lines, mechanical risks, the driver’s qualifications, etc.

The main excavator manufacturers

The excavator is one of the most widely used machines in the world, and the development of compact excavators or mini excavators has led to great competition in this field. Many manufacturers offer different excavators with advantages such as energy savings, safety, performance, and maintenance costs. Kubota is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of mini excavators. Other excavators include Caterpillar, with its state-of-the-art Cat 320 and 323 models, and Komatsu, with its PW118MR-11 (medium-sized compact excavator). Volvo and Liebherr closely follow these two manufacturers.