~ Excavation Equipment

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Backhoe Loader

Also referred to as a loader backhoe, the backhoe
loader is an engineering and excavation vehicle that
consists of a tractor, front shovel and bucket and
a small backhoe in the rear end.  Due to the small
size and versatility, backhoe loaders are common
with small construction projects and excavation type

Originally invented in Burlington Iowa back in 1857,
the backhoe loader is the most common variation of
the classic farm tractor.  As the name implies, it
has a loader assembly on the front and a backhoe
attachment on the back. 

Anytime the loader and backhoe are attached it is
never referred to as a tractor, as it is not normally
used for towing and doesn't normally have a PTO.
When the backhoe is permanently attached, the
machine will normally have a seat that can swivel
to the rear to face the backhoe controls.  Any type
of removable backhoe attachments will normally have
a seperate seat on the attachment itself.

Backhoe loaders are common and can be used for many
tasks, which include construction, light transportation
of materials, powering building equipment, digging
holes and excavating, breaking asphalt, and even
paving roads.

You can often replace the backhoe bucket with
other tools such as a breaker for breaking and
smashing concrete and rock.  There are some loader
buckets that offer a retractable bottom, which
enable it to empty the load more quickly and

The retractable bottom loader buckets are often
times used for grading and scratching off sand.
The front assembly on a backhoe may be either
removable or permanently attached.  Often times,
the bucket can be replaced with other tools or
devices.  In order to mount different attachments
to the loader, it must be equipped with a tool
coupler.  The coupler consists of two hydraulic
cylinders on the end of the arm assembly, which
can expand and retract to allow different tools to
be attached to the unit.

There are several types of backhoe loader brands,
including New Holland, John Deere, and Case.  Some
will offer you cabs, while others won't.  The
newer types of backhoe loaders even offer you air
conditioning, radios, and other accessories that
make you feel like you are working with luxury.

Common with excavating jobs, the backhoe can serve
many purposes.  It can haul equipment and supplies
in the loader bucket.  Another great use is to cover
up dirt when filling in trench lines or covering
up pipe that was just put in the ground.  The
backhoe attachment at the rear is ideal for digging
water pipes and sewer pipes.

The best thing about the backhoe loader is the
fact that they are easy to operate.  You don't
need to be a rocket scientist to fully operate this
nifty piece of equipment.


The bulldozer is a very powerful crawler that is
equipped with a blade.  The term bulldozer is often
used to mean any type of heavy machinery, although
the term actually refers to a tractor that is fitted
with a dozer blade.

Often times, bulldozers are large and extremely
powerful tracked vehicles.  The tracks give them
amazing ground mobility and hold through very rough
terrain.  Wide tracks on the other hand, help to
distribute the weight of the dozer over large areas,
therefore preventing it from sinking into sandy or
muddy ground. 

Bulldozers have great ground hold and a torque
divider that's designed to convert the power of the
engine into dragging ability, which allows it to
use its own weight to push heavy objects and even
remove things from the ground.  Take the Caterpillar
D9 for example, it can easily tow tanks that weight
more than 70 tons.  Due to these attributes,
bulldozers are used to clear obstacles, shrubbery,
and remains of structures and buildings.

The blade
The blade on a bulldozer is the heavy piece of
metal plate that is installed on the front.  The
blade pushes things around.  Normally, the blade
comes in 3 varieties:
    1.  A straight blade that is short and has
no lateral curve, no side wings, and can be used
only for fine grading.
    2.  A universal blade, or U blade, which is
tall and very curved, and features large side wings
to carry more material around.
    3.  A combination blade that is shorter,
offers less curvature, and smaller side wings.

Over time, bulldozers have been modified to evolve
into new machines that are capable of things the
original bulldozers weren't.  A good example is
that loader tractors were created by removing the
blade and substituting a large volume bucket
and hydraulic arms which will raise and lower the
bucket, therefore making it useful for scooping
up the earth and loading it into trucks.

Other modifications to the original bulldozer
include making it smaller to where it can operate
in small working areas where movement is very
limited, such as mining caves and tunnels.  Very
small bulldozers are known as calfdozers.

The first types of bulldozers were adapted from
farm tractors that were used to plough fields. In
order to dig canals, raise earth dams, and partake
in earthmoving jobs, the tractors were equipped
with a thick metal plate in the front.  Later
on, this thick metal plate earned the name blade.

The blade of the bulldozer peels layers of soil
and pushes it forward as the tractor advances. 
The blade is the heart and soul of the bulldozer,
as it was the first accessory to make full use
for excavation type jobs.

As the years went by, when engineers needed
equipment to complete larger jobs, companies such
as CAT, Komatsu, John Deere, Case, and JCB started
to manufacture large tracked earthmoving equipment.
They were very loud, very large, and very powerful
and therefore earned the nickname "bulldozer".

Over the years, the bulldozers got bigger, more
powerful, and even more sophisticated.  The
important improvements include better engines,
more reliable drive trains, better tracks, and
even hydraulic arms that will enable more precise
manipulation of the blade and automated controls.
As an added option, bulldozers can come equipped
with a rear ripping claw to break up pavement or
loosen rocky soil.

The best known manufacturer of bulldozer is CAT,
which has earned a vast reputation for making
tough and durable, yet reliable machines.  Even
though the bulldozer started off a modified farm
tractor, it rapidly became one of the most useful
pieces of equipment with excavating and construction.

Case CX330

As you may know, the CX330 is the upgrade to the
9050B model from Case.  The CX330 is quite an upgrade,
being much bigger than the 9050B. 

In standard form, the CX330 is almost 5,000 pounds
heavier than the 9050B.  This added weight comes
from a larger counterweight and from a redesigned
carbody that will now completely enclose the swing

These added pounds will also contribute to the boost
in the CX330s over-front capacity, and in combination
with higher hydraulic pressures the travel circuit,
give the excavator a very impressive 16% boost in
draw bar pull, which means more power for negotiating
poor underfoot conditions and very steep grades.

In addition to the new features, the CX330s digging
linkage has been enhanced in many ways.  The boom
and arm, deeper in cross section to accommodate
higher digging forces, now incorporate V-groove
type welds that are placed by robots and 100 percent
ultra sound inspected.

The boom foot and boom to arm pivots use improved
bushings, new plated pins, and new dust seals that
combine to make a more durable and easier to take
care of assembly.  The newly hardened chrome pins
will also contribute to the overall digging linkage

Even though the basic 6 cylinder, 8.3 liter engine
in the CX330 has been used in Case products since
1985, continual refinement over the years has
changed nearly 85% of the original engine's part
numbers.  The CX330 features 259 net HP with an
air to air intercooler and a free breathing 24 valve
cylinder head. 

The electronic logic that controls the new engine's
fuel system tracks the machine's operating parameters
and keeps the system continually armed to respond
instantly and precisely to the fuel requirements of
each individual cylinder.  The total electronic
design of the engine will also eliminate cable
and step motor controls from the fuel system, with
a large gain in reliability.

Even though modest changes in the CX330s digging
linkage geometry will contribute to the higher
forces of digging, the big guns here are the
refinement of the trench with it's open center
hydraulic system.  The main pressure in the
implement circuit is up almost 8%, with the hydraulic
cylinder diameter up 7% as well.

Hydraulic power
The increase in hydraulic power combines with the
more efficient linkage geometry to yield almost
20% more bucket digging force and 15% more arm
force.  With 19 more HP, the CX330 can drive it's
main hydraulic pumps with much better force.  In
addition, the new pumps will produce about 6% more
flow for increased hydraulic speed at much lower
system pressures.

The new PCS (Pro Control System) will manage the
hydraulic system and interface with the 6TAA-830
engine, and does it with more electronic genious
than the 9050B did.  Similar to the 9050B, the
CX330 does have manually selected working modes,
although it departs from previous designs by adding
a new automatic work mode.  By working in the
new automatic mode, the CX330 can analyze load
demands and operator input at the joystick, then
adjust the engine and hydraulic pumps to balance
power and speed with efficiency and even with the

Other PCS features include a high speed assistance
system, which will speed up boom and arm functions,
and an automatic power boost system as well.  The
power boost system will increase main pressure by
10% for 8 seconds if the implement system reaches
the standard relief pressure for more than 1 second
in tough digging conditions.

With everything the CX330 from Case offers, it's
truly the best excavtor in years.  Case has outdone
themselves this time, doing their part to make
excavating both fun and exciting.  If you've been
looking for the perfect upgrade from the 9050B, the
CX330 is all that and a bag of chips.

Case CX700 And CX330

The company of Case has done it again, by introducing
yet another spectacular excavator, the CX700, which
weighs in at 70 metric tons and represents a new
size for Case, fitting perfectly between the CX460
and CX800 models.  Case has also taken advantage of
Tier 3 technologies and upgraded the CX330, increasing
the power and improving fuel economy, all while adding
features that will enhance comfort for the operator
and simplify maintenance.

The CX700 is a powered by a high performance, fuel
efficient Isuzu engine that is completely Tier 3
certified.  With an operating weight of 153,400 lbs.
and over 400 HP, the CX700 is capable of digging to
31 feet 11 inches with reaches up to 46 feet 11 inches.

The frame for the CX700 is based on the larger CX800
to ensure optimum durability and reliability,
especially given the powerful performance specs the
machine calls for.

New to the Case CX700 is a switch that will allow
you to give priority to either the boom or the swing
functions.  The CX700 also offers retractable side
frames and an optional counterweight removal device,
which makes transporting easier than ever before.

More durable
The Isuzu engine that powers the CX700 is fully
electronic and uses a high pressure rail system that
provides a 5% increase in HP and also gives the
excavator 10% better fuel economy.

Several enhancements have been made to the CX330
upon releasing the CX700, including the overall
reliabilty and durability of the machine, which
includes the strength of the front idlers by beefing
up the thickness and design of the center hub and
improving the track seal design for increased life.

Several of the features that come standard with the
CX700 are upgrades for the CX330 that will also be
applied to other large Case excavator models that
move forward.  The key upgrades include ease of
maintenance and servicing.  Both the CX330 and CX700
models feature an easy maintenance system, lubricated
bushings throughout the boom and arm, which provides
extended lube periods of up to 1,000 hours.  The
engine oil filters are now mounted vertically in
the pump house access area, which allows for easier
access and servicing.

The addition of a modified oil drain plug with a
check valve will make it easier than ever to change
oil.  Both the CX330 and CX700 both offer finer
fuel filtration, up to four microns, which provides
increased uptime and improved fuel performance.

The upgraded cooling system features a design that
reduces the stacking of coolers for better cooling
efficiency and also improves access to ease the
removal of debris.  In addition to this, the Case
CX700 also features a hydraulically driven,
thermostat controlled reversible fan for improving
the cooling of the engine and easy cleanout of the

Caterpillar D-11

The D-11 from Caterpillar is among the series of
tracked type tractors are among the largest
conventional bulldozers in the world, second to the
Komatsu D575.  It comes in two variations, the
standard D-11R and the bigger and heavier D-11R CD.

The D-11 bulldozer is among the upper end of
Caterpillars track type tractors, which range in
power and size from the D-3 (77 HP) to the D-11R
(935 HP).

The primary use for the D-11 is for moving large
quantities of rock, dirt, etc. short distances in
confined spaces.  The D-11 is often times used in
quarries.  The price, size, power and weight of
the D11 dictate that they are used primarily for
major products.  You can normally find the D11
used in forestry, mining, excavation, and quarry

The D-11 is high known and favored for its amazing
power and ability to rip into the earth, making
them ideal for agricultural and rock ripping type
work.  The ripper is the long claw like device
you can find on the back of the D-11.  Rippers come
in single shank or in groups of two or more, known
as multi shank rippers.  Normally, a single shank
is all you need for heavy ripping work.

The ripping of rock will allow the ground surface
rock to be broken up into small, easy to handle
and transport rubble which can then be removed
so that you can grade the area.

The agricultural ripping feature will allow rocky
or very hard ground to be broken up so that
otherwise unarable land can be put to use with
agricultural applications. 

The blade on the front of the D-11 comes in 3
    1.  A straight blade which is short and
has no lateral curve, no side wings, and is ideal
for fine grading.
    2.  A universal blade which is tall and
very curved, and has large side wings which can
carry more material.
    3.  A combination blade that is shorter,
has less curvature, and smaller wings on the side.

The nearest competition for the Caterpillar D-11
is the Komatsu D-475.  The Caterpillar can best be
distinguished from the Komatsu by the elevated drive
sprocket or high drive system that results in a
triangular, rather than oval, shaped caterpillar

The D-11 is a fine testament to the superb products
Caterpillar offers.  They are great for excavation
and clearing dirt, as they can push large piles
of dirt.  They are also good for rock, as they can
move even the biggest of rocks from the ground
without breaking a sweat.  If you've wanted a
bulldozer with uncanny strength and abilities, the
D-11 is just what you need on your job site.

Caterpillar D Series

The CAT (Caterpillar) 420D and 430D backhoe loaders
are the high performance machines in the D series
lineup.  The 420D boasts 85 HP and a backhoe digging
depth of 14 feet when equipped with a standard

The 430D offers 94 HP and a backhoe digging depth
of 15 feet when it is equipped with a standard
stick.  By using an extendible stick, you can
push the digging depth of the 420D to 18 feet and
the depth of the 430D to 19 feet, which is very
impressive to say the least.

Both D series machines are available in IT
(Integrated Toolcarrier) configurations for
applications that benefit from a parallel lift
loader linkage and the versatility of quick work
tool changes through the use of a versatile
hydraulic quick coupler.  Applications include the
use of pallet forks, material handling arms,
brooms, and even buckets.

The new and improved pilot operated hydraulic backhoe
and IT loader controls will help to ensure smooth,
precise operation with reduced effort on behalf of
the operator.  These backhoes use excavator type
joystick controls, and an optional pattern change
valve which allows you to select the patern of

The 205 degree rotation that is offered by the
backhoe bucket linkage will make it easier to dig
vertical walls and clamp material when loading
trucks.  The rotation with the D series is 40
degrees more than with the C series.  Now, the
backhoe buckets feature a single pin position,
with the bucket link featuring an integrated
lifting eye as well.

The optional quick coupler you can get for the
backhoe will allow fast changes of working tools
for increased versatility and flexibility in
almost all applications.

Both of the D series backhoe loaders use the
turbocharged, direct injection, four cylinder diesel
engine, with a displacement of 4.0 liters.  This
engine offers superior lug performance which is
mostly due to the responsive fuel injection

The standard power shuttle transmission provides
four forward speeds and four speeds in reverse
as well.  Fully synchromesh in all gears will
permit on the go shifting, while the forward and
reverse electric power shuttle will provide
instant direction changes through powered

The auto shifting feature will automatically
shift between second gear and the highest gear
selected for ease of operation.  The auto shift
feature has five forward and three reverse gears,
with a transmission kick switch on the lever of
the loader control.

With D series loaders, you'll also have the choice
of standard two wheel drive or all wheel drive,
which you can engage easily on the go, under
heavy load, by pressing a switch that is located
on the front console. 

The D series loaders from CAT are very fast and
versatile as well, as they will move faster than
most types of backhoes on the market.  The
diesel engines are very fast, while the machine
has enough traction and control to keep you
moving even in wet or muddy conditions.

The variable load sensing hydraulic system will
adjust the flow and pressure of the machine to
meet the demands of work with an increased
pressure of 3,300 PSI.  The hydraulic system is
tuned to work efficiently with the engine, and
it provides full hydraulic force to the working
tool on hand at any engine speed you desire.

Unlike other backhoe loaders, the D series will
reduce demands on the operator, cut fuel consumption
in half, reduce wear on the engine, and allow
for quieter operation.  To make a long story
short - the D series from CAT are among the best
backhoe loaders that money can buy - bar none.

Caterpillar Equipment

Caterpillar Incorporated, also known as CAT is a
United States based corporation that is based in
Peoria, Illinois.  The company commonly known as CAT
is known around the world as the largest manufacturer
of construction and mining equipment, diesel and
natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines.

Well known and famous for their products that feature
the Caterpillar track and distinctive yellow paint,
CAT produces a wide range of heavy equipment for
all types of jobs, including the very popular
Caterpillar D9 bulldozer.

The story of CAT dates back to the late 19th century,
when Daniel Best and Benjamin Holt were experimenting
with different ways to fulfill the promise that
steam tractors held for farm work. Prior to 1925,
the Holt family had pioneered track tractors and
gasoline powered engines.  After the companies of
Best and Holt were merged, the company went through
several changes then at the end of World War 2,
they began to grow at a very fast pace, launching
the first venture outside of the country in 1950,
which marked the beginning of CAT development into
a big corporation.

CAT equipment ranges from track type tractors to
hydraulic excavators, backhoes, motor graders, off
road trucks, wheel loaders, tractors, diesel and
gas engines, and gas turbines.  CAT equipment is
used in construction, excavation, building roads,
mining, energy, forestry, transportation, and
material handling companies.

Over half of CAT's sales are to customers in overseas
areas.  CAT products are sold in almost 200 different
countries.  The company has a worldwide network
of over 200 dealers - 63 in the United States and
over 150 in other countries.  CAT equipment and
components are manufactured in 42 plants in the
United States and 58 plants in Australia, Belgium,
Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, India,
Japan, Mexico, and several other countries.

CAT almost went down in the early 1980s due to
the massive union strikes and a down turn in product
demand.  At the time, several news reports indicated
that products were piling up so high in facilities
that temporary workers hired to work the lines
could barely get to their stations to perform their

In the 1990s, CAT suffered yet another long strike
in which the company hired what it deemed to be
permanent replacements for union workers that
were on strike.  During both strikes, jack rocks
were placed in the home entrances of many of
CATs top executives and employees, puncturing
the tires of their vehicles and making things
worse for the company.

Not long after the strike of the 1990s ended
and the economy started to get back up again, CAT
adopted the "6 Sigma" quality management program,
to help reduce costs and inventory and identify
and correct the defects in processes and products.

Compact Excavator

The compact hydraulic excavator can be a tracked or
wheeled vehicle with an approximate operating weight
of 13,300 pounds.  Normally, it includes a standard
backfill blade and features an independent boom
swing.  The compact hydraulic excavator is also
known as a mini excavator.

A compact hydraulic excavator is different from other
types of heavy machinery in the sense that all
movement and functions of the machine are accomplished
through the transfer of hydraulic fluid.  The work
group and blade are activated by hydraulic fluid
acting upon hydraulic cylinders.  The rotation and
travel functions are also activated by hydraulic
fluid powering hydraulic motors.

Most types of compact hydraulic excavators have
three assemblies - house, undercarriage, and the
work group. 

The house structure contains the compartment for
the operator, engine compartment, hydraulic pump
and also the distribution components.  The house
structure is attached to the top of the undercarriage
via swing bearing.  Along with the work group, the
house is able to rotate upon the undercarriage
without limit due to a hydraulic distribution valve
that supplies oil to the undercarriage components.

The undercarriage of compact excavators consists of
rubber or steel tracks, drive sprockets, rollers,
idlers, and associated components and structures.
The undercarriage is also home to the house
structure and the work group.

Work group
The work group consists of the boom, dipper or
arm, and attachment.  It is connected to the front
of the house structure via a swinging frame that
allows the work group to be hydraulically pivoted
left or right in order to achieve offset digging
for trenching parallel with the tracks.

Independent boom swing
The purpose of the boom swing is for offset
digging around obstacles or along foundations,
walls, and forms.  Another use is for cycling in
areas that are too narrow for cab rotation.  Another
major advantage of the compact excavator is the
independent boom swing.

Backfill blade
The backfill blade on compact excavators are used
for grading, leveling, backfilling, trenching,
and general dozer work.  The blade can also be
used to increase the dumping height and digging
depth depending on it's position in relation to
the workgroup.

The most common place you'll find compact excavators
is in residential dwellings.  When digging phone
lines or other things, these pieces of equipment
are very common for getting between houses.  Due
to their small size, they can fit almost anywhere.

Over the years, the capabilities for compact
excavators have expanded far beyond the tasks of
excavation.  With hydraulic powered attachments
such as breakers, clamps, compactors and augers,
the compact excavator is used with many other
applications and serves as an effective attachment
tool as well.  Serving many purposes, the compact
excavator is a great addition to any job that
requires the use of machinery.

Comparing Trenchers To Compact Excavators

Both of these machines are affordable, popular,
highly productive, and they both have helped lay a
lot of cable and pipe in the ground.  While they
both can do the work, there are differences as
to how they perform when stacked up against each
other in residential utility installations.

Size and price
The average dig depth for utility installations in
residential applications is between 40 and 48
inches.  The basic trencher that digs to the above
depth will boast a 20 - 30 horsepower engine and
cost around 40,000 dollars. 

The most popular type of compact excavator is the
2.5 metric ton size class, and it uses a 30 HP
engine and costs around the same price.  The
biggest difference in the two surfaces when you
need the trencher to dig deeper.  The 2.5 metric
ton excavator has no trouble at all digging to 8
feet or more, although a trencher that can dig
that deep will require an engine with around 100
horsepower and cost upwards of 90,000 dollars!

Life costs
Not counting the bucket teeth and the replacement
of the rubber tracks at 2,000 hours, fuel and
routine maintenance are your only daily costs
with a compact excavator.  The digging chain, teeth,
and sprockets on the trenchers are considered
wear items and need to be replaced often.  Even
with the high consumable costs of trenchers, the
differences will tend to even out when productivity
is taken into effect.

For straight line trenching at an average depth,
trenchers will flat out lead compact excavators.
Under reasonable conditions, a trencher can work
three to four times faster than that of a compact
excavator.  Another area where trenchers really
excel is wooded areas, where tree roots and logs
can make for slow and sloppy digging when using a

When it comes down to it, compact excavators can
do a lot of things that trenchers can't, especially
when they have attachments on hand.  If you are
digging with a compact excavator, you can't go
anywhere near as fast as you can with a good quality

Keep in mind that a trencher isn't a single minded
machine either.  Most styles of trenchers can be
outfitted with a backhoe attachment that attaches
to the front end.  Whenever concrete, rocks, or
asphalt stands in the way, the boom and chain can
be replaced with rock teeth and a wheel.  In soft
soils, you can set up a trencher with a plow
attachment and plow in cables faster than using
any other available method.

When it comes down to choosing, keep in mind that
it all depends on your needs.  There are some
cases where the compact excavator is best to
choose, while there will also be jobs in which
the trencher is going to do the best work.


A crane is a tower or derrick that is equipped with
cables and pulleys that are used to lift and lower
material.  They are commonly used in the construction
industry and in the manufacturing of heavy equipment.
Cranes for construction are normally temporary
structures, either fixed to the ground or mounted
on a purpose built vehicle. 

They can either be controlled from an operator in
a cab that travels along with the crane, by a push
button pendant control station, or by radio type
controls.  The crane operator is ultimately responsible
for the safety of the crews and the crane.

Medieval cranes
Cranes of the Middle Ages were used to build the
cathedrals of Europe.  The crane was fixed on top
of a wall as it was being constructed and was
powered by men that ran inside of two large wheels
on each side.  Cranes were also used in medieval ports
and in shipyards.

Mobile cranes
The most basic type of crane consists of a steel
truss or telescopic boom mounted on a mobile platform,
which could be a rail, wheeled, or even on a cat
truck.  The boom is hinged at the bottom and can
be either raised or lowered by cables or hydraulic

Telescopic crane
This type of crane offers a boom that consists of
a number of tubes fitted one inside of the other.
A hydraulic mechanism extends or retracts the
tubes to increase or decrease the length of the

Tower crane
The tower crane is a modern form of a balance
crane.  When fixed to the ground, tower cranes
will often give the best combination of height and
lifting capacity and are also used when constructing
tall buildings.

Truck mounted crane
Cranes mounted on a rubber tire truck will provide
great mobility.  Outriggers that extend vertically
or horizontally are used to level and stabilize
the crane during hoisting.

Rough terrain crane
A crane that is mounted on an undercarriage with
four rubber tires, designed for operations off
road.  The outriggers extend vertically and
horizontally to level and stabilize the crane when
hoisting.  These types of cranes are single engine
machines where the same engine is used for powering
the undercarriage as it is for powering the
crane.  In these types of cranes, the engine is
normally mounted in the undercarriage rather than
in the upper portion.

Loader crane
A loader crane is a hydraulically powered articulated
arm fitted to a trailer, used to load equipment
onto a trailer.  The numerous sections can be
folded into a small space when the crane isn't in

Overhead crane
Also refered to as a suspended crane, this type
is normally used in a factory, with some of them
being able to lift very heavy loads. The hoist is
set on a trolley which will move in one direction
along one or two beams, which move at angles to
that direction along elevated or ground level
tracks, often mounted along the side of an assembly

In the excavation world, cranes are used to move
equipment or machinery.  Cranes can quickly and
easily move machinery into trenches or down steep
hills, or even pipe.  There are many types of
cranes available, serving everything from
excavation to road work.

Cranes are also beneficial to building bridges or
construction.  For many years, cranes have proven
to be an asset to the industry of construction
and excavating.  Crane operators make really good
money, no matter what type of crane they are

Different Types Of Backhoe Loaders

Caterpillar hit a dial of power and performance with
its top of the line 446 backhoe loader when it first
introduced the D series version of the machine.  The
102 HP machine also features a new operator station
and offers optional joystick controls.  The dig
forces on the bucket have increased 10% on the

Bobcat gave its compact backhoe loaders a power
boost when the company introduced the second generation
B series to the lineup.  The 31.5 HP B100 received
a 45% increase in backhoe bucket breakout force
and a 27% jump in the breakout force of the dipper.

The 46 HP B300 received a 44% increase in dipper
breakout force and a 21% boost in the breakout
force of the bucket.  The three model line also
includes the B250, which is a 31.5 HP sideshift
unit.  Similar to the larger B300, the B250 also
features all wheel steering and four wheel drive.

New Holland
Each one of the four models of backhoe loaders in
the New Holland lineup use the new 4.5 liter
turbocharged Tier 2 engine.  This new engine and
a number of other upgrades were the basis for the
B series machines, which offer low effort pilot
controls which will give you a choice between
excavator or loader style patterns.

Case added quite a bit to its M series backhoe
loaders, by switching to family 3 engines to meet
Tier 2 emission standards.  The new machines
of the M series have quieter, larger displacement
engines for better lugging capacity.  They also
have increased torque rise for faster cycles
of loader and backhoe operations.

With 500 hour intervals of oil changes and easy
to access transmission mounted hydraulic pumps,
the M series is surely a force to be reckoned
with in the world of backhoes.

The newest compact backhoe loader from this
company can reach digging depths of up to 12
feet with its backhoe.  Working as a loader, the
BL-580 has an operating capacity of 3,406 pounds
with a breakout force of 9,370 pounds. 

Both the loader and backhoe are equipped with
standard auxiliary hydraulics with a two way
flow to accommodate a variety of attachments,
which includes booms, breakers, augers, and
even compactors.  Other nifty features include
hydrostatic four wheel drive for power and traction,
and all wheel steering for a tight radius. 

Komatsu announced that the optional excavator
style joystick controls would be offered on its
five model lineup of backhoes.  The lineup has
also been upgraded with increased hydraulic speed,
stronger components, and Tier 2 engines. The
entire Komatsu line consists of the 87 HP WB140
series, and teh 94 HP WB150 series. 

The standard model found with each series features
a four speed mechanical transmission complete with
a torque converter.  The fifth model from Komatsu
is the WB150, with offers an all star wheel design
with a powershift transmission and anti theft
prevention system.

John Deere
The 410H is the hallmark of John Deere, offering
92 HP.  The 410H also offers the total machine
control system, which integrates control for the
engine, transmission, hydraulics, and brakes so
that the system can respond in an efficient way
to the many different job demands.

Since acquiring the Fermec line, Terex has marketed
a full and impressive line of backhoes.  The
models include the 92 HP TX760B and the 100 HP
TX860B.  At 100 HP as well are the 860SX, 860 Elite,
and the 970 Elite.  Both the 760 and 860 models
feature four speed shuttle gearboxes and travel
speeds of up to 25.8 miles per hour.  

Drag Line Excavator

Drag line excavator systems are heavy machinery that
is used in civil engineering, surface mining, and
excavation.  With civil engineering, the smaller
types are used for road and port construction.  The
larger types of drag line excavators are used in
strip mining operations to extract coal.  These are
among the largest types of mobile equipment and
weigh upwards of 10,000 tons!

The drag line excavator bucket system consists of
a large bucket that is suspended from a boom.  The
bucket is moved by a number of chains and ropes.  The
hoisting rope, which is powered by either a large
diesel or electric motor, will support the bucket
and hoist coupler assembly from the boom.  The
drag rope on the assembly is used to draw the bucket
assembly horizontally.  Through skillful maneuvering
of the hoist and drag rope, the bucket can be
controlled for many different types of operations.

With a typical excavation cycle, the bucket is
positioned high above the material that is being
excavated.  The bucket is then lowered down and the
drag rope is drawn so that the bucket is dragged
along the materials surface.  Using the hoist rope,
the bucket is then lifted.  A swing operation is
then performed in order to move the bucket to the
place where the material is going to be dropped.
The drag rope is then released which will cause the
bucket to tilt, making the material in the bucket
fall down, which is commonly known as a dump operation.

With smaller drag line excavators, the bucket is
thrown by winding up the jib then releasing a
clutch on the drag cable, which swings the bucket
like a pendulum.  Skillful operators can make the
bucket land about 1/2 the length of the jib further
away than if it had just been spun or dropped.

The limitations of drag line excavators are the
height and length of their boom, as this limits
where the drag line can dump waste material.  Being
inherent with their construction, the drag line
is most effective when excavating material
below the level of their tracks.  Drag lines
aren't suitable for loading piled up material.

Despite their limitations and high capital cost,
drag line excavators remain very popular with
several mines, due to their very low waste removal
cost, performance, and reliability.

They also have different cutting sequences.  The
first is the side casting method which uses
offest benches.  This method involves throwing
the overburden sideways onto blasted material to
make a bench. 

The second method is a key pass.  This pass will
cut a key at the toe of the new highwall and will
also shift the bench further towards the low
wall.  This can also require a chopping pass if the
wall is blocky.  A chopping pass will involve
the bucket being dropped down onto an angled
highwall to scale the surface. 

The next method is the slowest, known as the
blocks pass.  This method will however, move the
most material.  The blocks pass involves using
the key to access the bottom of the material to
lift it up to spoil or to an elevated bench
level.  If required, the final cut is a pull
back, which pulls the material back further to
the low wall side.

For construction, mining, or excavation, drag line
excavators are great to have.  They can move even
the biggest of material, which is great for deep
holes in the ground.  If you've been looking for a
great way to maximize mining or excavation productivity,
the drag line excavator is just what you need.

Dump Truck

Dump trucks or production trucks are those that are
used for transporting loose material such as sand,
dirt, and gravel for construction.  The typical dump
truck is equipped with a hydraulically operated open
box bed hinged at the rear, with the front being
able to be lifted up to allow the contents to fall
out on the ground at the site of delivery.

Dump trucks come in many different configurations
with each one specified to accomplish a specific
task in the construction chain.

Standard dump truck
The standard dump truck is a full truck chassis with
the dump body mounted onto the frame.  The dump body
is raised by a hydraulic ram lift that is mounted
forward of the front bulkhead, normally between the
truck cab and the dump body. 

The standard dump truck also has one front axle,
and one or more rear axles which normally has dual
wheels on each side.  The common configurations for
standard dump trucks include the six wheeler and
ten wheeler. 

Transfer dump truck
For the amount of noise made when transferring, the
transfer dump truck is easy to recognize.  It's a
standard dump truck that pulls a separate trailer
which can be loaded with sand, asphalt, gravel,
dirt, etc.

The B box or aggregate container on the trailer is
powered by an electric motor and rides on wheels
and rolls off of the trailer and into the main dump
box.  The biggest advantage with this configuration
is to maximize payload capacity without having to
sacrifice the maneuverability of the short and
nimble dump truck standards. 

Semi trailer end dump truck
The semi end dump truck is a tractor trailer
combination where the trailer itself contains the
hydraulic hoist.  The average semi end dump truck
has a 3 axle tractor that pulls a 2 axle semi
trailer.  The advantage to having a semi end
dump truck is rapid unloading.

Semi trailer bottom dump truck
A bottom dump truck is a 3 axle tractor that pulls
a 2 axle trailer with a clam shell type dump
gate in the belly of the trailer.  The biggest
advantage of a semi bottom dump truck is the
ability to lay material in a wind row.  This
type of truck is also maneuverable in reverse as
well, unlike the double and triple trailer

Double and triple trailer
The double and triple bottom dump trucks consist
of a 2 axle tractor pulling a semi axle semi
trailer and an additional trailer.  These types of
dump trucks allow the driver to lay material in
wind rows without having to leave the cab or stop
the truck.  The biggest disadvantage is the
difficulty in going in reverse.

Side dump trucks
Side dump trucks consist of a 3 axle trailer pulling
a 2 axle semi trailer. It offers hydraulic rams
that tilt the dump body onto the side, which spills
the material to the left or right side of the
trailer.  The biggest advantages with these types
of dump trucks are that they allow rapid unloading
and carry more weight than other dump trucks.

In addition to this, side dump trucks are almost
impossible to tip over while dumping, unlike the
semi end dump trucks which are very prone to being
upset or tipped over.  The length of these trucks
impede maneuverability and limit versatility.

Off road dump trucks
Off road trucks resemble heavy construction equipment
more than they do highway dump trucks.  They are
used strictly for off road mining and heavy dirt
hauling jobs, such as excavation work.  They are
very big in size, and perfect for those time when
you need to dig out roads and need something to
haul the massive amounts of dirt to another

Easy Site Prep

Site prep is the best term that is used to describe
the operations necessary to make raw land ready
to accept improvements such as buildings, parking
lots, roads, and other amenities.  Once the project
has been completed, the site prep is invisible.

The term site prep is a broad term that can include
several different tasks, such as clearing and
grubbing, soil erosion, sediment control, storm
drains, water and sewer pipes, topsoil stripping,
rock removal, underground utility, and several
other tasks.

Soil erosion and management
To protect the quality of the water, soil erosion
and sediment control measures are vital.  With
most locations, storm water permitting is
required.  All erosion and sediment control
measures and devices must be in place and inspected
before the first tree drops or first shovel full
of dirt is removed.

The designs for storm water management systems
are becoming more and more complex.  The detension
basins have complex and spiraling side slopes
and bottoms that have almost flat grades.

The limits of clearing can be marked with a GPS
dozer.  By following the outline of the display
in the cab, the bulldozer can cut a path through
the wooded area so other equipment will have a
clear line to go by.

The traditional method used to clear debris, such
as burning, is rapidly fading away.  The air
pollution standards will prevent any type of
burning of most areas across the United States.

Site prep made easy
Depending on the job site, what you have to do will
vary greatly.  With excavation, what is needed to
complete a job is as different as night and day.  No
matter what type of work you are doing, it will
almost always require the use of heavy machinery.

Clearing lots for houses, grading roads, laying
pipe, fixing water leaks, and digging foundations
are just some of the most common tasks found with
the art of excavation.  To do this type of work,
it takes a special individual as work is outdoors
year round, meaning that you freeze in the winter
and burn up in the summer.

Laying pipe is a task that takes skill.  You first
must dig the trench for the pipe, making sure that
the elevation is right, and that the pipe will meet
the specifications listed in the blueprints.  There
are several different types of pipe that needs to
be layed, including water, sewer, and storm drains.

When you first begin your job, you'll need to have
the proper permits from the area that you are going
to be disturbing the ground in.  Once you have
the proper permits, you can begin your work.  With
some jobs, you'll need to document on paper just
how much land you disturb each day. 

Sometimes with excavation, the job site and plans
will call for ponds or temporary ponds.  This can
be fun to do, although you have to be careful as
well.  Very common with sub divisions, ponds are
something that take a lot of skill to dig right.

Manholes are something else that you will encounter
as well.  You can use machinery to set them in place,
although they will need to go a certain way.  The
easiest way to put them in place is by using an
excavator, as you can lower it down and have a
couple of workers set it in place.

Anytime you are working on an excavation site, you
should always be careful and make sure you do things
by the book.  There are always rules and regulations
that you need to follow.  Excavation is a very fun
trade, although you'll need to be well versed with
following plans, running machinery, and having fun


Excavation is most commonly and best known for a
technique within the science of archaeology.  The
individual types of excavation are known simply
as digs to those who participate, with this being
an over literal description of the process.  An
excavation concerns itself with a specific
archaeological site or connected series of sites,
and may be carried on over a number of years, since
the work is normally seasonal.

Within the industry of excavation, many more
techniques may be utilized, with each dig having
its own particular features that may necessitate
differences of approach.  Resources and other
practical issues don't allow archaeologists to carry
out excavations whenever and wherever they choose,
as many known sites have been deliberately left
alone and non excavated.

Initially, excavation involves the removal of any
topsoil that is uncovered by machine.  What is
dug up may be examined by a metal detector for stray
finds but unless the excavation site has remained
untouched for a long period of time, there is a
small layer of modern material on the surface that
is of limited archaeological interest.

In rural areas, any type of archaeological features
should be visible beneath the surface.  With
urban areas, they may be thick layers of human
deposits and only the uppermost will be visible to
the naked eye.  With either case, the first task
is drawing a scaled site plan that will show the
edges of the excavation.

This plan can be composed using tape measures, or
as it is more common these days, an electronic
total station.  A grid is normally set up, to
divide the site.

Excavation is also useful for digging out houses
and trenches.  When clearing dirt out for roads
or sub divisions, excavation is what takes care of
things.  Even though there are a few means, the
term excavation is used anytime that the earth or
dirt is disturbed.

Heavy machinery is also very common with excavation,
such as excavators or backhoes.  Excavating crews
run the equipment and dig up soil and rocks for
whatever the purpose may be.  Excavators are the
most used machinery, as they can move a lot of dirt
in a little bit of time.

Anytime you are taking part in excavation, you should
always use common sense and be safe.  If you plan
to get down into a hole or trench, you should always
use a trench box.  Even though the hole may not
be that deep, excavation sites can always cave in
and at that point - things are very dangerous and
possibly even deadly.

For digging up rare artifacts or putting in houses
or roads, excavation is something that has been around
for years and years.  There is a lot to learn with
excavation, as you'll need to know how to run
machinery, shoot grade, and how to properly dig
holes and trenches so they won't cave in.


Sometimes called a forklift truck, the forklift is
a powerful industrial truck that is used to lift
and transport material by steel forks that are
inserted under the load.  Forklifts are commonly
used to move loads and equipment that is stored on
pallets.  The forklift was developed in 1920, and
has since become a valuable piece of equipment in
many manufacturing and warehousing operations.

The most common type of design with forklifts is
the counter balance.  Other types of designs
include the reach truck and side loader, both of
which are used in environments where the space is
at a minimum.

Control and capability
Forklifts are available in many types and different
load capacities.  In the average warehouse setting,
most forklifts have load capacities of around
five tons.

Along with the control to raise and lower the
forks, you can also tilt the mast to compensate
for the tendency of the load to angle the blades
towards the ground and risk slipping it off the
forks.  The tilt will also provide a limited
ability to operate on ground that isn't level.

There are some variations that allow you to move
the forks and backrest laterally, which allows
easier placement of a load.  In addition to this,
there are some machines that offer hydraulic
control to move the forks together or further
apart, which removes the need for you to get out
of the cab to manually adjust for a different size

Another forklift variation that is sometimes
used in manufacturing facilities, will utilize
forklifts with a clamp attachment that you can
open and close around a load, instead of having
to use forks.  Products such as boxes, cartons,
etc., can be moved with the clamp attachment.

Forklifts are rated for loads at a specified
maximum weight and a specified forward type center
of gravity.  All of this information is located
on a nameplate that is provided by the manufacturer
and the loads cannot exceed these specifications.

One of the most important aspects of operating a
forklift is the rear wheel steering.  Even though
this helps to increase maneuverability in tight
cornering situations, it differs from the
traditional experience of a driver with other
wheeled vehicles as there is no caster action.

Another critical aspect of the forklift is the
instability.  Both the forklift and the load must
be considered a unit, with a varying center of
gravity with every movement of the load.  You
must never negotiate a turn with a forklift at
full speed with a raised load, as this can easily
tip the forklift over.

Normally, to drive a forklift, you'll need to
pass a basic test.  They aren't difficult to
operate, although you'll need to be safe when you
operate them.  Once you have operated one for a
while, you'll have no problems being safe.

Front Loader

Also known as a front end loader, bucket loader,
scoop loader, or shovel, the front loader is a type
of tractor that is normally wheeled and uses a
wide square tilting bucket on the end of movable
arms to lift and move material around.

The loader assembly may be a removable attachment
or permanently mounted on the vehicle.  Often times,
the bucket can be replaced with other devices or
tools, such as forks or a hydraulically operated

Larger style front loaders, such as the Caterpillar
950G or the Volvo L120E, normally have only a
front bucket and are known as front loaders,
where the small front loaders are often times
equipped with a small backhoe as well and called
backhoe loaders or loader backhoes.

Loaders are primarily used for loading materials
into trucks, laying pipe, clearing rubble, and
also digging.  Loaders aren't the most efficient
machines for digging, as they can't dig very deep
below the level of their wheels, like the backhoe

The deep bucket on the front loader can normally
store around 3 - 6 cubic meters of dirt, as the
bucket capacity of the loader is much bigger than
the bucket capacity of a backhoe loader.  Loaders
aren't classified as excavating machinery, as
their primary purpose is other than moving dirt.

In construction areas, mainly when fixing roads
in the middle of the city, front loaders are
used to transport building materials such as
pipe, bricks, metal bars, and digging tools.

Front loaders are also very useful for snow
removal as well, as you can use their bucket or
as a snow plow.  They can clear snow from the
streets and highways, even parking lots.  They
will sometimes load the snow into dump trucks
which will then haul it away.

Unlike the bulldozer, most loaders are wheeled and
not tracked.  The wheels will provide better
mobility and speed and won't damage paved roads
near as much as tracks, although this will come
at the cost of reduced traction.

Unlike backhoes or tractors fitted with a steel
bucket, large loaders don't use automotive
steering mechanisms, as they instead steer by a
hydraulically actuated pivot point set exactly
between the front and rear axles.  This is known
as articulated steering and will allow the front
axle to be solid, therefore allowing it to carry
a heavier weight. 

Articulated steering will also give a reduced
turn in radius for a given wheelbase.  With the
front wheels and attachment rotating on the same
axis, the operator is able to steer his load in
an arc after positioning the machine, which can
come in quite handy.  The problem is that when
the machine is twisted to one side and a heavy
load is lifted high in the air, it has a bigger
risk of turning over.


The harvester is a type of heavy machinery that is
employed in cut to length logging operations for
felling, buckling, and cutting up trees. Normally,
a harvester is employed alongside a forward that
will haul the logs and trees to a roadside landing.

Harvesters were developed in Sweden and Finland,
and today they do nearly all of the commercial
felling in these countries.  They work best for
less difficult terrain for the clear cutting area
of forest.  For steep hills or removing individual
trees, chain saws are normally preferred.  In
the nordic countries, small and agile harvesters
are used for thinning operations and manual cutting
is only used during extreme conditions or by self
employed owners of the forest or wooded area.

The leading manufacturers of harvesters include
Timberjack (which is owned by John Deere) and
Valmet, which is owned by Komatsu.

Normally, harvesters are built on a robust all
terrain vehicle, which can either be wheeled or
tracked.  Sometimes, the vehicle can be articulated
to provide tight turning around obstacles.  A
diesel engine will provide power for both the
vehicle and the harvesting mechanism through a
hydraulic drive. 

An articulated, extensible boom that is similiar
to that of an excavator, will reach out from the
vehicle to carry the head of the harvester.  There
are even some commercial harvesters that are
adaptations of excavators with a new harvester
head, while the others are purpose built vehicles.

The normal harvester head may consist of:
    1.  A chain saw to cut the tree at the
base and also to cut it to length.  The saw is
hydraulically powered rather than using a 2 stroke
engine of a portable version.  It offers a more
robust chain and a higher output power than any
saw carried by man.
    2.  Two curved de-limbing knives that can
reach around the trunk to remove branches.
    3.  Two feed rollers to reach out and grasp
the tree.  The wheels will pivot apart to allow
the tree to be embraced by the head of the harvester,
and pivot together to hug the tree tight. 
    4.  Two more curved knives for de-limbing.

All of this is controlled by an operator who sits
in the cab of the vehicle.  A control computer is
used to simplify mechanical movements and keep the
length and diameter of trees that have been cut.

The length is computed by counting the rotations
of the gripping wheels.  The diameter is computed
from the pivot angle of the gripping wheels that
hug the tree. 

Harvesters are normally available for cutting trees
up to 900 mm in diameter, built on vehicles that
weight up to 20 t, with a boom that reaches up to
a 10m radius.  The larger, more heavier vehicles
do more damage to the forest, although a longer
reach will help by allowing more trees to be
harvested with less movements required by the

How The Equipment Has Changed

There are many different opinions as to what
machines should actually be classified as earth
moving equipment.  There are many different types
of equipment that fall in this category, such as
excavators, backhoe loaders, dump trucks, and
even loaders.

Other machinery that falls in between are articulated
trucks, wheel and track tractors, and even
scrapers.  The thin line is normally drawn at
motor grades, which are more than capable or light
duty excavation, although they are mainly used
to level lots and grade roads.

If you take a glance at any equipment literature
from leading companies such as CAT, Komatsu, or
Case, you'll see right away that they believe the
biggest and most important change over the last
several years is increased productivity.  This is
normally followed by greater comfort and safety.

The increase in productivity is the result of
many different advancements.  CAT (Caterpillar)
cites that more powerful engines with a faster
rise in torque which allows machines to respond
faster to increased power demands.  Even though
this new generation is far more powerful, it
has a reduced impact on the environment as well.

Most of the newer machines have electronic
control systems that will optimize both engine
and transmission performance, as well as fuel
consumption and hydraulic system performance.

Take for example the CAT mid sized G series
wheel loaders that feature electronically controlled
powershift transmissions.  Each and every
transmission offers autoshift capabilities that
ease the pressure on the operator, and an
electronic clutch pressure control that smooth
shifts the gears for longer life. 

In the industry, good operators are getting harder
and harder to find.  Manufacturers find themselves
stressing that operator comfort and convenience
need to be taken into account not only to make
the job easier, but also more efficient and
productive as well.

The new cab designs offer better visibility,
reduced noise and vibration, and improved comfort
as well.  The new control systems will require low
operator effort while also improving the control
of the machine for both the experienced as well
as the in-experienced operator.

Easier maintenance
Almost all new machinery offers electronic
monitoring systems that will provide constant
information on the health of the machine for the
operator.  These types of systems provide information
to technicians, including service modes that will
help them to diagnose conditions quickly.

Now days, machines are designed to make routine
maintenance easier.  With CAT's wheel loaders,
regular service points are easy to access from
ground level, with site gauges making it easier
to check the fluid of the radiator, hydraulic oil,
and transmission - without having to use dipsticks.

Changes for the better
If you compare the excavation equipment of today
with the machines of the past, you'll notice that
the changes are better.  The machines of the past
relied more on operator skill and technique, as
very few of them had electronic features.

Today, almost all types of heavy machinery offer
electronic features.  Electronics are a great
thing, as they can make the life of an operator
easier than ever.  You don't need to get out and
check the fluids anymore, as all you need to do
is take a look at your instrument panel, which can
help to save you a lot of time.

Operators who have a lot of experience know first
hand that machines of the past can't begin to
compete with machines of today.  With technology
always getting better, it just makes you wonder
what is in the future for heavy machinery.  Years
from now, one can only begin to wonder just great
heavy machinery will get - and what other features
will make the life of an operator even easier than
it is now.

Hydraulic Machinery

Hydraulic machinery are machines and tools that use
fluid power to do the work.  Almost all types of
heavy equipment is a common example.  With this type
of equipment, hydraulic fluid is pumped to a high
pressure then transmitted through the machine to
various actuators. 

The hydraulic pumps are powered by engines or electric
motors.  The pressurized fluid is controlled by the
operator with control valves and then distributed
through hoses and tubes. 

The increasing popularity of hydraulic machinery is
due to the large amount of power that is transferred
through small tubes and flexible hoses.  The high
power density and wide array of actuators can make
use of this power.

Hydraulic power
The theory that lies behind hydraulic equipment is
fluid pressure.
    1.  A force that acts on a small area can
create a bigger force by acting on a larger area
by hydrostatic pressure.
    2.  A large amount of energy can be carried
by a small flow of highly pressurized fluid.

A hydraulic pump will supply the fluid to the
components in the system. Pressure in the system
will develop in reaction to the load.  Pumps have
a power density of around ten times greater than
an electric motor.  The pumps are powered by an
electric motor or engine, which is connected through
gears, belts, or a flexible elastomeric coupling
to reduce the heavy vibration.

The common types of hydraulic pumps for hydraulic
machinery applications include:
    1.  Gear pump - the gear pump is cheap,
durable, and simple.  It is less efficient, simply
because it is constant displacement and suitable
for pressures that are below 3,000 psi.
    2.  Vane pump - vane pumps are cheap, simple,
and reliable.  They are good pumps for higher flow
low pressure output.

Hoses and tubes
A hydraulic hose is graded by pressure, temperature,
and compatibility of fluid.  A rubber interior is
surrounded by multiple layers of woven wire and
rubber.  The exterior of the hose is designed for
resistance against abrasion. 

The bending radius of the hydraulic hose is
designed very carefully into the machine, since
a hose failure can be deadly, and violating the
minimum bend radius of the hose can also cause

A hydraulic pipe is thick enough to have threads
cut into it for connections.  It's rarely used
for high pressure systems though, which prefer to
have tubes or hoses.  The pipe itself lends to
weldings and can also be used to fabricate the

Hydraulic pipes on the other hand are preferred
over hoses whenever possible, as they are simply
more durable.  Tubes are also preferred over pipes,
as they weigh a lot less.  Hydraulic tubes will
normally have flared ends and captive nuts to
make connections.  They can also be steel welded
with floating nuts and face seal fittings on the

Both tubes and pipes for hydraulic applications
traditionally haven't been plated or painted,
since the temperature and oil they operate under
drive away moisture and reduce the risk of rust.

The fittings with hydraulic machinery serve
several purposes:
    1.  To bride different standards, such
as the O-ring boss to JIC or pipe threads to the
face seal.
    2.  Allows proper orientation of
components, as a 45 or 90 degree, straight, or
even swivel fitting will be chosen as it is
needed.  They are designed to be positioned in
the correct orientation and then tightened as
    3.  To incorporate bulkhead hardware.
    4.  A quick disconnect fitting may be
added to a machine without having to modify hoses
or valves.

Operating A Backhoe Safely

A skid steer loader with backhoe attachment or a backhoe
loader in general can be very productive if it is
operated safely and efficiently.  The best way to
get the job done safely and efficiently is to know
yourself, the job site, and your equipment.

Even though the models of backhoes will vary, there
are safety features with all of them that include
steps and grab handles for getting on and off of
the machine.  Backhoes also feature frame lock levers
and attaching levers to keep the backhoe securely
fastened to the loader frame during operation as well
as transporting.

In addition to these standard safety features, there
are some backhoes that provide a safety chain.  The
safety chain will prevent the backhoe mounting
frame from rotating backwards and unexpectedly
trapping the operator, which can result in serious
injury or death.  Therefore, it is always important
to know and check all of the mounting and attachment
points and the safety chain before you operate the

If you've attached the backhoe to the loader, you
should take a moment to inspect it and perform any
necessary maintenance.  Check for broken or
damaged parts, also making sure to check for leaks,
cracks, excessive wear, and check the control

The warning and safety signs and instructional
decals are very important and will help you to
avoid injury.  You should always take them seriously
and replace any damaged or missing decals.

Every 8 hours or so, you should grease all of the
zerk fittings, and check the hydraulic fluid
and oil and a daily basis.  If the fluid is low,
the backhoe will not operate.  Therefore, you
should always take the time to check your machine.

Anytime you have to leave the operator seat of the
backhoe, you should lower the bucket or attachment
to the ground, turn the engine off, remove the
ignition key, then exit the machine. 

When the time comes to drive to the next job site,
you should always make sure that you have fully
raised both the front and rear stabilizers and
make sure you've put the backhoe seat into the
"down" position for better visibility.  Before
you drive off, make sure that you've installed the
transport locking pin.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:
    -  Always select the right size bucket for
the job.
    -  Stake out the work area that is going to
be excavated and use flags to mark the area.
    -  Never work in areas that have inadequate
overhead clearances.

Always make sure that you keep bystanders or other
workers out of the swing area.  If anyone gets in
the way of the boom swinging, they can very easily
get injured.  The machine has no feelings,
therefore you should always be aware of who is
around you and where they are standing.

Renting Versus Owning Equipment

There are always going to be times when, no matter
how carefully an excavation company plans out a
project, there simply isn't enough equipment on hand
to handle the requirements of the project without
running out of time.  The choices at this point are
clear - rent the machines you need or go ahead and
make the purchase.

It is however, not easy to make these types of
decisions, thanks to several factors that you'll
need to consider. 

Rental pricing
Its no secret that rental companies make a killing
with the equipment they rent out.  Most companies
will rent on a daily or weekly basis, which is good
for them but can be bad for you.  Depending on what
area you work in, the price can be very high or
just right.

Depending on what type of equipment you need, the
price to rent will vary.  Excavators and off road
dump trucks are among the highest to rent, as they
can cost as much as 12,000 dollars per month!  This
may seem a bit outrageous at first, although if you
own a profitable company and are working on a big
project, you'll have problems meeting the price.

When you need more equipment and don't want to rent,
you can buy your equipment.  Buying is the way to
go if you plan on using the equipment more.  If you
work on large projects on a frequent basis, you may
want to look into buying the equipment you need
instead of renting.

Buying will save you money in the long run, providing
you are going to be using the equipment again.  If
you need the equipment for one or two projects, you
may just want to rent.  Sure you won't own the
equipment, although you certainly don't want to buy
something you won't be using.

One of the great things about renting is the fact
that company you rent from is responsible for fixing
anything that breaks.  Your company won't be responsible
for repairs, as you don't own the equipment.  If
something breaks or goes wrong, simply call the
company and they will come out there and fix the
problem, as the price for repair is included in the
rental contract.

If you choose to go ahead and buy the equipment,
then your company will be responsible for the repair
of the equipment.  As you probably know with owning
other equipment, you'll need to do regular maintenance
and service on the equipment.

Making that final choice on renting or buying is
ultimately up to you.  You should always think about
finances, and if you can afford the machinery.  If
you don't have the finances or capital to buy what
you need, you should go with renting.  Either way
you go, you'll get the machines you need to complete
your job and stay ahead of schedule.

Skid Loader

The skid loader is a rigid frame, engine powered
machine with lift arms that are used to attach a
wide variety of labor saving tools or attachments.
Skid loaders are normally four wheel drive with
left side drive wheels that are independent of
right side drive wheels.  With each side being
independent to the other, the wheel speed and
direction of rotation of the wheels will determine
which direction the loader turns.

Skid loaders are capable of turning in their own
tracks, which makes them very maneuverable and
valuable for jobs that require the use of compact,
agile loader.

Unlike conventional front loaders, the lift arms
lay beside the driver with the major pivot points
located behind the shoulders of the operator.  Due
to the operator being in close proximity to moving
booms and buckets, earlier models of skid loaders
weren't as safe as conventional front loaders,
particularly during entering and exiting.

Skid loaders today have fully enclosed cabs and
other safety features that will protect the operator
from injury.  Just like other front loaders,
the skid steer can scrape material from one
location to another, carry material in a bucket,
or load material on a truck or a trailer.

A skid loader can sometimes take the place of a
large excavator by digging a hole out from the
inside.  The skid loader will first dig a ramp
that leads to the edge of the hole.  Then, the
loader will use the ramp to carry material out
of the hole. 

The skid loader will then reshape the ramp by
making it steeper and longer as the excavation
gets deeper.  This method is very useful for
digging under an overhead structure where the
overhead clearance doesn't allow for the boom of
a large excavator, such as those situations where
you are digging a basement under a house.

The bucket of most types of skid loaders can be
replaced with several specialized buckets or
attachments, many of which are powered by the
hydraulic system of the loader. 

The first 3 wheeled front end loader was invented
by two brothers, Cyril and Louis Keller in their
machinist shop in Minnesota back in 1957.  The
Kellers built the loader to help a nearby farmer
clean turkey manure from his two story barn.  The
light and compact loader, with the rear caster
wheel, was able to turn around within the length
of itself, while performing the very same tasks as
conventional front end loaders.

Down the road, the Melroe manufacturing company
in Gwinner ND, purchased the rights to the Keller
loader in 1958 and hired the brothers to continue
their loader invention.  Resulting from the
partnership, the M-200 self propelled loader was
introduced at the end of 1958. 

The loader featured two independent front drive
wheels and a rear caster wheel, a 12.9 engine and
a 750 lb lift capacity.  Two years later, they
ended up replacing the caster wheel with a rear
axle and introduced the M-400 loader, which was
the first four wheel skid steer loader in the

In 1962, the Bobcat name was added to describe
the key features of the machine - touch, agile, and
quick.  The M-440 was powered by a 15.5 HP engine
and offered a 1100 lb rated operating capacity.
In the mid 1960s, the skid steer loader progressed
with the introduction of the M600 loader.

Years later, the Bobcat skid steer loader experienced
quite a few changes, including the development of
a hydrostatic drive system, enforced cab structures,
radius and vertical lift arm configurations,
deluxe instrumentation, and even heating and air

In addition to the rubber tire skid loaders of today,
there are now all-wheel steer loaders and even
compact track loaders. Compact track loads offer
less ground disturbance and feature better traction
and control in soft, muddy, wet, and even sandy
ground conditions.

Trench Digging

Digging trenches is one of the oldest types of work
with both construction and excavating.  Prior to World
War 2, trenches were dug by hand.  As workers dug the
trenches deeper, the sides needed to be shored or
supported, to keep the walls of the trench from caving

Following the World War, several innovations were made
in backhoes, and trench digging seemed to fade away
as a profession.  By 1950, hydraulically actuated
backhoes were developed, which make it possible to
rapidly dig very deep trenches.  Resulting from the
innovations with backhoes, and because there were no
workers inside digging the trenches, the walls no
longer needed to be shored.

All types of trenches have what's known as a stand up
time.  This time is the amount of time that elapses
from the time the ditch is dug until the time the
trench walls start to collapse.  The stand up time
is dependant on many factors, which include the type
of soil, water content, trench depth, weather
conditions, and whether or not the soil has been

The stand up time can be as short as zero seconds
or as long as several months, as they are very
difficult to predict.  Before the trench can be dug,
someone must take soil samples as way of estimating
the stand up time.  Keep in mind that the soil
conditions can be dramatically different only a
few feet from where the sample of the soil was taken.

After the trench has been dug, workers will go down
into the trench, and perform whatever work is
needed, such as laying pipe or installing telephone
lines, welding pipe, or installing valves.  If the
trench walls aren't supported, there is the possibility
of the walls collapsing and trapping the workers in
the trench.  Throughout history, there have been
100 - 300 people killed in the U.S. each year
due to trenches collapsing.

The public has become very aware that industrial
progress will often have negative side effects as
well.  The place of engineers protecting the
public from these types of side effects is a very
controversial issue.  The use of trench boxes on
the site, will help to ease this debate.

The trench box, also called a trench shield, may
be placed in the trench to prevent failures from
injuring workers. The trench box consists of two
large plates, normally made from steel, which are
parallel to the walls of the trench, and horizontal
cross members which will hold the two plates

The lower edge of the trench box rests at the
bottom of the trench, with the top edge of the
box extending above the top of the trench.  The
workers will stay between the plates of the trench
box, so that if the trench does collapse, the dirt
will be stopped by the outside of the trench box. 
As the work progresses, the trench box is pulled
along in the trench with a backhoe or other machine.

When a project calls for a large excavation such
as digging the foundation for a tall building, the
supporting structure for the excavated walls will
be specified in the plans.  The big problem with
not using trench boxes occurs in cities, when
water or sewer lines are being installed or
repaired.  The engineer doesn't specify for the
trench box in the plans, but instead leaves it
up to the contractor.

Anytime you are going to be digging trenches or
working in them, you should always use common sense
and take your time.  Trenches can be very deadly,
especially if trench boxes aren't used.  To be on
the safe side, you should always use a trench box
if you need to be in the trench.  If you don't
need to be in the trench - do the smart thing
and let the machines do all of the work.

Trenching And Plowing Equipment

When trenchers were first introduced to the residential
and commercial contractors, they rapidly became the
backbone of the crew.  The time and labor trenchers
saved when they replaced the pick and shovel was
simply incredible.  The contractor was able to double
the number of jobs his crew could complete in the
same amount of time - or less.

The standard types of trenchers, whether dedicated
units or attachments, they are versatile machines
for contractors to have with them on the job.  They
can be used for many different purposes, from digging
valve box holes to trenches for drain pipes.  In
areas that contain rocky soil, large roots, or
other problems where the other machinery can't access
the soil, the trencher will minimize downtime that
was once spent digging by hand.

The many types of vibratory plows will offer even
more labor saving options.  These plows eliminate
the hand labor of having to lay the pipe and
backfilling on numerous jobs.  Even though vibratory
plows have taken their market share and are great
for pulling pipe, trenchers are still very important
for many different types of applications.

The impressive company Bobcat offers three different
trenching attachments that are designed for use on
the smaller skid steer loaders.  The attachment
models LT102, LT203, and LT304 all have digging
depths from 2 - 4 feet.

Mini trenchers
The mini trenchers have been re-designed and
finely tuned from the same concept that made standard
trenchers so popular.  As the name suggests, they
are lightweight, with the largest models weighing
less than 400 pounds.  They are also compact,
allowing you to put them in the back of an average
pickup truck.

They will also dig a trench around 4 inches wide,
and up to 13 inches deep, neatly laying the soil
on side of the trench.  Without any trouble at
all, you can cover pipe with the backfill, leaving
a barely visible seam in the soil.

With time being money, these types of mini trenchers
are the answer when working in tight or small areas,
or on jobs that have a lot of trees or shrubbery.
Mini trenchers have a turning radius of less than
two feet and they will easily fit through most
garden gates.  Jobs that would normally need a lot
of manual labor will now save you a lot of time
and man power.

If you do construction or excavation work, even
gardening, you'll find trenching and plowing
equipment to be essential to your work.  If you've
never used these types of equipment before,
you'll be amazed at just how much time you can

If you are just starting up your business, you'll
find this type of equipment to be just what you
need.  You won't need a lot of labor with a trencher,
as you can do most of it yourself.  For saving
time, money, and effort, trenching and plowing
equipment is the way to go.


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