An Introduction to Excavators

Excavators are a common piece of construction equipment seen on most job sites and are one of the most iconic construction machinery shapes. Excavators are heavy construction equipment consisting of a boom, stick, bucket and cab on a rotating platform.  Wherever it works, the excavator is the king of the job site.

An excavator is a mechanised machine that is designed to dig a hole and transport the earth material removed from the ground.  Other names for excavators are mechanical shovels, JCBs, diggers or 360-degree excavators, or simply 360.

What Industries Use Excavators?

An excavator is suitable for all who operate in the following industries:

  • Earthmoving
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • Quarrying
  • Mining

Excavators Uses

Excavators come in a wide variety of sizes. The smaller ones are called mini orcompact excavators and as they are so versatile, excavators can be used in many ways:

  • Digging oftrenches, holes,foundations
  • Heavy lift, e.g. lifting and placing of pipes
  • Brush cutting with hydraulic attachments
  • Forestry work
  • Mining, especially open-pit mining
  • Riverdredging
  • Drivingpiles, in conjunction with apile driver
  • Material handling
  • Demolition
  • General grading and landscaping

Basic Parts on an Excavator

There are 5 main parts to an excavator.

The Cab

For an operator who works all day running the excavator, comfort is imperative. Modern excavators can be equipped with tightly sealed excavator cabins for noise and dust control, heated seats, ergonomic controls and other amenities.

The Undercarriage

The undercarriage of an excavator must support the weight of the machine, provide traction on unstable surfaces such as mud and allow the machine to move. Variations include the amphibious swamp buggy pontoon-style undercarriage or the use of rubber tracks on small excavators.  As Excavators work in often hard conditions, the undercarriage will require replacement Excavator Undercarriage Parts over time.

Backfill Blade

The backfill blade is a rear-mounted bulldozer-type blade. The backfill blade is ideal for stripping topsoil and backfilling on pipeline jobs. It is used for the same purposes as on a bulldozer and adds some versatility to the excavator. It may also be used to stabilise the excavator when needed.

The House

The house sits on a pivot above the undercarriage. The pivot allows it to rotate 360 degrees. The engine, cab and the boom are all mounted on the house.

The Boom

The excavator’s boom is a large hydraulically-articulated arm. Operators fit different tools to the arm depending on the job. These tools include buckets, claws, thumbs, jackhammers, grapples, compaction wheels, tree shears and other tools specific to certain industries.

Check out this video for a basic introduction to Excavators.

RD Williams stock a large range of Excavators for sale from 1 to 100+ tonnes and Excavator Parts including a huge range of Excavator Undercarriage Parts. Our online Parts Search allows customers to search through our inventory of over 7,000 excavator parts.

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