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What are the Different Types of Earth Moving Equipment?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
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Earth moving equipment is machines and tools that are often used in construction, turf, and excavation work. Different types of jobs require different earth moving equipment. Unless a specific job type is being considered, it is difficult to consider anything to be standard. There are, however, some vehicles that can be considered common earth moving equipment.

A backhoe loader is an example of a piece of equipment that is used around the world for a wide range of jobs which include digging holes or breaking asphalt. A backhoe loader is tractor with an arm connecting a bucket to the front and another arm connecting a backhoe in the rear. This rear attachment may either be permanent or removable. In comparison with some other earth moving equipment, a backhoe loader is often appreciated for being relatively small but versatile.

An excavator is a machine that may also be used for digging or demolition. Excavators can come in a number of sizes, but tend to be designed the same. Usually there is a pivoting cab that rests on an undercarriage. Extending from the middle is an arm that is usually connected to a bucket. On each side of the undercarriage are tracks that are used for mobility.

Apart from the arm in the rear, another major difference between a backhoe loader and an excavator are the tracks. Tracks are common for certain earth moving equipment. There are advantages and disadvantages, however.

One reason people use track-type vehicles is because they are more efficient than wheeled vehicles on certain types of terrain. Track-type vehicles are often used on unleveled ground, such as on an embankment, or on unstable ground, such as one covered with snow. A disadvantage is that tracks are more complex than wheels and often malfunction or get damaged.

A bulldozer is another item that can come in a range of sizes. This vehicle has a tractor style body and also has the track-type undercarriage. There is normally some type of metal blade connected to the front of a bulldozer. This is used to push heavy loads that can include sand or refuse from a demolished structure. The blades are often switched to accommodate the job.

Dump trucks are earth moving equipment that allow for the transport and deposit of necessary materials at a job site. One of the most important features of the dump truck is that it is an efficient means of transportation. A dump truck can be driven for long distances at speeds that do not conflict with normal traffic or consume unnecessary amounts of time. The other important feature is that the loads that they carry can be deposited with minimal effort since the driver performs this task without having to leave the cab.

A dumper is a vehicle that is also designed to carry loads. Usually the quantities carried are smaller. Dumpers are also not usually used for on-road transport. These 4-wheeled vehicles have a bin in the front. The driver is usually seated behind his load and when he is ready to deposit it, he tilts the bin to empty the contents.

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Discussion Comments

By Phaedrus — On Jan 20, 2014

Some kinds of earth moving equipment can be unbelievably massive. My dad worked for a company that manufactured earth movers and he took us all to an open house tour one weekend. There was a dump truck that was literally the size of a house, and I got to stand under one tire. It was 16 feet tall. My dad said they used these trucks to haul away coal in those huge strip mines in other countries. This was back in the 1970s, so I'm sure there's much large earth moving equipment being made today. It just amazes me that one or two people can drive something that big.

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