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What Is a Link-Belt® Excavator?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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A Link-Belt® excavator is a piece of heavy duty earth-moving equipment produced by the LBX Company. The excavator is the modern equivalent to the steam shovel, which relied on steam energy to generate force for digging. The first Link-Belt® excavator was developed in 1880, when an Iowa farmer developed a new technology that made large machinery easier to maintain in the field. Since that time, LBX has grown into one of the world's largest producers of excavating equipment.

Link Belt® began when the company founder developed a chain belt drive system. Prior to 1880, farmers and other users of large equipment were unable to maintain and repair these machines themselves. This was due to a continuous drive system used in the majority of these machines. If the drive system broke down, the operator was forced to replace the entire mechanism, which often meant a lengthy wait for parts. Link-Belt® founders created a linked chain drive system, in which a single link could be quickly and easily replaced in the field with minimal downtime.

The oldest Link-Belt® excavator models used traditional steam technology. Modern units typically use hydraulic power, which generates superior lifting and digging capacity compared to other technologies. Each Link-Belt® excavator consists of an operator cab positioned above a set of heavy metal tracks. A hinged boom projects out of the front of the machine, and a claw or bucket at the end is used to dig through dirt and other materials.

These excavator machines can be used in a wide variety of applications, and the company produces different models to meet the needs of different types of projects. Basic models are designed for digging, such as during construction or road work. They may also be used in mining and land clearing operations. The Link-Belt® excavator also serves as a powerful tool in waste disposal and recycling plants, where it is used to sort through trash and recycled items. Finally, these machines can be used to demolish buildings and other structures without the use of explosives.

While Link Belt® was the first to use a linked drive belt, many other manufacturers use a similar technology today. These machines can range from small units designed for use by residential customers, to excavators that are as large as a multi-story commercial building. Buyers can choose a Link-Belt® excavator based on the demands of each project. Larger models offer greater power and efficiency in terms of digging and lifting, while smaller units provide flexibility in terms of how and where they can be used.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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