A Comprehensive List of Types of Heavy Equipment Used in Construction

Types of heavy equipment used in the construction industry

There are various types of heavy equipment used in the construction project depending upon the scope of work.

The selection of construction equipment is a very important and complex process because of the varieties of choices available and sometimes the difference between them is very narrow.

That’s why, it is important to know about the function and usage of these heavy equipment. In this article, we will learn about some of the important types of heavy equipment used in the construction industry.

Excavation equipment

Excavation equipment refers to a category of heavy machinery specifically designed for digging, trenching, and earthmoving tasks in construction, mining, and excavation projects.

1) Tractor

A tractor is an important piece of equipment for earth movement. They are used to push or pull other pieces of equipment or attachments.

It converts engine energy into tractive energy. These tractors are usually powered by diesel engines with different horsepower.

There are available in two types, namely

  • Crawler type or track type
  • Wheel type or pneumatic type

The crawler-type tractors move with the help of a chain. They are slower in speed and are used for uneven and rough grounds.

The wheel-type tractors move on pneumatic tires. They are relatively faster and are used for smooth even roads.

Crawler type tractor and wheel type tractor

2) Bulldozer

These machines are nothing but high-powered tractors fitted with a front blade attachment called mould board. These machines are usually fitted with crawler-type attachments.

The mould board or front blade is used for moving earth up to a depth of 40 cm by pushing the loosened materials ahead of the machine for a short-haul distance of about 100m.

In some models, the mould board can be even fitted with teeth attachment for excavating the hard grounds.

Bull dozer clearing earth

3) Angle dozer

In angle dozers, the mould board or front blade is attached to the front side of the tractors at an angle other than 90 degrees.

The angle of the mould board of the angle dozer is usually 30 degrees. They are used for pushing the materials to the side, right or left.

Angle dozer clearing ground - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Angle dozer

4) Grader

It is a self-propelled or towing machine that is used to shape the ground and spread the loose materials.

It consists of an angled blade with varying lengths, supported on the framework mounted on the wheels.

The self-propelled grader is known as a motor grader and the one that is towed by a tractor is known as an elevating grader. Nowadays, the elevating grader has become obsolete, and only motor graders are used.

Grader - A type of heavy machinery used in construction

5) Scrapper

It is a piece of equipment that can dig, load, haul, and discharge the material in large volumes.

It comprises a power unit (usually a tractor) and a scraper bowl. The scraper bowl consists of a cutting edge that is lowered into the ground to cut the top surface of the soil up to a depth of 30 cm.

As the scaper bowl moves forward the loosened earth is forced into the container and when full, the cutting edge is raised to seal the bowl. Then the bowl is emptied by raising the rear portion and spreading the collected soil as the machine moves forward.

Scrapper - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

6) Rippers

The ripper is a particular type of attachment that is used for ripping off or loosening the hard ground strata. These are usually wheel-mounted or crawler-type. They are also known as sacrificers.

Ripper - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

7) Power shovel

It is used to excavate all classes of earth, except solid rocks. They are mounted on crawlers. In addition to the excavation, they are also used for loading the excavated materials into the trucks.

These power shovels can excavate the earth at or above the operating level of the ground.

The size of the power shovel is expressed by the size of the dipper bucket in cubic meters.

Power shovel - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Power shovel

8) Draglines

Draglines are used to excavate soft earth at or below the ground level and deposit or load into the trucks or wagons. They are mounted on crawlers.

Draglines are specifically used for excavating ditches, canals, or pits containing water.

The size of the dragline is expressed by the size of the bucket in cubic meters. The output of the dragline is only 75% to 80% of that of a shovel of the same capacity.

Draglines - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

9) Clamshell

It consists of two half buckets, which are hinged at the top. The bucket is inserted into the materials which is to be dug. When lifted, the bucket closes and entraps the materials inside.

It is primarily used to excavate or handle loose materials such as sand, gravel, stone, coal, etc. It can handle the materials above or below the operating level of the ground.

Clamshell Excavator - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

10) Hoe or back shovel

They are used for excavating trenches, pits, and general works. They are superior to draglines and power shovels in operating on close-range work and dumping into trucks.

It can exert high tooth pressures and hence can excavate stiff materials that draglines cannot excavate.

It can excavate below the natural surface of the ground on which the machine rests.

The output of the hoe is greatest when the excavation is done near the machine and reduces considerably at deeper depths of excavation.

Hoe or backshovel - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Hoe or Backshovel

11) Dredgers

Dredgers are used for excavation of the bed of a river, lake, or sea for the purpose of deepening. There are three different types of dredgers available. They are,

a) Dipper dredger

These dredger excavates all types of underwater soil and discharges the loaded bucket either on the bank or the floating vessel. They can operate up to a 20m depth and excavate up to 50 cubic meters per hour.

Dipper dredger - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Dipper dredger

b) Ladder dredger

It contains a continuous chain of buckets mounted on a frame called a ladder. The bucket excavates the soil and gets lifted with the help of the belting process. Then the bucket discharges into a conveyor belt or floating vessel.

Ladder dredger - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Ladder dredger

c) Suction dredger

This dredger consists of a heavy-duty pump mounted on a vessel. The suction pump is supported by the ladder frame up to the river bed. Then the soil is pumped up and gets discharged up to a distance of 3m. It can excavate up to a depth of 30m.

Suction dredger - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Suction dredger

12) Trencher

These machines can excavate trenches of constant width with greater accuracy and speed. They have a series of small cutting buckets or blades attached to an endless chain which is supported by a boom that can be lowered into the ground for required depth.

These machines can be used to dig trenches for gas lines, pipelines, oil pipelines, drainages, sewers, etc.

Trencher - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

13) Skimmer

These machines consist of a bucket that is sliding along a horizontal jib. The bucket slides along the jib and digs away from the machine. It is used to excavate up to a depth of 300 mm. This machine is used where a greater accuracy in level is required.

Skimmer - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

Compaction equipment

These machines are used to compress and densify soil, asphalt, or other materials, enhancing their stability and load-bearing capacity.

1) Smooth wheeled roller

These machines have either three or two rollers in line behind each other. The rolls are actually hollow steel drums that can be filled either with water or sand to obtain the specific pressure.

These rollers are most suitable for compacting gravel, sand, and other such materials.

Smooth wheeled roller - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Smooth wheeled roller

2) Sheep foot roller

This type of roller consists of a cylindrical steel drum with a projection extending from the cylinder. They can be either self-propelled or towed by a tractor.

This type of roller is suitable for silty sand, clayey sand, clayey silt, and medium to heavy clays.

Sheep foot roller - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Sheep foot roller

3) Pneumatic tyred roller

This type of roller consists of a cabin box mounted on two axles. Each axle has its own number of pneumatic tyres. They are divided into different types of classes based on their weight.

These rollers are suitable for both clayey and gravel soils.

Pneumatic tyred roller - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Pneumatic tyred roller

4) Vibratory compactors

They consist of a vibrating unit mounted on a roller in such a way that the net effect is an up-and-down vibratory movement. These compactors are most efficient for coarse-grained soils like gravel.

Vibratory compactor - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Vibratory compactor

Hauling equipment

Hauling equipment refers to machinery and vehicles designed for the transportation of heavy loads, materials, or goods over short or long distances, typically used in construction, mining, and logistics industries.

1) Trucks

These machines have high mobility, good speed, and good maneuverability. However, on rough roads or during bad weather conditions, their performance became unsatisfactory.

They are used for the transportation of men, materials, and machines around the construction area. They are classified depending on the truck capacity, axles, and number of driving wheels.

Truck - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

2) Dump trucks

These are the trucks that are fitted with automatic hydraulic unloading devices. It is used to carry construction materials to the site. The loading is usually carried out by shovels and the unloading process can be done by hydraulic process.

Based on the type of unloading, these trucks have been classified as rear dump, bottom dump, and side dump types.

Dump truck - A type of heavy equipment used in construction
Dump truck

3) Dumpers

These are the most versatile, labor-saving equipment for hauling construction materials like bricks, aggregates, concrete, etc. These are usually diesel-powered and can traverse any rough terrain on the site.

They come in many varieties and they also have self-unloading facilities with the help of hydraulic jacks.

Dumper - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

Hositing equipments

Hositing equipment is used for transporting materials or passengers vertically using a moving platform.

1) Forklift truck

This is a handy machine used for quick and efficient handling of materials around the building sites. They have a short wheelbase and can handle up to several tonnes. These machines have become popular since they rapidly move the materials with a low breakage factor.

Forkift - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

2) Cranes

A crane is a machine that is used for lifting heavy loads with the help of a wire or a rope. They are mainly used to lift large and heavy components on the construction site. They have lifting capacities ranging from half a tonne to 500 tonnes.

Crane - A type of heavy equipment used in construction

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Hope you understand everything you need to know about the types of heavy machinery used in the construction. If you found this article helpful, let us know in the comment section.

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