Everywhere you look around town and in the country you can see construction crews hard at work. Excavators, front end loaders and other earthmovers are operaing on all types of jobs making needed roadway improvements, building new facilities, installing or upgrading utility lines and generally improving our built environment.
But not only do construction companies use these machines – landscapers, timber companies, mining companies, farmers and landfill operators, among many other rely upon hydraulically operated machinery to efficiently and effectively accomplish mammoth tasks that would seem insurmountable if they had to be done with a hand shovel and wheelbarrow. Hydraulic machines use fluid to transmit force and their sheer size allows for strength, speed and agility that cannot be matched by human hands alone.
For this article we’ll focus on the three machines that we offer experiences on at People at Play to explain and demonstrate some of their uses ‘on the job’ for our construction company, Bennett Contracting, Inc., a full-service excavation and underground utility contractor based in Bradenton, Florida. Bennett Contracting has been in business for more than 12 years and recently earned Equipment World Magazine’s Contractor of the Year Safety Award for 2012/2013. We are proud to work in construction and are thankful for the continued advances in technology and design of hydraulic equipment… without it we’d all be living a completely different – and definitely less comfortable life with bumpy, washed-out roads and outhouses instead of toilets…. Imagine it! Yikes!!!
The hydraulic excavator consists of a boom, a stick, a bucket and a cab situated on a rotating platform over dual steel tracks. Sometimes referred to as a “backhoe,” “trackhoe” or in Europe a “digger,” this machine does all types of work on the job including digging trenches, foundations and ponds, demolition, material handling (storm boxes and manholes in our case), dredging and much more. The forefathers of these hydraulic machines were “steam shovels” – powered by steam and cable; they are relics of a bygone era.
Today’s excavators come in all sizes from compact machines on rubber tracks that can fit through a typical doorway all the way up to enormous machines that require the operator to scale one (or even two!) ladders to get into the cab.
Skid Steer Loader
A small but mighty workhorse on the job, a skid steer loader or “multi-terrain compact track loader” as the official brochures call them, a skid steer is utilized by our team to move fill from one location to another on the job site, move pipe and other materials on site and to load trucks. Multiple attachments are available and “quick-coupling” design allows the skid steer to use a button to detach the bucket and replace the front attachment with forks, an auger, a mowing deck, a blade and many other attachments. Bennett Contracting has done a lot of concrete sidewalk installation using our skid steers to grade, as the blade is the perfect width for 5’ sidewalks.
The ‘dozer’ or “Track Type Tractor” uses a blade situated at the front of the machine to push, level, grade and compact the dirt. The dozer’s unique 6-way blade moves up and down, angles left and right and also swivels… all using one joystick handle. The dozer is used to grade parking lots, building pads, sculpting pond and waterway banks and much more.
Today’s technology has made the bulldozer the most popular machine for GPS satellite navigation which programs the blade to contour the earth to meet pre-determined grades based on the site’s civil engineering plans programmed into the software.
Many dozers are outfitted with a ripper on the rear of the machine capable of breaking and ripping into rocky and frozen terrain.
These are three of the most popular machines used in construction… along with rubber tire backhoes and front end loaders you will normally see these three types of track machines on most job sites. If you have any questions or a particular interest in running other machines please call us to discuss customized packages and programs, which we are happy to create for our “crew members.”
|1||Kent DeLazzer||4:23 min|
|2||Maria DeLazzer||6:00 min|
|3||Blake Doganiero||6:06 min|
|4||Adam Scafario||6:23 min|
|5||Michael F. Swift||7:00 min|