Excavator attachments serve many uses in the construction and mining industries. These attachments may move heavy soil loads, demolish a building, extract earth and ore.

The diversity of heavy-duty applications inherently creates the need for numerous tools. Whether you are new to construction or just new to procurement, you need to know the differences between the excavator attachment types and their most common applications.

The term excavator refers to earthmoving vehicles with tracks rather than wheels. They feature an arm with an attached bucket and a rotating cab that provides the operator with a 360-degree view of the worksite. Designed for mobility and excavation these powerful digging tools create trenches, mines, and tunnels.

Equipment Types

When individuals new to their use first come across this equipment, they may hear it referred to by brand names or nicknames. This promotes a problem when they need to purchase something for a job because you cannot simply buy a Cat. That is short for Caterpillar, a brand name. It, like John Deere, Keystone, Kubota, and others make most of the common excavator types, so you must learn the proper names and their common uses. You might need a crawler, suction excavator, dragline excavator, long reach excavator, or skid steer.

Crawler: ideal for mining and trench digging due to its chain track system that grabs onto terrain and can traverse a variety of conditions. Meant for heavy-duty construction jobs The crawler’s hydraulic power mechanism enables it to easily lift heavy soil, stone, and debris.

Dragline: ideal for road construction and underwater work such as canal dredging due to its rope hoisting system which joins a bucket, hoist coupler, and dragline to the cab. The bucket can move in all directions – up and down as well as toward and away from the driver.

Suction/Vacuum: ideal for underground work due to its sharp-toothed pipe and high-pressure vacuum that can spew water onto the soil to loosen it, then vacuum it up at rates of up to 200 miles per hour.

Skid Steer: ideal for above ground applications in which the operator needs to remove scattered debris. Its forward-facing bucket and boom face away from the driver. This makes it good for working in narrow spaces. Common applications include site cleanup, debris removal, digging pools, and retention ponds.

Long Reach: ideal for hard-to-reach areas, the long reach excavator features a boom with an extendable arm with a horizontal reach of more than 100 feet. The arm can use attachments, too, so a long reach can perform cutting, crushing, and shearing.

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