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An excavator is an engineering vehicle consisting of an articulated arm (boom, stick), bucket and cab mounted on a pivot (a rotating platform, like a Lazy Susan) atop an undercarriage with tracks or wheels. Their design is a natural progression from the steam shovel.

(This Article is from Wikipedia, as the basis for section. Additional history and UK Machine info required, as well as reformatting of section)


Excavators are used in many roles:

  • Digging of trenches, holes, foundations
  • Material handling
  • Brush cutting with hydraulic attachments
  • Demolition
  • General grading/landscaping
  • Heavy lift, e.g. lifting and placing of pipes
  • Mining, especially, but not only open-pit mining
  • River dredging


Excavators come in a wide variety of sizes. The smaller ones are called a mini-excavator or compact excavator. One manufacturer's largest model weighs 84,980 kg (187,360 lb) and has a maximum bucket size of 4.5 (5.9 yd³). The same manufacturer's smallest mini-excavator weighs 1470 kg (3240 lb), has a maximum bucket size of 0.036 m³ (0.048 yd³) and the width of its tracks can be adjusted to 89 cm (35 inches). Another company makes a mini excavator that will fit through a doorway with tracks that can be adjusted to only 70 cm (28 inches) wide.

In recent years, hydraulic excavator capabilities have expanded far beyond excavation tasks. With the advent of hydraulic powered attachments such as a breaker, a grapple or an auger, the excavator is frequently used in many applications other than excavation. Many excavators feature quick-attach mounting systems for simplified attachment mounting, dramatically increasing the machine's utilization on the jobsite. Excavators are usually employed together with loaders and bulldozers. Most wheeled versions, and smaller, compact excavators have a small backfill (or dozer-) blade. This is a horizontal bulldozer-like blade attached to the undercarriage and is used for pushing removed material back into a hole.


Excavators are also called diggers and 360-degree excavators, sometimes abbreviated simply to a 360. Tracked excavators are sometimes called trackhoes by analogy to the backhoe. Even though the 'back' in backhoe refers to the action of the bucket (which pulls "back" toward the machine) and not the location of the shovel, excavators are also occasionally referred to as fronthoes or even just "hoes" .


The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS), established 2002, uses excavator training schools and curriculum as a method to test and train users in the ability of excavator use.


Images needed

Major manufacturers

Types of excavator

A Giant Bucket-wheel excavator


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


External links

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Excavator. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia