JC Ball 8x4 Tipper with Grab loader at Cromford 08 - P8030332

Tipper with grab loader

A grab is a mechanical device with two or more jaws (also called clamshells), used to pick things up or to capture things. Some types include:

  • Roundnose grab
  • Clamshell grab
  • Orange-peel grab
    • in Dutch they are called poliep grijpers = "polyp grabs".

There are different ways of open/close the grabs:

  • electro-hydraulic / diesel-hydraulic
  • mechanical by rope(s) (1-rope, 2-ropes, 3-ropes, 4-ropes)


Grabs can be used for:

  • dredging & gravel pits
  • bulk handling (e.g. loading/unloading ships)
  • salvage (e.g. ship-wrecks, oil)
  • excavation (e.g deep shafts)
  • street works (e.g Lorry loader grabs)


The British firm of Priestman stated building grabs for dredging in the late 19th century and then developed a range of Draglines and Front Shovel Excavator and Cranes to operate them.

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