Types of Heavy Construction Equipment You Should Know

Last Updated on June 6, 2023 by Eng Katepa

Heavy construction equipment is used for various purposes in large Engineering projects. The selection of different types of heavy equipment depends on the work site and the project’s economy. These make the construction process easier and faster.

Therefore, Heavy construction equipment refers to heavy-duty vehicles specially designed to execute engineering construction tasks, most frequently involving earthwork operations or other large engineering construction tasks.

Types of Heavy Construction Equipment

The following are the types of heavy equipment used in the construction:

  1. Backhoe loaders
  2. Bulldozers
  3. Graders
  4. Excavators
  5. Dragline excavators
  6. Trenchers
  7. Loaders
  8. Wheel tractor Scraper
  9. Tower cranes
  10. Pavers
  11. Compactors
  12. Dump trucks
  13. Pile driving machines
  14. Pile boring machines
  15. Feller bunchers
  16. Telehandlers
  17. Concrete mixers
  18. Concrete pumps

Also Read: The Construction Team: Managing the Building Process

1. Backhoe Loaders

Backhoe Loaders, as Heavy Construction Equipment

Backhoe Loader is a widely used construction equipment that is suitable for multiple construction purposes. The name itself tells that the hoe arrangement is provided on the back side of the vehicle while the loading bucket is provided in the front. This is well useful for excavating trenches below the machine level and using front bucket loading, unloading, and lifting of materials can be done.

2. Bulldozers


Bulldozers are the type of soil excavating equipment that is used to remove the topsoil layer up to a particular depth. The removal of soil is done by the sharp-edged wide metal plate provided at its front. This plate can be lowered and raised using hydraulic pistons. These are widely used for the removal of weak soil or rock strata, lifting of soil, etc.

A large metal plate (dozer blade) is mounted on the front of the tractor to push materials during construction operations. The rear of the tractor is usually fitted with a device known as a ripper, which is used to loosen tightly compacted materials.

Also referred to as a dozer, Bulldozers can either be a four-wheel-drive tractor or a device mounted on continuous metal treads to navigate even the roughest terrains.

3. Graders


Graders are another type of equipment used in construction, especially for the construction of roads. It is mainly used to level the soil surface. It contains a horizontal blade in between the front and rear wheels and this blade is lowered into the ground while working.

The operating cabin is provided on the top of the rear axle arrangement. Motor Graders are also used to remove snow or dirt from the roads, flatten the surface of the soil before laying the asphalt layer, remove unnecessary soil layers from the ground, etc.

4. Excavators


Heavy construction types of machinery are used for excavating earth and rocks and loading them onto dump trucks. Excavators have a boom, bucket, and cab on a rotating platform above an undercarriage with wheels or tracks.

They can handle a wide range of work by changing the front attachment, which makes them a popular type of heavy equipment for construction.

Their general purpose is excavation but other than that they are also used for many purposes like heavy lifting, demolition, river dredging, cutting of trees, etc.

Also Read: Building construction | Types of Building Construction

5. Dragline Excavators

Dragline Excavators

A dragline excavator is another heavy equipment used in construction that is generally used for larger-depth excavations. It consists of a long-length boom and a digging bucket is suspended from the top of the boom using the cable. For the construction of ports, excavations underwater, sediment removal in water bodies, etc. can be done by a dragline excavator.

Some dragline excavators are small and are easily moveable to a construction site, while others – weighing thousands of tonnes – can only be assembled on-site.

6. Trenchers


Trenchers or Trenching machines are used to excavate trenches in the soil. These trenches are generally used for pipeline laying, cable laying, drainage purposes, etc.

Trenching machines are available in two types namely chain trenchers and wheeled trenchers. Chain trenchers contain a fixed long arm around which a digging chain is provided.

Wheeled trenchers contain a metal wheel with digging teeth around it. To excavate hard soil layers, wheeled trenchers are more suitable. Both types of trenchers are available in tracked as well as wheeled vehicle forms.

7. Loaders


Loaders are used in construction sites to load the material onto dumpers, trucks, etc. The materials may be excavated soil, demolition waste, raw materials, etc.

A loader contains a largely sized bucket at its front with a shorter moving arm. The loader may be either tracked or wheeled. Wheeled loaders are widely used in sites while tracked or crawled loaders are used in sites where wheeled vehicles cannot reach.

A loader is a heavy equipment machine used in construction to move or load materials such as soil, rock, sand, demolition debris, etc. into or onto another type of machinery (such as a dump truck, conveyor belt, feed-hopper, or railroad car).

Also Read: Construction Terminologies You Should Know

8. Wheel Tractor Scrapers

Wheel Tractor Scraper

Wheel Tractor Scrapers are earth-moving equipment used to provide flatten soil surfaces through scrapping. The front part contains a wheeled tractor vehicle and the rear part contain a scrapping arrangement such as a horizontal front blade, conveyor belt, and soil-collecting hopper.

When the front blade is lowered onto the ground and the vehicle is moved, the blade starts digging the soil above the blade level and the soil excavated is collected in a hopper through a conveyor belt. When the hopper is full, the rear part is raised from the ground and the hopper is unloaded at the soil dump yard.

Wheel tractor-scrapers have the power, traction, and speed for reliable output in a variety of earthmoving applications. Scraper options include single-engine and tandem-engine open bowls, tandem-engine push-pulls, and elevator arrangements.

9. Tower Cranes

Tower Cranes

Tower cranes are fixed cranes that are used for hoisting purposes in the construction of tall structures. Heavy materials like pre-stressed concrete blocks, steel trusses, frames, etc. can be easily lifted to the required height using this type of equipment.

They consist mast which is the vertical supporting tower, Jib which is the operating arm of the crane, a counter jib which is the other arm that carries a counterweight on the rear side of the crane, and an operator cabin from which the crane can be operated.

Tower Cranes are equipped with hoist ropes, chains, or sheaves, and are used to lower, lift, and move heavy or bulk construction materials around.

10. Pavers/ Asphalt Pavers

Asphalt Pavers

A paver or Asphalt paver is pavement-laying equipment that is used in road construction. Paver contains a feeding bucket in which asphalt is continuously loaded by the dump truck and the paver distributes the asphalt evenly on the road surface with slight compaction. However, a roller is required after laying the asphalt layer for perfect compaction.

An asphalt paver operates with a dump truck filling the paver’s hopper with asphalt. As you begin to operate the equipment and move forward, the feeder conveyors transfer the material to the back of the paver where the distribution augers move the asphalt out.

11. Compactors


Compactors or Rollers are used to compact the material or the earth’s surface. Different types of compactors are available for different compacting purposes.

Smooth wheel rollers are used for compacting shallow layers of soil or asphalt etc. sheep-foot rollers are used for deep compaction purposes. Pneumatic tired rollers are used for compacting fine-grained soils, asphalt layers, etc.

Normally powered by hydraulics, compactors take many shapes and sizes. In landfill sites, for example, a large tractor (typically a converted front-end loader with some variant of a bulldozer blade attached) with spiked steel wheels called a landfill compactor is used to drive over waste deposited by waste collection vehicles.

Also Read: The Communication Skills: All Engineers Need To Know

12. Dump Trucks

Dump Truck

Are used in construction sites to carry the material in larger quantities from one site to another site or to the dump yard. Generally, in big construction sites, off-road dump trucks are used. These off-road dump trucks contain large wheels with huge space for materials which enables them to carry huge quantities of material in any type of ground conditions.

A dump truck, known also as a dumping truck, dump trailer, dumper trailer, dump lorry, or dumper lorry, or a dumper for short, is used for transporting materials (such as dirt, gravel, or demolition waste) for construction.

A typical dump truck is equipped with an open-box bed, which is hinged at the rear and equipped with hydraulic rams to lift the front, allowing the material in the bed to be deposited (“dumped”) on the ground behind the truck at the site of delivery.

13. Pile Driving Equipment

Pile Driving machine

Another piece of heavy equipment used in the construction sites is pile driving equipment in case of pile foundation construction. This equipment lifts the pile and holds it in the proper position and drives into the ground up to the required depth.

Different types of pile-driving equipment are available namely, piling rigs, piling hammers, hammer guides, etc. in any case the pile is driven into the ground by hammering the pile top which is done hydraulically or by dropping.

14. Pile Boring Equipment

Pile boring machine

Pile boring equipment is used to make bore holes in the construction site to install precast piles. A bored pile drilling machine is a type of construction equipment used to create bored piles in the construction technology of concrete by drilling method.

15. Feller Bunchers

Feller buncher

Feller buncher is tree-cutting heavy equipment used to remove large trees in the construction field. They cut the tree and grab it without felling, likewise gathering all the cut-down trees in one place which makes the job easier for loaders and dump trucks. It is a motorized vehicle with an attachment that can rapidly gather and cut a tree before felling it.

A feller buncher is a self-propelled machine with a cutting head that is capable of holding more than one stem at a time. The cutting head is used strictly for cutting, holding, and placing the stems on the ground. Feller bunchers do not have processing capabilities.

16. Telehandlers


Telehandlers are hoisting equipment used in construction to lift heavy materials up to the required height or to provide construction platforms for workers at greater heights etc.

It contains a long telescopic boom that can be raised or lowered or forwarded. Different types of arrangements like forklifts, buckets, cabins, lifting jibs, etc. can be attached to the end of telescopic boom based on the requirement of the job.

17. Concrete Mixers

Concrete Mixers

A concrete mixer (often colloquially called a cement mixer) is a device that homogeneously combines cement, aggregates such as sand or gravel, and water to form concrete.

A typical concrete mixer uses a revolving drum to mix the components. For smaller volume works, portable concrete mixers are often used so that the concrete can be made at the construction site, giving the workers ample time to use the concrete before it hardens.

An alternative to a machine is mixing concrete by hand. This is usually done in a wheelbarrow; however, several companies have recently begun to sell modified tarps for this purpose.

18. Concrete Pumps

Concrete Pumps

A concrete pump is a machine used for transferring liquid concrete by pumping.

That all. To be updated soon

We hope this article helped you learn about the Types of Heavy Construction Equipment You Should Know. You may also want to learn about Corrosion in Reinforced Concrete: Causes, Prevention and MoreConstruction Estimating: Types, Opportunities, The Estimator, and More,  Engineering Universities In Tanzania You Should Know, and Cement | Types, Composition, And All You Need to Know.

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