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The Basics Of An Excavator

Excavator or excavators are one of the pieces of heavy equipment that you may hear talk about but rarely actually see – unless you are specifically looking for them. They don’t do a lot of driving around like a bulldozer or loader, they tend to sit in one place and do a lot of work before being moved a small distance to continue on with the job.

The excavator consists of a cab, an engine, dual bulldozer-like tracks or treads, a boom arm, and an attachment.

  • The cab is where the operator sits. It can generally pivot 360° on top of the tracks and act as enclosed rollover protection work areas.
  • The engine provides power for the tracks and powers the hydraulic systems that run the arm and its attachments.
  • The undercarriage includes the tracks that move the machine around, along with the sprockets and rollers that guide and propel the tracks.
  • The boom is like an arm that extends from the body of the vehicle. It connects at an elbow to the stick that holds the attachment.
  • It is the attachment that does the actual work – generally a bucket with teeth designed to dig an remove the loosened material.

Some excavators use a quick coupler that makes it a lot easier to switch between attachments. Some common attachments include augers for boring holes and thumbs for pinching or gripping, as well as hydraulic hammers, rakes, rippers, and mulchers.

Learning to operate an excavator is not that difficult. It just takes a little attention to detail and plenty of practice. ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Schools include excavators in their training program. Check us out for details on our next heavy equipment operator course.

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