Construction companies face a myriad of challenges. This is not only in the USA but also worldwide. Such challenges are expected mainly because the construction sector is growing faster and the jobs are becoming more complex for the human workforce. This has influenced the need for different types of construction vehicles to ease the work burden.
The demand for advanced construction vehicles and other materials is skyrocketing. It is because construction companies are interested in achieving great performance in their projects and try to beat project complexity.
Such demand pressure is passed to the manufacturers of this construction equipment and vehicles who have no option but to work tirelessly and push the technology a notch higher by producing more sophisticated equipment that must meet the expectations and bridge the demand.
The selection of different types of heavy construction vehicles and equipment depends on the size of the work to be done and the economy of the project. This article delves into discussing the most popular construction vehicles that exist today and this will help sample out a perfect one or a perfect combination that serves your needs.
(Just some) of the contents in the article;
Bulldozers are one of the most common construction vehicles found on construction sites. They are tractors with a powerful metal dozer blade mounted in front of them. The blade is powerful enough and has a tight grip on the ground to help push large piles of sand, soil, rocks, and debris.
The rear of the bulldozer is fitted with a ripper which helps to loosen tight compact materials or surfaces. Bulldozers can also move obstacles, clear bushes, trees, and clear roads for construction. Additionally, they help in digging trenches in military operations and clearing of farmland.
Bulldozers have a torque divider that transforms engine power into massive dragging and pushing capability. They can also tow heavy trunks with ease. To reduce the pressure applied, these tractors are heavily and widely built to help distribute their gigantic weight.
Bulldozers are mainly four-wheeled drive tractors. This helps them to perform their intended duty even in rough and rocky terrains. Examples of bulldozers are;
- Caterpillar D10
- Zettelmeyer ZD 3001
This type of construction vehicle is also called scoop loaders, bucket loaders, or front-end loaders. They are similar to bulldozers but slightly raised above the ground than bulldozers. Front-loaders have huge four-wheeled drives suitable to navigate through rough and rocky terrain.
Front-loaders consist of two movable arms with a wide scooping square bucket mounted between the arms. The bucket is often removable and can be replaced with other equipment, such as hydraulically operated buckets or forks.
The front loaders help in digging, clearing rubble, stockpiling materials from construction sites, and loading them into trucks for transportation. Additionally, they can also carry and transport building materials like bricks, metal bars, pipes, and digging tools. In cold countries, they help to remove snow during the winter seasons.
The largest loader is the LeTourneau L-2350, which has an operational payload of 80 tons or 160,000 pounds. Its diesel-electric repulsion system outputs 2,300 horsepower enough to handle an operational weight of 260 tons. Other examples of loaders include;
- Caterpillar 950H
- Kawasaki 95ZV-2
Backhoes or diggers are also earthmovers. A backhoe can be mounted on a regular tractor or front loaders and perform the function. They have four large wheels that enable them to navigate through rough and rocky terrain with ease.
Backhoes can perform functions of excavation, landscaping, paving, transportation, digging trenches, digging ditches, digging building foundations, excavating dirt, removing snow in cold countries, cleaning construction sites, digging deep-rooted tree roots, patting loose soil, planting trees, digging post holes, and loading debris onto trucks.
Quite often, they are confused with excavators since they have similar digging and lifting capabilities. The two differ in size. Excavators are huge and have buckets and booms that can rotate 360 degrees, while backhoes are small tractor-like machines that can only rotate 180 degrees side to side.
Examples of backhoes include;
- JCB 3CX
- 770EX Magnum
Graders are heavy engineering constriction vehicles with a long metallic blade mounted at their base and helps to flatten rugged surfaces on construction sites such as a base course for railway, road, foundations, or drainage.
They also help to widen flat surfaces, perform final shaping of pavement surfaces, remove debris and snow based on the project requirement and possible location. Graders are mainly found in road construction sites or the maintenance of gravel roads.
The blade is mechanically or hydraulically controlled between their front and rear wheel. These blades can be raised or lowered depending on the surface. Some graders have slippers or front blades for dirt grading and snow plowing.
Examples of graders include;
- BEML 605R2
- SEC-RJMT mini motor grader
Cranes are very essential construction vehicles that comprise pulleys and cables for lifting and lowering loads that are beyond human ability. They can also help move heavy loads at horizontal distances.
At construction sites, they aid in the movement of heavy construction materials that the human workforce is unable to move. There are static and mobile cranes. Mobile cranes have very large wheels mounted on their chassis to help give support and stability when lifting or holding heavy loads.
Examples of cranes are;
- Link-Belt RTC80100
- Grove GMK 6300
There are different types of cranes. They include;
1. Truck Cranes
These are modified trucks fitted with a self-propelled crane for lifting, lowering, and transporting heavy materials in construction sites.
They have two components: the lower component of an undercarriage or chassis and the upper component of the lifting crane. These components are controlled through a turntable enabling the upper part to rotate 180 degrees for most cranes and 360 degrees for refined ones.
2. Carry Deck Cranes
Carry deck cranes are smaller and mobile cranes that can rotate to 360 degrees. The operating deck is mounted on four big wheels which have a control panel and a steering wheel to navigate the crane.
They are effective in projects that demand lifting and transfer of heavy construction materials around an enclosed location within the construction site.
3. Tower Cranes
Tower cranes are powerful none mobile cranes with a lifting capability of up to 20 tons. They are built along with the building and raise alongside it. They are mounted using heavy concrete and bolts dismantled in the end. Tower cranes are common in the construction of very tall buildings.
4. Telescopic Cranes
Telescopic cranes are equipped with a large boom with several hydraulic cylinders fitted inside another, allowing the bottom to increase or reduce on size like a telescope.
They are mounted on trucks with many large wheels to support the weight and stability. Telescopic cranes are effective for the installation of signal masts.
5. Crawler Cranes
Crawler cranes aid in heavy load transportation. They are built on an undercarriage with a pair of rubber tracks instead of wheels to help them operate on soft soils without sinking despite the rubber track limiting their turning ability.
Some crawler cranes come with telescopic arms able to increase or reduce in size to aid in their operations on different terrain. They are suitable for long-term projects because of their gigantic ability.
Just as their name suggests, loaders help to load and transfer construction materials such as dirt, snow, asphalt, demolition debris, gravel, recycled materials, and rocks.
Loaders may be wheeled or tracked depending on their application. Wheeled loaders perform the task otherwise done by shovels. They aid in the transfer of stockpiled materials from the ground onto tracks.
Loaders are of different types;
- Bucket loaders
- Skid-Steer loaders
- Pay loaders
- Scoop loaders
They all have different applications and an assembly that depends on the intended job. Additionally, these types of construction vehicles can be permanent or movable.
Examples of loaders include;
- Bobcat S650
- Mustang 2054
Crawler dozers are types of construction vehicles designed with a high degree of strength and power. Because of the terrain under which they operate, they are tracked and come with a variety of blades that are often mounted on their front.
The blades help in moving materials from one place to another, clearing debris from mining areas, and smoothing the edges of road construction areas.
Compactors are an essential type of construction vehicle aiding in soil compaction. A strong compacted soil helps to prevent erosion of foundations, breakage of pipes, leakage of pipes, and slab cracks.
Compactors condense layers of materials, i.e. soil and wreckages, through a process called compaction. They are widely hydraulic powered and function by applying a downward static force on the surface and compress soil particles through downward vibratory force that adds to the weight of the machine.
Construction done on compacted soil is not prone to failure and won’t require high maintenance costs. It is very important having the soil compacted before beginning any construction whichever the size of the project.
There are different types of compactors;
Heavy soil compacting rollers;
- Smooth wheel rollers
- Vibrating smooth rollers
- Sheep shoot/ Pad foot rollers
- Pneumatic rollers
- Tamping rollers
- Drum rollers
Light soil compacting rollers;
- Portable vibrating plate
Excavators are heavy types of construction vehicles, also referred to as diggers. They aid in digging holes, trenches, foundations, excavating rocks, and loading them on dump trucks. These vehicles come fitted with a hydraulic boom or bucket on a rotating platform above the undercarriage mounted on heavy-duty wheels or tracks.
This makes them maneuverable and can rotate 360 degrees. Excavators come in different sizes depending on the work they are meant to do. Most excavators have got removable front attachments, and this enables them to handle different types of works, making them so popular on construction sites.
This makes them versatile in all industries, such as mining, construction, forestry, demolition, material handling, dredging rivers, and lifting heavy objects.
Forklifts are essential types of construction vehicles that aid in lifting and moving heavy loads in construction sites and warehouses. They help to lift and transport heavy loads that are beyond human power.
Forklifts come in different categories depending on their ability to carry loads. These types can range from small and simple pelleted jack forklifts to industrial telehandlers which can lift and transport tons of weight at a go.
The big difference in the types of forklifts is the maximum amount of weight each can lift. To prevent the risk of the load slipping away during transportation or lifting, the forks or blades are adjustable depending on the load’s tilt angle.
Conveyors are types of construction vehicles that aid in movement or conveying construction material from one point to another within the construction site. They can move materials of different shapes, sizes, and shapes.
Conveyers are universal since they help in the movement of heavy loads in different industries, such as;
- Food processing
- Print finishing
Quite often, the shaft of the conveyer belt is supported by wheels, which normally allows movement of the shaft around a construction site.
Wheeled conveyor belts can aid in the movement of bulky stones and bricks from one point to another within the construction site.
Concrete Mixer Truck
Concrete mixer trucks are types of construction vehicles that are used to mix cement, sand, or gravel with water homogeneously to produce concrete used in the construction of building slabs.
The mixer trucks consist of a rotating drum that is mounted on a truck to aid in mixing concrete components. The mixture is then transported to the construction sites. Mixtures in the drum can stay wet for a very long time, provided the drum keeps rotating.
Dump trucks are a common and popular phenomenon on any construction site. These vehicles help in dumping debris from construction sites. Aside from that, they also help in the transportation of construction material to and from the construction sites.
The four main categories of haulers include;
1. Off-Road Dump Trucks
Dump trucks or articulated haulers are huge with huge wheels to aid stability. Off-road trucks help in mining operations where a large amount of aggregate has to be hauled.
2. Transfer Dump Trucks
Transfer dump trucks are often pulled by a separate trailer. This trailer is made up of a movable cargo container. It hastens the load capability of the truck without affecting its maneuverability.
3. Side Dump Trucks
Side dump trucks are the fastest trucks that help in unloading huge debris. These trucks often need a lot of space to maneuver, therefore are only preferred for use in construction sites with ample space because of their length.
4. Standard Dump Trucks
Standard dump trucks are common trucks in every construction site. These trucks can only work well in areas with compact soil to prevent sinking. They can maneuver from point to point.
Examples of dump trucks include;
- Caterpillar 740 Ejector
- Terex Trucks TA 400
Teachers are types of heavy construction vehicles that help in digging channels, especially those set for installing drainage, electric cables, internet cables, communication cables, and pipes.
They are equipped with a heavy metal chain consist of powerful steel which cuts through into the ground and rips through rocks, roots, and debris.
There are different types of trenchers based on size. They include;
- Chain trenchers
- Wheel trenchers
- Portable trenchers
- Rock wheel trenchers
- Tractor mount trenchers
Wheel and chain trenchers do resemble gigantic chain saw while portable, rock wheel, and tractor are classified under micro trenchers since they are small in size.
1. Chain Trenchers
Chain trenchers consist of a digging chain and a track trencher. They are used to cutting ground and to form deep and narrow trenches.
2. Wheel Trenchers
Wheel trenchers consist of a toothed metal wheel. They are used to cutting pavements during road maintenance. Construction companies use wheel trenchers to gain access to under road utilities.
3. Micro Trenchers
Micro trenchers are used when construction work has to be carried out in urban areas. The cutting wheel in micro trenchers cut micro trenches, rather than huge trenches that would disrupt the urban routine.
Asphalt pavers are types of construction vehicles that help in laying asphalt on roads, bridges, and parking lots during road construction.
The first asphalt paver was developed in the 1930s to construct roads efficiently. Since then, the basic concept of the machine has remained relatively unchanged.
- The asphalt is added to the hopper.
- It is then carried from the hopper to the auger through the conveyor.
- The auger puts the material stockpile in front of the screed.
- The screed takes the stockpile and spreads it over the road.
- The screed finally levels the road and provides compaction.
To construct roads with smooth surfaces, the vehicle moves at a fixed speed and provides a consistent stockpile of material in the front of the screed.
Examples of asphalt pavers include;
- Track paver AP555F
- ABG Volvo P5320
Concrete pumps are types of construction vehicles that help in pumping liquid concrete at construction sites. There are two types of concrete pumps: Boom concrete pump, and line pump (trailer-mounted) concrete pump.
A boom concrete pump uses a remote-controlled articulating robotic arm (boom) to pump and place concrete at defined locations.
These pumps are commonly used in large construction sites due to their ability to pump high volumes of concrete and because of the labor-saving features of the placing boom.
On the other hand, line pumps that are mostly mounted on trucks require hoses to be connected and lead to the spot where concrete needs to be placed. They normally pump lower volumes of concrete, hence not ideal for large construction projects.
Cold planers are types of construction vehicles that are heavy in appearance. These machines help to prepare a surface for the pouring of asphalt. When driven over old asphalt, it picks up the material, grinds it, and then loads it onto a truck.
Cold planers are important when it comes to recycling old asphalt.
Due to the bulkiness and the rigidity of the machine, it is important to set it up correctly before starting a job to minimize shifting while grinding.
Pipelayers are types of construction vehicles that help in the laying of pipes at construction sites. Pipelayers play an essential function in the laying of the world’s gigantic pipelines. They are capable of lifting and positioning these pipes and lowering them into channels.
Wheel tractor scrappers are types of construction vehicles that help in earthmoving procedures. They are heavy-duty machines that comprise a vertically moving rear hopper with a sharp edge for flattening a surface.
The front end of the machine has a sharp edge to cut the soil and a carpenter’s plane for cutting timber. The two gears work together to fill the hopper and move any material evacuated from a cleared site.
Weight And Capacity Of Types Of Construction Vehicles
1 Excavator: 21–24 metric tons
2 Bulldozer: 30–36.3 metric tons
3 Front Loader: 1 cubic meter to 40 cubic meters
4 Backhoe: 7291 lb
5 Dump Trucks: 60.6 tons
6 Dragline Excavators: 10000–13,000 tons
7 Graders: N/A
8 Trenchers: 4 fT3. 0.11 m³
9 Cranes: 15–18 metric tons
10 Crawler Dozers: 0 to 108 tons
11 Wheel Tractor Scrapers: 35–38 m³
12 Compactors: 7 to 10 tons
13 Forklifts: 54 – 90 tons
14 Tower Cranes: 16.3–19.8 metric tons
15 Pavers: 20–22 pounds per square foot
Types Of Construction Vehicles – Final Thoughts
Whatever your project entails, whether big or small, we hope that this guide has given you more direction in deciding what equipment you will need. It’s important to consider safety as well as efficiency when selecting the type of gear you may need to complete your construction tasks.
More advanced levels of automation & mechanization of construction vehicles help to complete complex construction activities within the stipulated deadlines. It also eliminates human involvement in risky activities, thereby reducing the chances of accidents and fatalities.
The application of the correct construction vehicle, besides ensuring timely completion of the project, also leads to cost efficiency and makes sure the completed project is safe and of the desired quality. And completion of projects within or before the deadline raises the brand value of the construction company, thereby fetching more clients.
Most types of construction vehicles equipped with the latest technology are highly fuel-efficient and consequently, the utmost environment friendly. They thus help the company to reduce carbon footprints. And these vehicles don’t suffer major wear & tear during their long functional lives. Thus, maintenance costs are not high.