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Hydraulic Machinery

Hydraulic machinery are machines and tools that use fluid power to do the work. Almost all types of heavy equipment is a common example. With this type of equipment, hydraulic fluid is pumped to a high pressure then transmitted through the machine to various actuators. The hydraulic pumps are powered by engines or electric motors. The pressurized fluid is controlled by the operator with control valves and then distributed through hoses and tubes. The increasing popularity of hydraulic machinery is due to the large amount of power that is transferred through small tubes and flexible hoses. The high power density and wide array of actuators can make use of this power.

Hydraulic power
The theory that lies behind hydraulic equipment is fluid pressure.
1. A force that acts on a small area can create a bigger force by acting on a larger area by hydrostatic pressure.
2. A large amount of energy can be carried by a small flow of highly pressurized fluid.

A hydraulic pump will supply the fluid to the components in the system. Pressure in the system will develop in reaction to the load. Pumps have a power density of around ten times greater than an electric motor. The pumps are powered by an electric motor or engine, which is connected through gears, belts, or a flexible elastomeric coupling to reduce the heavy vibration.

The common types of hydraulic pumps for hydraulic machinery applications include:
1. Gear pump - the gear pump is cheap, durable, and simple. It is less efficient, simply because it is constant displacement and suitable for pressures that are below 3,000 psi.
2. Vane pump - vane pumps are cheap, simple, and reliable. They are good pumps for higher flow low pressure output.

Hoses and tubes
A hydraulic hose is graded by pressure, temperature, and compatibility of fluid. A rubber interior is surrounded by multiple layers of woven wire and rubber. The exterior of the hose is designed for resistance against abrasion. The bending radius of the hydraulic hose is designed very carefully into the machine, since a hose failure can be deadly, and violating the minimum bend radius of the hose can also cause failure.

A hydraulic pipe is thick enough to have threads cut into it for connections. It's rarely used for high pressure systems though, which prefer to have tubes or hoses. The pipe itself lends to weldings and can also be used to fabricate the manifold. Hydraulic pipes on the other hand are preferred over hoses whenever possible, as they are simply more durable. Tubes are also preferred over pipes, as they weigh a lot less. Hydraulic tubes will normally have flared ends and captive nuts to make connections. They can also be steel welded with floating nuts and face seal fittings on the ends.

Both tubes and pipes for hydraulic applications traditionally haven't been plated or painted, since the temperature and oil they operate under drive away moisture and reduce the risk of rust.

The fittings with hydraulic machinery serve several purposes:
1. To bride different standards, such as the O-ring boss to JIC or pipe threads to the face seal.
2. Allows proper orientation of components, as a 45 or 90 degree, straight, or even swivel fitting will be chosen as it is needed. They are designed to be positioned in the correct orientation and then tightened as needed.
3. To incorporate bulkhead hardware.
4. A quick disconnect fitting may be added to a machine without having to modify hoses or valves.

Caterpillar Equipment

Caterpillar Incorporated, also known as CAT is a United States based corporation that is based in Peoria, Illinois. The company commonly known as CAT is known around the world as the largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. Well known and famous for their products that feature the Caterpillar track and distinctive yellow paint, CAT produces a wide range of heavy equipment for all types of jobs, including the very popular Caterpillar D9 bulldozer.

The story of CAT dates back to the late 19th century, when Daniel Best and Benjamin Holt were experimenting with different ways to fulfill the promise that steam tractors held for farm work. Prior to 1925, the Holt family had pioneered track tractors and gasoline powered engines. After the companies of Best and Holt were merged, the company went through several changes then at the end of World War 2, they began to grow at a very fast pace, launching the first venture outside of the country in 1950, which marked the beginning of CAT development into a big corporation. CAT equipment ranges from track type tractors to hydraulic excavators, backhoes, motor graders, off road trucks, wheel loaders, tractors, diesel and gas engines, and gas turbines. CAT equipment is used in construction, excavation, building roads, mining, energy, forestry, transportation, and material handling companies.

Over half of CAT's sales are to customers in overseas areas. CAT products are sold in almost 200 different countries. The company has a worldwide network of over 200 dealers - 63 in the United States and over 150 in other countries. CAT equipment and components are manufactured in 42 plants in the United States and 58 plants in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, and several other countries.

CAT almost went down in the early 1980s due to the massive union strikes and a down turn in product demand. At the time, several news reports indicated that products were piling up so high in facilities that temporary workers hired to work the lines could barely get to their stations to perform their jobs. In the 1990s, CAT suffered yet another long strike in which the company hired what it deemed to be permanent replacements for union workers that were on strike. During both strikes, jack rocks were placed in the home entrances of many of CATs top executives and employees, puncturing the tires of their vehicles and making things worse for the company. Not long after the strike of the 1990s ended and the economy started to get back up again, CAT adopted the "6 Sigma" quality management program, to help reduce costs and inventory and identify and correct the defects in processes and products.

Backhoe Loader

Also referred to as a loader backhoe, the backhoe loader is an engineering and excavation vehicle that consists of a tractor, front shovel and bucket and a small backhoe in the rear end. Due to the small size and versatility, backhoe loaders are common with small construction projects and excavation type work. Originally invented in Burlington Iowa back in 1857, the backhoe loader is the most common variation of the classic farm tractor. As the name implies, it has a loader assembly on the front and a backhoe attachment on the back. Anytime the loader and backhoe are attached it is never referred to as a tractor, as it is not normally used for towing and doesn't normally have a PTO. When the backhoe is permanently attached, the machine will normally have a seat that can swivel to the rear to face the backhoe controls. Any type of removable backhoe attachments will normally have a seperate seat on the attachment itself. Backhoe loaders are common and can be used for many tasks, which include construction, light transportation of materials, powering building equipment, digging holes and excavating, breaking asphalt, and even paving roads. You can often replace the backhoe bucket with other tools such as a breaker for breaking and smashing concrete and rock. There are some loader buckets that offer a retractable bottom, which enable it to empty the load more quickly and efficiently. The retractable bottom loader buckets are often times used for grading and scratching off sand. The front assembly on a backhoe may be either removable or permanently attached. Often times, the bucket can be replaced with other tools or devices. In order to mount different attachments to the loader, it must be equipped with a tool coupler. The coupler consists of two hydraulic cylinders on the end of the arm assembly, which can expand and retract to allow different tools to be attached to the unit.

There are several types of backhoe loader brands, including New Holland, John Deere, and Case. Some will offer you cabs, while others won't. The newer types of backhoe loaders even offer you air conditioning, radios, and other accessories that make you feel like you are working with luxury. Common with excavating jobs, the backhoe can serve many purposes. It can haul equipment and supplies in the loader bucket. Another great use is to cover up dirt when filling in trench lines or covering up pipe that was just put in the ground. The backhoe attachment at the rear is ideal for digging water pipes and sewer pipes. The best thing about the backhoe loader is the fact that they are easy to operate. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to fully operate this nifty piece of equipment.


The bulldozer is a very powerful crawler that is equipped with a blade. The term bulldozer is often used to mean any type of heavy machinery, although the term actually refers to a tractor that is fitted with a dozer blade. Often times, bulldozers are large and extremely powerful tracked vehicles. The tracks give them amazing ground mobility and hold through very rough terrain. Wide tracks on the other hand, help to distribute the weight of the dozer over large areas, therefore preventing it from sinking into sandy or muddy ground. Bulldozers have great ground hold and a torque divider that's designed to convert the power of the engine into dragging ability, which allows it to use its own weight to push heavy objects and even remove things from the ground. Take the Caterpillar D9 for example, it can easily tow tanks that weight more than 70 tons. Due to these attributes, bulldozers are used to clear obstacles, shrubbery, and remains of structures and buildings.

The blade
The blade on a bulldozer is the heavy piece of metal plate that is installed on the front. The blade pushes things around. Normally, the blade comes in 3 varieties:
1. A straight blade that is short and has no lateral curve, no side wings, and can be used only for fine grading.
2. A universal blade, or U blade, which is tall and very curved, and features large side wings to carry more material around.
3. A combination blade that is shorter, offers less curvature, and smaller side wings.

Over time, bulldozers have been modified to evolve into new machines that are capable of things the original bulldozers weren't. A good example is that loader tractors were created by removing the blade and substituting a large volume bucket and hydraulic arms which will raise and lower the bucket, therefore making it useful for scooping up the earth and loading it into trucks. Other modifications to the original bulldozer include making it smaller to where it can operate in small working areas where movement is very limited, such as mining caves and tunnels. Very small bulldozers are known as calfdozers.

The first types of bulldozers were adapted from farm tractors that were used to plough fields. In order to dig canals, raise earth dams, and partake in earthmoving jobs, the tractors were equipped with a thick metal plate in the front. Later on, this thick metal plate earned the name blade. The blade of the bulldozer peels layers of soil and pushes it forward as the tractor advances. The blade is the heart and soul of the bulldozer, as it was the first accessory to make full use for excavation type jobs. As the years went by, when engineers needed equipment to complete larger jobs, companies such as CAT, Komatsu, John Deere, Case, and JCB started to manufacture large tracked earthmoving equipment. They were very loud, very large, and very powerful and therefore earned the nickname "bulldozer". Over the years, the bulldozers got bigger, more powerful, and even more sophisticated. The important improvements include better engines, more reliable drive trains, better tracks, and even hydraulic arms that will enable more precise manipulation of the blade and automated controls. As an added option, bulldozers can come equipped with a rear ripping claw to break up pavement or loosen rocky soil. The best known manufacturer of bulldozer is CAT, which has earned a vast reputation for making tough and durable, yet reliable machines. Even though the bulldozer started off a modified farm tractor, it rapidly became one of the most useful pieces of equipment with excavating and construction.


Excavation is most commonly and best known for a technique within the science of archaeology. The individual types of excavation are known simply as digs to those who participate, with this being an over literal description of the process. An excavation concerns itself with a specific archaeological site or connected series of sites, and may be carried on over a number of years, since the work is normally seasonal. Within the industry of excavation, many more techniques may be utilized, with each dig having its own particular features that may necessitate differences of approach. Resources and other practical issues don't allow archaeologists to carry out excavations whenever and wherever they choose, as many known sites have been deliberately left alone and non excavated. Initially, excavation involves the removal of any topsoil that is uncovered by machine. What is dug up may be examined by a metal detector for stray finds but unless the excavation site has remained untouched for a long period of time, there is a small layer of modern material on the surface that is of limited archaeological interest. In rural areas, any type of archaeological features should be visible beneath the surface. With urban areas, they may be thick layers of human deposits and only the uppermost will be visible to the naked eye. With either case, the first task is drawing a scaled site plan that will show the edges of the excavation. This plan can be composed using tape measures, or as it is more common these days, an electronic total station. A grid is normally set up, to divide the site. Excavation is also useful for digging out houses and trenches. When clearing dirt out for roads or sub divisions, excavation is what takes care of things. Even though there are a few means, the term excavation is used anytime that the earth or dirt is disturbed.

Heavy machinery is also very common with excavation, such as excavators or backhoes. Excavating crews run the equipment and dig up soil and rocks for whatever the purpose may be. Excavators are the most used machinery, as they can move a lot of dirt in a little bit of time. Anytime you are taking part in excavation, you should always use common sense and be safe. If you plan to get down into a hole or trench, you should always use a trench box. Even though the hole may not be that deep, excavation sites can always cave in and at that point - things are very dangerous and possibly even deadly. For digging up rare artifacts or putting in houses or roads, excavation is something that has been around for years and years. There is a lot to learn with excavation, as you'll need to know how to run machinery, shoot grade, and how to properly dig holes and trenches so they won't cave in.

Dump Truck

Dump trucks or production trucks are those that are used for transporting loose material such as sand, dirt, and gravel for construction. The typical dump truck is equipped with a hydraulically operated open box bed hinged at the rear, with the front being able to be lifted up to allow the contents to fall out on the ground at the site of delivery. Dump trucks come in many different configurations with each one specified to accomplish a specific task in the construction chain.

Standard dump truck
The standard dump truck is a full truck chassis with the dump body mounted onto the frame. The dump body is raised by a hydraulic ram lift that is mounted forward of the front bulkhead, normally between the truck cab and the dump body. The standard dump truck also has one front axle, and one or more rear axles which normally has dual wheels on each side. The common configurations for standard dump trucks include the six wheeler and ten wheeler.

Transfer dump truck
For the amount of noise made when transferring, the transfer dump truck is easy to recognize. It's a standard dump truck that pulls a separate trailer which can be loaded with sand, asphalt, gravel, dirt, etc. The B box or aggregate container on the trailer is powered by an electric motor and rides on wheels and rolls off of the trailer and into the main dump box. The biggest advantage with this configuration is to maximize payload capacity without having to sacrifice the maneuverability of the short and nimble dump truck standards.

Semi trailer end dump truck
The semi end dump truck is a tractor trailer combination where the trailer itself contains the hydraulic hoist. The average semi end dump truck has a 3 axle tractor that pulls a 2 axle semi trailer. The advantage to having a semi end dump truck is rapid unloading.

Semi trailer bottom dump truck
A bottom dump truck is a 3 axle tractor that pulls a 2 axle trailer with a clam shell type dump gate in the belly of the trailer. The biggest advantage of a semi bottom dump truck is the ability to lay material in a wind row. This type of truck is also maneuverable in reverse as well, unlike the double and triple trailer configurations.

Double and triple trailer
The double and triple bottom dump trucks consist of a 2 axle tractor pulling a semi axle semi trailer and an additional trailer. These types of dump trucks allow the driver to lay material in wind rows without having to leave the cab or stop the truck. The biggest disadvantage is the difficulty in going in reverse.

Side dump trucks
Side dump trucks consist of a 3 axle trailer pulling a 2 axle semi trailer. It offers hydraulic rams that tilt the dump body onto the side, which spills the material to the left or right side of the trailer. The biggest advantages with these types of dump trucks are that they allow rapid unloading and carry more weight than other dump trucks. In addition to this, side dump trucks are almost impossible to tip over while dumping, unlike the semi end dump trucks which are very prone to being upset or tipped over. The length of these trucks impede maneuverability and limit versatility.

Off road dump trucks
Off road trucks resemble heavy construction equipment more than they do highway dump trucks. They are used strictly for off road mining and heavy dirt hauling jobs, such as excavation work. They are very big in size, and perfect for those time when you need to dig out roads and need something to haul the massive amounts of dirt to another location.


Sometimes called a forklift truck, the forklift is a powerful industrial truck that is used to lift and transport material by steel forks that are inserted under the load. Forklifts are commonly used to move loads and equipment that is stored on pallets. The forklift was developed in 1920, and has since become a valuable piece of equipment in many manufacturing and warehousing operations.

The most common type of design with forklifts is the counter balance. Other types of designs include the reach truck and side loader, both of which are used in environments where the space is at a minimum.

Control and capability
Forklifts are available in many types and different load capacities. In the average warehouse setting, most forklifts have load capacities of around five tons. Along with the control to raise and lower the forks, you can also tilt the mast to compensate for the tendency of the load to angle the blades towards the ground and risk slipping it off the forks. The tilt will also provide a limited ability to operate on ground that isn't level. There are some variations that allow you to move the forks and backrest laterally, which allows easier placement of a load. In addition to this, there are some machines that offer hydraulic control to move the forks together or further apart, which removes the need for you to get out of the cab to manually adjust for a different size load. Another forklift variation that is sometimes used in manufacturing facilities, will utilize forklifts with a clamp attachment that you can open and close around a load, instead of having to use forks. Products such as boxes, cartons, etc., can be moved with the clamp attachment.

Forklifts are rated for loads at a specified maximum weight and a specified forward type center of gravity. All of this information is located on a nameplate that is provided by the manufacturer and the loads cannot exceed these specifications. One of the most important aspects of operating a forklift is the rear wheel steering. Even though this helps to increase maneuverability in tight cornering situations, it differs from the traditional experience of a driver with other wheeled vehicles as there is no caster action. Another critical aspect of the forklift is the instability. Both the forklift and the load must be considered a unit, with a varying center of gravity with every movement of the load. You must never negotiate a turn with a forklift at full speed with a raised load, as this can easily tip the forklift over. Normally, to drive a forklift, you'll need to pass a basic test. They aren't difficult to operate, although you'll need to be safe when you operate them. Once you have operated one for a while, you'll have no problems being safe.


The harvester is a type of heavy machinery that is employed in cut to length logging operations for felling, buckling, and cutting up trees. Normally, a harvester is employed alongside a forward that will haul the logs and trees to a roadside landing. Harvesters were developed in Sweden and Finland, and today they do nearly all of the commercial felling in these countries. They work best for less difficult terrain for the clear cutting area of forest. For steep hills or removing individual trees, chain saws are normally preferred. In the nordic countries, small and agile harvesters are used for thinning operations and manual cutting is only used during extreme conditions or by self employed owners of the forest or wooded area. The leading manufacturers of harvesters include Timberjack (which is owned by John Deere) and Valmet, which is owned by Komatsu. Normally, harvesters are built on a robust all terrain vehicle, which can either be wheeled or tracked. Sometimes, the vehicle can be articulated to provide tight turning around obstacles. A diesel engine will provide power for both the vehicle and the harvesting mechanism through a hydraulic drive. An articulated, extensible boom that is similiar to that of an excavator, will reach out from the vehicle to carry the head of the harvester. There are even some commercial harvesters that are adaptations of excavators with a new harvester head, while the others are purpose built vehicles.

The normal harvester head may consist of:
1. A chain saw to cut the tree at the base and also to cut it to length. The saw is
hydraulically powered rather than using a 2 stroke engine of a portable version. It offers a more robust chain and a higher output power than any saw carried by man.
2. Two curved de-limbing knives that can reach around the trunk to remove branches.
3. Two feed rollers to reach out and grasp the tree. The wheels will pivot apart to allow the tree to be embraced by the head of the harvester, and pivot together to hug the tree tight.
4. Two more curved knives for de-limbing.

All of this is controlled by an operator who sits in the cab of the vehicle. A control computer is used to simplify mechanical movements and keep the length and diameter of trees that have been cut. The length is computed by counting the rotations of the gripping wheels. The diameter is computed from the pivot angle of the gripping wheels that hug the tree. Harvesters are normally available for cutting trees up to 900 mm in diameter, built on vehicles that weight up to 20 t, with a boom that reaches up to a 10m radius. The larger, more heavier vehicles do more damage to the forest, although a longer reach will help by allowing more trees to be harvested with less movements required by the vehicle.

Operating A Backhoe Safely

A skid steer loader with backhoe attachment or a backhoe loader in general can be very productive if it is operated safely and efficiently. The best way to get the job done safely and efficiently is to know yourself, the job site, and your equipment. Even though the models of backhoes will vary, there are safety features with all of them that include steps and grab handles for getting on and off of the machine. Backhoes also feature frame lock levers and attaching levers to keep the backhoe securely fastened to the loader frame during operation as well as transporting. In addition to these standard safety features, there are some backhoes that provide a safety chain. The safety chain will prevent the backhoe mounting frame from rotating backwards and unexpectedly trapping the operator, which can result in serious injury or death. Therefore, it is always important to know and check all of the mounting and attachment points and the safety chain before you operate the backhoe. If you've attached the backhoe to the loader, you should take a moment to inspect it and perform any necessary maintenance. Check for broken or damaged parts, also making sure to check for leaks, cracks, excessive wear, and check the control levers. The warning and safety signs and instructional decals are very important and will help you to avoid injury. You should always take them seriously and replace any damaged or missing decals. Every 8 hours or so, you should grease all of the zerk fittings, and check the hydraulic fluid and oil and a daily basis. If the fluid is low, the backhoe will not operate. Therefore, you should always take the time to check your machine. Anytime you have to leave the operator seat of the backhoe, you should lower the bucket or attachment to the ground, turn the engine off, remove the ignition key, then exit the machine. When the time comes to drive to the next job site, you should always make sure that you have fully raised both the front and rear stabilizers and make sure you've put the backhoe seat into the "down" position for better visibility. Before you drive off, make sure that you've installed the transport locking pin.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Always select the right size bucket for the job.
- Stake out the work area that is going to be excavated and use flags to mark the area.
- Never work in areas that have inadequate overhead clearances.

Always make sure that you keep bystanders or other workers out of the swing area. If anyone gets in the way of the boom swinging, they can very easily get injured. The machine has no feelings, therefore you should always be aware of who is around you and where they are standing.

Skid Loader

The skid loader is a rigid frame, engine powered machine with lift arms that are used to attach a wide variety of labor saving tools or attachments. Skid loaders are normally four wheel drive with left side drive wheels that are independent of right side drive wheels. With each side being independent to the other, the wheel speed and direction of rotation of the wheels will determine which direction the loader turns. Skid loaders are capable of turning in their own tracks, which makes them very maneuverable and valuable for jobs that require the use of compact, agile loader. Unlike conventional front loaders, the lift arms lay beside the driver with the major pivot points located behind the shoulders of the operator. Due to the operator being in close proximity to moving booms and buckets, earlier models of skid loaders weren't as safe as conventional front loaders, particularly during entering and exiting. Skid loaders today have fully enclosed cabs and other safety features that will protect the operator from injury. Just like other front loaders, the skid steer can scrape material from one location to another, carry material in a bucket, or load material on a truck or a trailer.

A skid loader can sometimes take the place of a large excavator by digging a hole out from the inside. The skid loader will first dig a ramp that leads to the edge of the hole. Then, the loader will use the ramp to carry material out of the hole. The skid loader will then reshape the ramp by making it steeper and longer as the excavation gets deeper. This method is very useful for digging under an overhead structure where the overhead clearance doesn't allow for the boom of a large excavator, such as those situations where you are digging a basement under a house. The bucket of most types of skid loaders can be replaced with several specialized buckets or attachments, many of which are powered by the hydraulic system of the loader.

The first 3 wheeled front end loader was invented by two brothers, Cyril and Louis Keller in their machinist shop in Minnesota back in 1957. The Kellers built the loader to help a nearby farmer clean turkey manure from his two story barn. The light and compact loader, with the rear caster wheel, was able to turn around within the length of itself, while performing the very same tasks as conventional front end loaders. Down the road, the Melroe manufacturing company in Gwinner ND, purchased the rights to the Keller loader in 1958 and hired the brothers to continue their loader invention. Resulting from the partnership, the M-200 self propelled loader was introduced at the end of 1958. The loader featured two independent front drive wheels and a rear caster wheel, a 12.9 engine and a 750 lb lift capacity. Two years later, they ended up replacing the caster wheel with a rear axle and introduced the M-400 loader, which was the first four wheel skid steer loader in the world. In 1962, the Bobcat name was added to describe the key features of the machine - touch, agile, and quick. The M-440 was powered by a 15.5 HP engine and offered a 1100 lb rated operating capacity. In the mid 1960s, the skid steer loader progressed with the introduction of the M600 loader. Years later, the Bobcat skid steer loader experienced quite a few changes, including the development of a hydrostatic drive system, enforced cab structures, radius and vertical lift arm configurations, deluxe instrumentation, and even heating and air conditioning. In addition to the rubber tire skid loaders of today, there are now all-wheel steer loaders and even compact track loaders. Compact track loads offer less ground disturbance and feature better traction and control in soft, muddy, wet, and even sandy ground conditions.

Trench Digging

Digging trenches is one of the oldest types of work with both construction and excavating. Prior to World War 2, trenches were dug by hand. As workers dug the trenches deeper, the sides needed to be shored or supported, to keep the walls of the trench from caving in. Following the World War, several innovations were made in backhoes, and trench digging seemed to fade away as a profession. By 1950, hydraulically actuated backhoes were developed, which make it possible to rapidly dig very deep trenches. Resulting from the innovations with backhoes, and because there were no workers inside digging the trenches, the walls no longer needed to be shored. All types of trenches have what's known as a stand up time. This time is the amount of time that elapses from the time the ditch is dug until the time the trench walls start to collapse. The stand up time is dependant on many factors, which include the type of soil, water content, trench depth, weather conditions, and whether or not the soil has been disturbed. The stand up time can be as short as zero seconds or as long as several months, as they are very difficult to predict. Before the trench can be dug, someone must take soil samples as way of estimating the stand up time. Keep in mind that the soil conditions can be dramatically different only a few feet from where the sample of the soil was taken. After the trench has been dug, workers will go down into the trench, and perform whatever work is needed, such as laying pipe or installing telephone lines, welding pipe, or installing valves. If the trench walls aren't supported, there is the possibility of the walls collapsing and trapping the workers in the trench. Throughout history, there have been 100 - 300 people killed in the U.S. each year due to trenches collapsing. The public has become very aware that industrial progress will often have negative side effects as well. The place of engineers protecting the public from these types of side effects is a very controversial issue. The use of trench boxes on the site, will help to ease this debate. The trench box, also called a trench shield, may be placed in the trench to prevent failures from injuring workers. The trench box consists of two large plates, normally made from steel, which are parallel to the walls of the trench, and horizontal cross members which will hold the two plates apart. The lower edge of the trench box rests at the bottom of the trench, with the top edge of the box extending above the top of the trench. The workers will stay between the plates of the trench box, so that if the trench does collapse, the dirt will be stopped by the outside of the trench box. As the work progresses, the trench box is pulled along in the trench with a backhoe or other machine. When a project calls for a large excavation such as digging the foundation for a tall building, the supporting structure for the excavated walls will be specified in the plans. The big problem with not using trench boxes occurs in cities, when water or sewer lines are being installed or repaired. The engineer doesn't specify for the trench box in the plans, but instead leaves it up to the contractor. Anytime you are going to be digging trenches or working in them, you should always use common sense and take your time. Trenches can be very deadly, especially if trench boxes aren't used. To be on the safe side, you should always use a trench box if you need to be in the trench. If you don't need to be in the trench - do the smart thing and let the machines do all of the work.

Trenching And Plowing Equipment

When trenchers were first introduced to the residential and commercial contractors, they rapidly became the backbone of the crew. The time and labor trenchers saved when they replaced the pick and shovel was simply incredible. The contractor was able to double the number of jobs his crew could complete in the same amount of time - or less. The standard types of trenchers, whether dedicated units or attachments, they are versatile machines for contractors to have with them on the job. They can be used for many different purposes, from digging valve box holes to trenches for drain pipes. In areas that contain rocky soil, large roots, or other problems where the other machinery can't access the soil, the trencher will minimize downtime that was once spent digging by hand. The many types of vibratory plows will offer even more labor saving options. These plows eliminate the hand labor of having to lay the pipe and backfilling on numerous jobs. Even though vibratory plows have taken their market share and are great for pulling pipe, trenchers are still very important for many different types of applications. The impressive company Bobcat offers three different trenching attachments that are designed for use on the smaller skid steer loaders. The attachment models LT102, LT203, and LT304 all have digging depths from 2 - 4 feet.

Mini trenchers
The mini trenchers have been re-designed and finely tuned from the same concept that made standard trenchers so popular. As the name suggests, they are lightweight, with the largest models weighing less than 400 pounds. They are also compact, allowing you to put them in the back of an average pickup truck. They will also dig a trench around 4 inches wide, and up to 13 inches deep, neatly laying the soil on side of the trench. Without any trouble at all, you can cover pipe with the backfill, leaving a barely visible seam in the soil. With time being money, these types of mini trenchers are the answer when working in tight or small areas, or on jobs that have a lot of trees or shrubbery. Mini trenchers have a turning radius of less than two feet and they will easily fit through most garden gates. Jobs that would normally need a lot of manual labor will now save you a lot of time and man power. If you do construction or excavation work, even gardening, you'll find trenching and plowing equipment to be essential to your work. If you've never used these types of equipment before, you'll be amazed at just how much time you can save. If you are just starting up your business, you'll find this type of equipment to be just what you need. You won't need a lot of labor with a trencher, as you can do most of it yourself. For saving time, money, and effort, trenching and plowing equipment is the way to go.

Renting Versus Owning Equipment

There are always going to be times when, no matter how carefully an excavation company plans out a project, there simply isn't enough equipment on hand to handle the requirements of the project without running out of time. The choices at this point are clear rent the machines you need or go ahead and make the purchase. It is however, not easy to make these types of decisions, thanks to several factors that you'll need to consider.

Rental pricing
Its no secret that rental companies make a killing with the equipment they rent out. Most companies will rent on a daily or weekly basis, which is good for them but can be bad for you. Depending on what area you work in, the price can be very high or just right. Depending on what type of equipment you need, the price to rent will vary. Excavators and off road dump trucks are among the highest to rent, as they can cost as much as 12,000 dollars per month! This may seem a bit outrageous at first, although if you own a profitable company and are working on a big project, you'll have problems meeting the price.

When you need more equipment and don't want to rent, you can buy your equipment. Buying is the way to go if you plan on using the equipment more. If you work on large projects on a frequent basis, you may want to look into buying the equipment you need instead of renting. Buying will save you money in the long run, providing you are going to be using the equipment again. If you need the equipment for one or two projects, you may just want to rent. Sure you won't own the equipment, although you certainly don't want to buy something you won't be using.

One of the great things about renting is the fact that company you rent from is responsible for fixing anything that breaks. Your company won't be responsible for repairs, as you don't own the equipment. If something breaks or goes wrong, simply call the company and they will come out there and fix the problem, as the price for repair is included in the rental contract. If you choose to go ahead and buy the equipment, then your company will be responsible for the repair of the equipment. As you probably know with owning other equipment, you'll need to do regular maintenance and service on the equipment.

Making that final choice on renting or buying is ultimately up to you. You should always think about finances, and if you can afford the machinery. If you don't have the finances or capital to buy what you need, you should go with renting. Either way you go, you'll get the machines you need to complete your job and stay ahead of schedule.