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Heavy Equipment Essentials Every Construction Site Needs


equipment essentials every construction site needs

Construction crews depend on heavy equipment for construction to accomplish challenging tasks quickly, efficiently, and precisely. These reliable workhorses significantly reduce manual labor requirements for construction workers.

If you’re trying to decide what heavy machinery you need for your construction site, you’ve come to the right place. Explore some essential types of construction equipment in this guide.

6 Must-Have Construction Equipment Types

With so many types of heavy equipment used in construction, the number of options available can seem overwhelming. Knowing your applications — such as loading, transporting and crushing materials — can help you determine what machine you need. Below, we’ll look at some standard types of heavy construction equipment and the tasks they can accomplish.

1. Excavator

Also called a digger or power shovel, an excavator digs out terrain to prepare a surface for a structure or road. It will typically include a digging bucket or other attachment, tracks or wheels, a long boom and a rotating cab. When fitted with the appropriate work tool, this machine can perform a wide variety of tasks, such as:

  • Material handling
  • Construction
  • Tree and brush removal
  • River dredging
  • Demolition
  • Drilling shafts for rock blasting and footings
  • Heavy item lifting
  • Hole, trench and foundation digging
  • Forestry mulching
  • Driving piles
  • General landscaping and grading
  • Mining
  • Snow removal 

As the name suggests, hydraulic excavators rely on hydraulic cylinders, fluid and motors for operation. With many excavator types, sizes and configurations available, you can easily find a solution for your construction site’s unique needs.

2. Compactor

A compactor is a crushing device that uses weight to compress material. There are different types of compactors for different construction applications:

  • Smooth-wheeled: Smooth-wheeled rollers can compress a variety of soft and hard materials, including clay, soil, gravel, crushed rocks and sand. They’re often used for paving highways. 
  • Sheepsfoot: A sheepsfoot roller can compact fine-grained soil, clay and silt to prepare a surface for foundation and road construction. This machine has a steel drum covered in rectangular steel protrusions, also known as “lugs” or “feet.” The number, weight and dimensions of the feet have a substantial impact on compaction quality. Construction crews typically use sheepsfoot rollers on pavement, embankments, railroads and dams.
  • Pneumatic: Pneumatic compactors are large, ride-on rollers with several rows of rubber tires on the front or back end. Their high mass and weight make them ideal for compacting fine silts, gravel and deep layers of soil.
  • Vibratory: Vibratory compactors use spring-operated base plates to create vibrations. They can compact soil, asphalt, concrete, gravel and other construction materials. 
  • Static: A static roller applies static compression to the ground rather than using vibrations. It typically has two or three drums that work as wheels. Its static pressure can effectively flatten a rough surface, but the absence of vibration means this machine is not ideal for compressing soil deeper underground.

If you need a solution that can crush and compress materials with ease, consider investing in a compactor for your construction site.

3. Wheel Loader

A loader is a piece of heavy construction equipment used for picking up and moving materials to an alternate location or onto a transport like a dump truck, railroad car or conveyor belt. It can accommodate a wide range of loose materials, such as:

  • Asphalt
  • Dirt
  • Snow
  • Logs
  • Demolition debris
  • Woodchips
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Rock

There are several types of loaders available, varying in design and intended application. A wheel loader is a common type used in numerous construction projects. This design includes an arm and a bucket to dig, haul and transport large volumes of materials around a work site. It’s powerful and durable, moving high-volume loads in short periods. Additionally, its wheels provide seamless mobility on roads without damaging concrete and asphalt.

Wheel loaders can complete a variety of tasks, such as removing snow, laying pipes, helping build roads, preparing foundations and clearing rubble. They can lift nearly any material, from dirt and soil to gravel and construction debris.

Wheel loaders are modular and versatile. They come in an array of sizes and configurations, but even smaller loaders can deliver ample power and performance. Additionally, you can replace the bucket with different attachments to accommodate your specific project requirements, making a wheel loader ideal for taking on a diverse array of construction, landscaping and agricultural tasks.

4. Articulated Hauler

An articulated hauler is a large, heavy-duty dump truck with a specialized design that enhances its maneuverability. It can transport loads over rough surfaces as well as on public roads. Its power unit is a permanent fixture instead of a separable component, differentiating it from a semi-trailer truck.

This off-road machine has a joint between its dump body and cab, allowing the two pieces to pivot. This process is called articulated steering. Unlike traditional dump trucks — which have pinion and rack steering on the front axle — articulated haulers steer with hydraulic cylinders that pivot the entire tractor in relation to the trailer.

The vehicle’s low center of gravity, ability to maneuver in tight spaces and all-wheel drive capability make it highly adaptable to challenging terrain.

5. Asphalt Paver

An asphalt paver is used to lay asphalt on parking lots, roads, bridges and other surfaces. It lays the asphalt flat with slight compression, uniformly distributing it over the surface to prepare it for compaction by a roller. The paver includes a feeding bucket so a dump truck or wheel loader can keep it supplied with asphalt.

6. Drill Rig

Rock drills are used in various construction applications, including digging wells, mining, preparing foundations, and excavating rocks and minerals. These machines make it easier to drill through large rocks that manual labor cannot break down. Construction teams typically use rock drills at the beginning of the mining process to drill holes where they will place explosives for detonation.

This drilling equipment can deliver superior performance in open-pit mining, quarrying and construction applications. If you’re seeking a solution for drilling on challenging terrain, a drill rig may be just what you need.

Contact Us

Choose Arnold Machinery Company as Your Construction Equipment Dealer

If you’re searching for high-quality construction equipment, trust the established team at Arnold Machinery Company. We have hundreds of new, used and rental options to choose from, making it easy to find solutions for your construction projects.

To ensure you receive the best products and service possible, we extend our Silver Service® policy to every customer. We will do every ethical thing we can to ensure total satisfaction with your heavy equipment.

Check out our selection of new and used heavy construction equipment, then contact our team about getting the machinery you need!


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