Transporting a construction excavator

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The transportation of construction excavators is an integral part of the construction and engineering sector. Due to their impressive size and weight, excavators require a specialised approach and the right transport equipment. In this article, we take a look at how to transport and secure excavators in a professional manner, looking at the different stages of the process and the tools used.

How to secure a construction excavator before transport?

To properly secure a construction excavator prior to transport, follow the steps below:

Preparing the excavator: Before securing the excavator, make sure it is in a condition free of faults and dirt. Switch off the machine, then check the oil, coolant and fuel levels. Secure all openings, covers and hydraulic connectors to avoid leaks during transport.

Removing accessories: Remove all accessories, such as buckets or hammers, that may impede transport. Secure them separately on the transport platform or in the accompanying vehicle.

Tyres and tracks: For wheeled excavators, check the tyre pressure and, if necessary, inflate them to the recommended values. For tracked excavators, check the tension of the tracks and correct them if necessary.

Mounting on the transport platform: Position the excavator on the platform so that the weight is evenly distributed. Ensure that the undercarriage of the machine is stable and does not exceed the maximum load on the platform.

Securing the load: Use suitable lashing straps, chains or ropes to secure the excavator to the transport platform. Attach lashing points to the machine frame and to the platform lashing points. Use wheel or track locks to prevent the excavator from moving during transport.

Securing the boom and arm: Lower the boom onto the transport platform and secure it with lashing straps or chains. Make sure the arm is locked and the hydraulic system is relieved.

Marking the oversize load: If the excavator exceeds standard dimensions, mark it with appropriate signs and reflectors, in accordance with current legislation. Also remember to secure the driver of the accompanying vehicle, if required.

Documentation: Before moving, make sure you have all the required documents such as the excavator's registration certificate, the permit for transporting the bulky load and any insurance.

Inspection before setting off: Carry out an inspection of the excavator and the transport platform before you start transporting to ensure that everything is properly secured and fastened. Also check the condition of the transport vehicle, including fluid levels, tyre pressure and lighting.

Route planning: Plan your transport route, taking into account any road restrictions, such as the height of overpasses, road widths or bridge tonnage restrictions. Try to avoid rush hours and choose roads of suitable quality to minimise the risk of damage to the machine.

Destination preparation: Before arriving at your destination, make sure that the area is properly prepared for unloading the excavator. It is advisable that the surface is level, paved and of adequate bearing capacity. Also plan the site for unloading accessories and components removed from the excavator.

Unloading the excavator: Proceed with caution when unloading the excavator, especially if the terrain is uneven or slippery. Remove the load restraints, lower the boom and arm and then carefully drive off the transport platform. Make sure the excavator is fully operational and ready to work on site.

Carefully considered securing and transporting a construction excavator is key to ensuring safety and saving money on any repairs or lost time due to possible damage to the machine. So it's worth investing time and resources in making the right transport arrangements and taking advantage of the expertise of experts in the field.

What are the methods for transporting construction excavators?

Various methods and vehicles are used in the road transport of construction excavators to suit the specifics of the job and the type of excavator. Here are the main methods of transporting excavators by road:

Lowbed trailers: Lowbed trailers are the most commonly used vehicles for transporting construction excavators. They are characterised by a lowered chassis design, which allows them to carry bulkier and heavier loads. These trailers can be single, double or multi-axle, depending on the needs and type of excavator. Low-loader trailers can also be adjusted to suit specific transport requirements.

Modular platforms: Modular platforms are transport systems consisting of individual modules that can be connected together to achieve different configurations. This allows excavators of different sizes and weights to be transported, as well as adapting to particularly difficult transport conditions such as tonnage or dimensional restrictions.

Self-propelled platforms: Self-propelled platforms are specialised transport vehicles that combine the features of a low-loader platform with self-propulsion. They are particularly useful for transporting excavators with large dimensions and weights that exceed the permissible standards for normal road vehicles. Self-propelled platforms have built-in drive and control systems that enable precise manoeuvring during loading, transport and unloading.

Combined transport: For hard-to-reach or remote destinations, excavators can be transported using combined transport. This involves using different means of transport by road, rail or water to transport the machine to its destination. In this case, the excavator is usually loaded on a transport platform, which is then transported on a rolling stock or barge.

Regardless of the type of transport method chosen, it is important to comply with all applicable regulations, secure the load and comply with road conditions and restrictions along the route.

What are the types of construction excavators?

Construction excavators are machines used in construction, mining and other industries to move earth, dig trenches, remove debris or carry out demolition work. There are several types of excavators that vary in design, size and application. Here are some of them:

Caterpillar (crawler) excavator: This is a type of excavator that moves on tracks, which allows it to move over difficult terrain and operate under heavy loads. Applications for crawler excavators include, but are not limited to, earthmoving, excavation, demolition, earth and water work and rough terrain.

Wheeled excavator: This is a type of excavator that moves on wheels. This makes it more mobile and faster than a tracked excavator. Wheeled excavators are used for roadworks, excavation and earthworks. They are easier to transport, which makes them more commonly used on various construction sites.

Excavator-loader: This is a dual-purpose machine that has both an excavator bucket and a loading bucket. Excavator-loaders are used for earthworks, roadworks and agricultural work.

Excavator-mini-excavator: These are small excavators that are used for short reach work and in hard-to-reach areas. Mini-excavators are used for gardening, clearing or pipe installation work.

Long-arm excavator: a long-arm excavator, also known as a boom excavator, is equipped with an extended arm that allows for greater digging depth and reach. It is used for earthworks, demolition and earth and water works.

Amphibious excavator: This is a specialised machine designed to work in water or swampy areas. Amphibious excavators have a floating chassis that allows them to work in difficult terrain.

Rope-and-drum excavator: This is an excavator in which the bucket is lifted by a rope and drum. It is mainly used in open-cast mining, but is also used in construction and other industrial sectors.


What are the average dimensions and weight of construction excavators?

The dimensions and weight of construction excavators depend on their type and model. Construction excavators are available in a variety of sizes and weights to meet the diverse needs of the construction industry.

Tracked excavators are typically larger and heavier than wheeled excavators. A typical tracked excavator can be around 10 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and around 4 metres high. Its weight can be around 30 tonnes.

Wheeled excavators are smaller and more manoeuvrable than crawler excavators. They are usually about 8 metres long, 3 metres wide and about 4 metres high. The weight of a wheeled excavator is usually between 12 and 20 tonnes.

Mini-excavators are the smallest of the construction excavators and usually weigh between 1 and 8 tonnes. They are about 3 metres long, about 1.5 metres wide and about 2 metres high.

Backhoe loaders are usually about 7 metres long, 2.5 metres wide and about 3 metres high. Their weight is usually between 7 and 10 tonnes.

Amphibious excavators, used to work in water or marshy areas, are usually about 8 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and about 4 metres high. Their weight can range from 12 to 18 tonnes.