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construction equipment[kən′strək·shən i′kwip·mənt]
A wide variety of relatively heavy machines which perform specific construction (or demolition) functions under power. The power plant is commonly an integral part of an individual machine, although in some cases it is contained in a separate prime mover, for example, a towed wagon or roller. It is customary to classify construction machines in accordance with their functions such as hoisting, excavating, hauling, grading, paving, drilling, or pile driving. There have been few changes for many years in the basic types of machines available for specific jobs, and few in the basic configurations of those that have long been available. Design emphasis for new machines is on modifications that increase speed, efficiency, and accuracy (particularly through more sophisticated controls); that improve operator comfort and safety; and that protect the public through sound attenuation and emission control. The selection of a machine for a specific job is mainly a question of economics and depends primarily on the ability of the machine to complete the job efficiently, and secondarily on its availability.
Hoisting equipment is used to raise or lower materials from one elevation to another or to move them from one point to another over an obstruction. The main types of hoisting equipment are derricks, cableways, cranes, elevators, and conveyors. See Bulk-handling machines, Hoisting machines
Excavating equipment is divided into two main classes: standard land excavators and marine dredges; each has many variations. The standard land excavator comprises machines that merely dig earth and rock and place it in separate hauling units, as well as those that pick up and transport the materials. Among the former are power shovels, draglines, backhoes, cranes with a variety of buckets, front-end loaders, excavating belt loaders, trenchers, and the continuous bucket excavator. The second group includes such machines as bulldozers, scrapers of various types, and sometimes the front-end loader.
Usually called a dredge, the marine excavator is an excavating machine mounted on a barge or boat. Two common types are similar to land excavators, the clamshell and the bucket excavator. The suction dredge is different; it comprises a movable suction pipe which can be lowered to the bottom, usually with a fast-moving cutter head at the bottom end.
Excavated materials are moved great distances by a wide variety of conveyances. The most common of these are the self-propelled rubber-tired rear-dump trucks, which are classed as over-the-road or off-the-road trucks. Wagons towed by a rubber-tired prime mover are also used for hauling dirt. These commonly have bottom dumps which permit spreading dirt as the vehicle moves. In special cases side-dump trucks are also used. Conveyors, while not commonly used on construction jobs for hauling earth and rock great distances, have been used to good advantage on large jobs where obstructions make impractical the passage of trucks.
Graders are high-bodied, wheeled vehicles that mount a leveling blade between the front and rear wheels. The principal use is for fine-grading relatively loose and level earth. Pavers place, smooth, and compact paving materials. Asphalt pavers embody tamping pads that consolidate the material; concrete pavers use vibrators for the same purpose. Drilling equipment is used to drill holes in rock for wells and for blasting, grouting, and exploring. Drills are classified according to the way in which they penetrate rock, namely, percussion, rotary percussion, and rotary. Specialized construction equipment includes augers, compactors, pile hammers, road planars, and bore tunneling machines. See Construction engineering