A staple of any demolition site, excavators are classified as heavy construction machinery that work off of a rotation platform, commonly referred to as the “house” of the excavator. While excavators are extremely powerful pieces of equipment, various attachments can take them to the next level, allowing for increased functionality.
Determining the appropriate attachment to meet the specific needs of a construction or demolition site can lead to increased productivity. The following guide will help find the right attachment based on the application in which they will be used for.
Bucket (or Scoop)
An excavator bucket is a deep, shovel-like attachment that is typically used in applications that require digging deep into the ground or scooping various volumes of material. Some of the most used bucket types are standard, heavy duty, severe duty, skeleton, and ditch digging. Standard duty is used for lighter, loose materials like sand whereas heavy and severe duty can handle more rigorous materials like clay and rock. Skeleton buckets are used for sieving capabilities and spading.
When used for digging, buckets with teeth are great for penetrating particularly rough surfaces. Two varieties of teeth include general utility teeth, which is ideal for most applications, and penetration teeth which achieve maximum penetration. Teeth are unnecessary when moving loose dirt or debris. Buckets vary in width to best suit the purpose of the application. The wider, deeper profile of a bucket offers smooth operation when lifting loose materials such as sand and clay. Other buckets with a narrow design are great for digging deep trenches and provide added force when working with harder materials.
Surfaces that are extra tough or stubborn such as concrete or frost-locked earth can be too difficult to break for even a severe duty bucket and can even damage components of an excavator. This is when a hydraulic hammer comes into play. Also called breakers, hammers deliver high-impact performance ideal for breaking up hard materials.
Hammers have several heavy demolition tool bits available including the moil, chisel, and blunt. The most standard tool is the moil, which comes to a point and is used for trenching a demolition. The chisel is also used for demolition in addition to concrete excavation. The blunt is used for crushing operations, pulverizing large rocks and concrete slabs.
In order to get the most out of the hammer attachment, sizing is important. Small hydraulic breakers can be used in concrete and other light duty projects. Medium hydraulic breakers can be used in concrete and rock, but the size and material to be broken should be taken into consideration. For rock and large scale concrete demolition projects, large hydraulic breakers are generally used to effectively handle more troublesome materials.
Grapples have a wide range of functions, from clamping to material handling. They can be used in a variety of applications, such as land and rock clearing, scrap handling, and loading bulky, irregular materials like demolition debris. A staple of the logging industry, some can even be used to carry large amounts of tree logs at once. The unique design of the grapple provides a high amount of tooth overlap for compressing loads, leaving behind smaller rocks and dirt.
The two main types of grapples are the contractor’s grapple and the demolition grapple. The contractor’s grapple has a stationary jaw with an upper jaw that moves off the bucket cylinder. This grapple requires less maintenance and is a great tool for sorting and reprocessing work. The demolition grapple is capable of removing large volumes of material and is known for its strength and durability.
An auger is used to efficiently dig holes with speed and accuracy. This attachment features a spiral design that removes soil from the hole as it penetrates the earth. Used mostly for residential projects, augers can be used to drill holes for pillars and wells or used in landscaping for planting full grown trees and shrubbery, depending on the diameter of the auger.
The direct drive auger offers optimum balance and a higher range of speed. This type of auger is optimal when used with softer to moderate types of soil such as sand and light dirt. Alternatively, the gear-driven planetary auger can be used in applications that require more torque.
The range of excavator attachments helps to improve productivity and efficiency at any construction or demolition site. By understanding the full scope of the project, including the density of the materials that will be interacted with, the appropriate attachment can be selected for the excavator, making the job easier to handle.