Types of Heavy Equipment Used in Construction

Heavy equipment refers to vehicles specifically designed to carry out construction tasks involving earthwork operations, and can also be known as construction plant, earth movers or engineering vehicles.

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Cranes are utilized in numerous industries, but are particularly prevalent within construction firms. Cranes can lift loads that would otherwise be unmovable by humans alone and often come equipped with remote-control features for added efficiency.

Cranes have evolved greatly over time, yet remain extremely versatile pieces of equipment. You may find cranes at shipping and container yards, railyards or places pouring large concrete slabs. Cranes may even be seen at construction sites and on top of tall buildings.

Truck cranes are mobile cranes designed for highway travel or rough terrain, typically featuring four to 18 tires depending on their size and using telescopic booms to lift materials. Some truck cranes feature outriggers to level loads during hoisting. Being smaller than crawler cranes, truck cranes may be easier to move from job to job more conveniently.


Trenchers are designed to dig trenches of various depths and widths. Additionally, they can cut pavement to provide access for utilities beneath roads, as well as cut pavement to create access for utilities underneath roads. The machines feature six to eight cutting parts that circle around a wheel – these cutting parts sever roots effectively for use in rocky conditions.

Toro, for example, has introduced technology that redirects hydraulic flow from its traction motor directly to the trencher head when necessary, increasing power delivery to trencher heads while decreasing fuel usage.

Small walk-behind trenchers are ideal for landscaping tasks like installing irrigation lines or garden edging, with minimal disturbance caused by their maneuverability. Ride-on trenchers, on the other hand, are suitable for harder terrain such as digging in pavement and rocky soil. These larger models are radio-controlled for extra efficiency on larger jobs that require additional horsepower. Contractors should first assess each jobsite’s terrain when choosing whether to rent or buy their trenchers.

Motor Graders

Motor graders are multipurpose heavy equipment commonly employed in road construction. Their primary use is leveling soil to prepare surfaces for adding bitumen paving works; they’re also excellent at setting foundations by raising or lowering natural soil to the desired levels for buildings or other structures.

Modern motor graders feature a blade between their front and rear axles, along with a cab, engine and tandem rear wheels for stability. Some can even come equipped with additional functions like rear rippers, scarifiers or compactors for increased work capability.

Lever-operated grading blades allow operators to change the angle and direction of material being moved by this machine, giving control to operators over how much is moved without taking their hands off of controls. A one-way snowplow may also be attached for winter use while there are specialty blades designed specifically to clear gravel foundation pads or native soil for building purposes.


Telehandlers, also referred to as cherry pickers, reach forklifts or telescopic forklifts, feature an extendable arm that extends outward from their machine’s body to enable users to position loads and transport them across sites – making them useful both on construction sites as well as farms and other agricultural locations.

Telehandlers offer operators an incredible degree of versatility thanks to a selection of attachments available, which allow for multiple jobs that would typically require two or more pieces of equipment to complete, according to John Boehme, Senior Product Manager – Telehandlers with JLG. Such attachments include buckets of various sizes for job site cleanup and spreading material as well as truss booms with crane-like designs that lift and hoist materials, pipe/pole grapples and tire manipulators features for handling wheels from large mining/construction machinery vehicles.

When purchasing a telehandler, it’s essential to take into account both its lifting capacity and forward reach requirements, as well as your terrain and surface conditions. This helps inform your selection of attachments and tires; for instance, foam-filled or solid tires work best on rough surfaces while non-marking or turf tires will suit finished ones better.

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