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Posts Tagged ‘road construction’

Demand For Grader Operators Continues To Rise

Monday, November 9th, 2009

road grader in demandWinter may be rapidly approaching but that does not seem to have reduced the demand for grader operators. If anything, demand has continued to climb. Grader operators are generally employed to assist with road construction projects – of course, these have exploded in number in recent months thanks to increases in Federal funding. Winter also sees the arrival of snow in many places. Grader operators can sometimes be found also helping to remove snow from our roads.

Operating a grader is perhaps one of the most technically demanding jobs on a building site. Grader operators have a lot of variables they need to constantly watch. Unlike most construction site equipment, graders are driven over very long stretches of new road. Fellow workers are just one aspect that needs to be watched. At the same time the operator needs to be watching what the blade is doing as the grader cuts, removes and level a stretch of ground.

These days a grader is often guided by laser technology. This is another instrument that must be given attention. With so much going on inside the cab, and a lot going onside the cab, the operator needs to concentration skills and an ability to multi-task. Fortunately, a grader is a relatively easy machine to learn to operate.

Heavy Equipment Operator Schools have grader training programs commencing all the time. If you are interested in a career as a motor grader then I suggest you contact us to inquire about our next training program starting soon.

Watching Dump Trucks Build Roads

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

I bet you didn’t know that dump trucks built roads. In a way, they do. Sure, they don’t smooth out the road base and they don’t lay the seal, but they do play a big role in building our roads. In fact, if you care to stop and watch a team as they build a new road, you will be amazed at how involved a dump truck is.

Without getting too technical in how a new road is built, there are steps which are pretty obvious. The stretch of land where a new road is to be built has to be cleared of vegetation. A road crew will often remove the top foot or so of soil – sometimes much more. This is generally the role of a bulldozer and a front end loader. The loader of course dumps the cleared waste into – a dump truck.

From there, graders get to work leveling the new road. Once they have a smooth platform to build a road on, the assembly of a new road begins. And that is what it is – an assembly project. Dump trucks bring in road base, a material used to make the foundations of the road. This could be a gravel and cement mixture, for example. The dump trucks don’t just dump and run. If you watch them you will see they start the tipper action and as the base starts to flow out, they drive slowly down the new road evenly spreading the road base. This makes life easier for the grader who follows and smooths out the material.

There are several other processes such as driving rollers over this area, which compact and level out the road base. It is then ready for the final seal. This could be cement or a hot mix. Either way, a special machine is used to lay the seal. Once again, dump trucks are used to carry the mix – they dump it in to the machine laying the new road. Wave after wave of trucks come in and they are able to empty their contents without the machine stopping. This enable a completely smooth road to be laid without any seams.

Dump trucks are involved in some way in every step of road making. You can work as a dump truck driver once you complete a truck driver training program. The pay is good, the hours are great, and the job never boring. At the end of the day, you can look back on a piece of road that you have helped build – a permanent record of your hard work.

Spend A Day With A Motor Grader Operator

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Motor grader operators normally work in areas such as new sub-divisions, parking lots, airport runways, highways, country roads, and the final stages of general road construction. Like all heavy equipment operators, they require specialist skills for their equipment. Like crane operators, motor grader operators work to fine measurements often using new technology such as GPS and lasers.

motor grader on the jobThe day starts early for a motor grader operator and they are generally required to start at the site they are to work on. Like all heavy equipment operators there is a standard routine to the morning. A briefing with the site managers to discuss the current state of construction. An inspection of blue prints and the order of work for the day.

Once the operator knows what he/she is doing, it is time to inspect their equipment to ensure everything is ready to go. One of the problems with leaving equipment on a construction site is damage caused by third parties. This could include willful damage by vandals, or damage from animals. One area that motor grader operators need to examine closely are their tires. Other heavy equipment often use caterpillar treads, motor graders use large tires and these need to be checked for cuts, tears and for objects that may have lodged in the tires. If all is well – it is off to start the job.

It may look boring, just driving up and down a new stretch of highway. It’s not. Each pass is made to a specific degree of angle and depth. Even the speed of the vehicle can determine what sort of finish you get. There are times when the grader will work on stretch of new road, move to another stretch that afternoon and be back to the start the following morning after new material such as gravel or road base has been added. Whilst they are concentrating on the task at hand, they must also be vigilant of everything that is happening around them so they can avoid any accidents. Safety is primary in all heavy equipment jobs.

Motor grader operators often work long hours. Their day is not done until the pass they are working on has been completed. Even then, they need to secure their vehicle and perform an end of day inspection of the equipment.

Want to work as a motor grader operator? Training is done in as little as three weeks. Just be sure the motor grader training you receive is from an accredited training organization and that the training itself has been accredited.

Bulldozers And Graders Blurring The Lines

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

If you were to place a bulldozer and road grader side-by-side you would have to admit they were completely different machines. About the only similarity between the two is they both have blades. The bulldozer’s blade is front and center whilst the road grader’s blade is somewhat smaller in height, often wider, and slung under the machine. Looking at them, you would imagine they would do completely different types of work.

road grader trainingThat was true several years ago. The bulldozer was the ‘bull’ of a construction site. Its job was to virtually tear everything up and leave the area relatively flat. The grader’s job was then to come in and do all the fine work to exact measurements.

As Bob Dylan once sang, ‘times they are a changing’. With the inception of modern technology such as GPS and laser leveling, bulldozers can now do many of the tasks often left to the road graders. Modern technology can now do wonders – in this case, taking a big powerful brute of a machine and turning it into a gentle machine that do a lot of the fine tuning once the domain of a road grader.

This doesn’t mean that road graders are now defunct. One of the reasons that laser leveling was introduced was to ease the load on road graders. They can now be left to perform the final finishing touches to a new road – the real ‘grading’ needed before the hard surface is laid.

What does this mean when it comes to employment opportunities and training? First, it reinforces the need to undertake training that includes experience on a variety of equipment. Secondly, it lifts the skill levels of operators. Bulldozer operators need to learn to use laser leveling and the art of grading using a dozer blade, whilst road grader operators need to hone their skills in the area of fine or finishing grading. It all comes back to training. Your heavy equipment training should include experience on both bulldozers and road graders – that will set you up to perform either role with ease.

Bulldozer Training Is The Road To Con De struction

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

One of the most popular heavy equipment occupations is that of a bulldozer operator. In fact, it is one of the most widely used machines with uses ranging from farming and the farm gate to final factory processing. Along the way bulldozers are used to help construct roads and highways, clear land for factories and homes and in the demolition (or destruction) of old buildings and roads.

bulldozer constructing road baseTo be a successful bulldozer operator starts with an accredited training program that covers all the important areas of bulldozer operations. This includes safety, walk around maintenance inspections and, of course, hands on practical training in real world environments.

In the past, bulldozer training involved standing behind an operator for an hour or so then jumping in the hot seat and using the equipment with the trainer standing behind you. Once he considered you knew enough to do the current job, he left you to it. Safety training was nonexistent.

Bulldozer operators are expected to look after their equipment. This does not just mean careful use of the machine. Being constantly aware of how well your machine is performing is an important part of equipment maintenance with minor issues caught before they become major issues.

Road construction relies on bulldozers being able to quickly and efficiently clear an area ready for the road crews to start ‘building’ the road. This can often involve tearing up old sections of road so that a new base can be laid.

In effect, as a bulldozer operator, your job will start with the destruction of one road in order to construct a new one.

Motor Graders: Train Now For The Winter Snow

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

As August rolls in there is one thing we know, winter is not that far away. Before you know it many of us will be knee deep in snow and grateful for the grader operators that are at least keeping our roads open. I also know one other thing, come winter, many areas will be calling for grader operators. It will be too late to start your training then, you have to prepare now for when that demand starts.

The counties in the north west are particularly vulnerable to road closures due to snow with most counties employing teams of grader operators to clear the roads. John Deere is one business that recognizes the importance of graders producing machines that specialize in snow clearing.

To be employed as a grader operator often required two things: recognized grader training and some experience in the field – not necessarily in snow, although it helps. By undertaking your grader training now, you will leave yourself with plenty of time to gain on-the-job experience operating a motor grader. There are ample opportunities in construction and road maintenance for new operators to gain experience – all that is missing is the training.

ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Schools can fill in that missing piece providing quality training in heavy equipment including motor graders. Many of our schools have motor graders – it’s simply a matter of contacting us to find out which school is closest to you.

You may think that work pushing snow is only limited to the coldest months of the year. That’s not true. Come the end of winter, demand for grader operators often increases as roads that were packed with snow during winter are cleared. This generally happens in spring as it all starts to melt and opens up roads previously only accessed by snowmobiles. In many cases, roads then need grading to repair the damage caused by ice and cold water. Graders can be in demand in some areas for up to five months each year with ongoing work then in highway construction and maintenance. The winter is calling – are you going to be one of our snow clearing grader operators?

Dump Truck Drivers Are Not Your Average Truck Driver

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

There is a lot more to driving a dump truck than often meets the eye. One thing is for sure – a dump truck driver is not your average truck driver. Granted, a dump truck driver does need to know how to drive a truck. They do need to know the road rules and meet all the requirements of a general truck driver. It just doesn’t stop there.

dump truck drivingIf you consider the role of a dump truck driver, they are required to drive from point A to point B with a load, and dump it. Okay you say, a dump truck driver also needs to know how to operate the dump mechanism that tips the tray to dump the load. Whilst this is true, many dump truck drivers need added skills.

One of the most important skills that a dump truck driver requires is the ability to spread a load over a distance. This could be gravel that is evenly spread over a 100 yard stretch of newly formed road. You may have seen these drivers. They start the tilt on the dumper whilst driving at an even speed. The load is spread as the truck moves forward. The skill is knowing how fast to drive and how far to tip the tray.

These skills are developed during your training but it is on the job experience that hones those skills. In the hands of an expert dumper, that load of gravel can spread to the point it looks like a grader has gone over it to smooth it out.

Whilst dump truck driving is a specialist area of truck driving, undertaking truck driver training provides you with the skills and licensing that can open the doors to a wide variety of trucking jobs. These may be long distance haulage or local deliveries; hauling heavy equipment or driving that dumper. Either way, you will have a skill for life and a qualification that can provide employment nationwide.

Heavy Equipment Operators Often Need To Work At Night

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

There are times when a heavy equipment operator cannot work during daylight hours, they are forced to work at night due to a variety of reasons. One of the prime reasons is simply access.

Virginia is a prime example. The state is only 430 miles long by 200 miles wide, the 35th in size, and yet it has the third largest highway system in the country. You would think with all that highway that traffic would not be a problem – but it is. It is a big problem for road construction crews. The highways are so busy that any highway work cannot be done during the day – it can only be done overnight when the traffic has thinned out a little and is more controllable.

Is working overnight a big problem? Many construction workers prefer it, particularly in summer when the nights are cooler and working conditions a lot easier – of course, winter is then a different story. Heavy equipment operators at least have the comfort of their cabs.

Overnight road building is not restricted to one or two pieces of equipment. The whole range is in use from bulldozer through to excavators, loaders, graders and dump trucks. This is particularly true on roads where the old seal is being pulled up, the ground reworked ready for resealing. Other jobs include highway straightening where large bends are bypassed, on/off ramp construction and bridge repairs or rebuilding.

Working as a heavy equipment operator is a challenging and yet rewarding career. ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Schools deliver accredited training on a wide variety of heavy equipment and provide the heavy equipment industry with well trained and work ready graduates. If you are ready to be one of those work ready graduates then contact us through our website for information on your heavy equipment training options.

* Associated Training Services fully endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), and will prepare candidates for the CCO certification examinations.

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