Excavators have always been tracked vehicles. This made them slow and cumbersome, but very stable. The latest excavators have replaced tracks with wheels, and can be driven on open roads. These wheeled models can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour with some being four wheel drive and able to handle off-road terrain. One of the benefits of tracks was the fact that off0road terrain was generally not a problem.
The biggest difference between a wheeled excavator and a tracked excavator is the setup. Wheeled excavators have taken the mobile crane concept – that is, there is a driving cab that allows the operator to move the vehicle like a truck. There is then a separate cab that is used to operate the excavator. The cab and telescoping boom pivot in much the same way as a mobile crane. This means the vehicle can be placed on firm ground for stability, and the excavator pivoted around to the work site.
Wheeled excavators are operated in much the same way as a standard excavator. The boom telescopes, and there is a wrist-like joint between the boom and the bucket. This enables the bucket to angle in order chang to suit the task at hand. Traditional excavators have one downside – they require the services of a flat bed truck and driver to be moved from job to job. Wheeled excavators don’t need the flat bed truck – they can be driven on the open road as a truck. For excavator operators, that will most likely mean they will need a commercial drivers license. However, in today’s world, that is becoming a requirement anyway.
If you’re considering a career in heavy equipment, then the future is bright. Employment prospects are good, and the advances in heavy equipment technology is making everything easier for both operators and business owners.