Not all infrastructure construction projects are the same. Here is a look at how there…
A career as a heavy equipment operator can be very rewarding. For some, learning to operate basic equipment such as bulldozers, graders, and excavators is just the start of a journey that takes them through some of the more complex heavy equipment that is rarely discussed in heavy equipment forums.
One of the problems with setting your sites on more specialized equipment is the scarcity of opportunities. Because this equipment is specialized, there isn’t a big call for operators and, in most cases, employers recruit from within their own ranks, training suitable operators to handle this equipment. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim to operate this equipment. the opportunities do occur, and if you show a real desire to learn, an employer may well give you that opportunity.
You will often see these machines being used and wonder how an operator worked their way into that role. In most cases, it all started with basic heavy equipment and proving how proficient they are in operating that equipment. Some of the specialized equipment you may see includes:
- Paver, asphalt finisher, paving machine – This machine may have several different names, but they all do the same job. They lay the asphalt for new roads and highways.
- Roller, roller-compactor, compactor – This too has many names, and if you’re old enough, you may have heard them referred to as ‘steam rollers’. They do the same job. They compact and smooth out material that has been put down. Rollers are used after asphalt has been put down to give roads that hard and smooth finish.
- Wheel tractor-scraper – Scrapers are used to ‘plane’ the surface ready for construction or road building. Dirt is scraped from the surface and held in a hopper. Large scrapers may have two engines, one to drive the front and one to drive the rear.
- Trencher, wheel trencher – This is a specialist piece of equipment normally used to dig trenches for pipe laying. They are also sometimes used on roads to score the asphalt prior to relaying new asphalt.
- Pile driver – As the name suggests, this machinery is used to drive piles into the ground. Often found where bridges are being constructed, and for some general construction roles.
If you have a desire to one day work on specialist heavy equipment like those listed above, your first step is to undertake heavy equipment training on standard every day equipment. Once you are proficient in their use, you can then look to advance your career operating some of that equipment. ATS Heavy Equipment Training Schools can give you a head start as we include scrapers as part of our heavy equipment training program.