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Are Today’s Excavators Easier To Operate?

Old hands will tell you that excavators in use today are far easier to operate compared to twenty years ago. Is it true? It is a question that is not as black and white as it first sounds. Yes, almost all heavy equipment is ‘easier’ to use compared to twenty years ago, but that is not the complete story.

Looking at the basic operations of heavy equipment, the technical improvements in areas such as hydraulics and electronics have certainly made the life of a heavy equipment operator easier. Machinery like motor graders, which used a steering wheel, required strength to operate. Power steering has changed all that – if the machinery has a steering wheel. Excavators were good workers but lack fine controls – most modern excavators now have that fine control. This means they can work to precise degrees of accuracy.

Of course, that is the standard day-to-day operation and yes, on that basis, modern excavators are easier to operate. However, modern excavators come with a range of attachments – the excavator is no longer just an excavator.

Attachments like a hammer turn the excavator into a large jack-hammer capable of breaking up hard material like rock or concrete slabs. Large claws can be attached and are used to pick up objects. Learning to operate these attachments takes a whole new set of skills – skills that operators of twenty years ago don’t possess.

A simple answer to the opening question would be to ask if today’s operators could operate the excavators of yesteryear and whether the operators from that era could operate today’s excavators. The answer – today’s operators probably could operate an excavator from twenty years ago. Unfortunately, the operators from twenty years could struggle with today’s equipment. Based on that response, you would have to conclude that today’s heavy equipment is technically more difficult to operate than those machines of twenty years ago.

Not only is the equipment more difficult, the training required to operate an excavator is more intense. This is one reason why it is important to undertake your training through a reputable heavy equipment training provider. If they are not accredited, be careful when handing over you money – you may not get what you are paying for.

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