What is an Excavator?


An excavator is a machine group used for activities like demolition, earthmoving, excavation, dredging and trenching. It is one of the most widely used and popular machines in Australia.

All excavators move vast amounts of soil and earth material with a hydraulic system and the buckets attached to the excavator to move the material from one area to another. Excavators use hydraulic motors to control a front-placed arm, to which a bucket is attached. The arm acts as the main feature of the machine, whereby its ability to dig, lift, and pour are fundamental to its purpose. Excavators are driven by shift and level, powered by a diesel, electric, or petrol engine, where they move via continuous tracks or wheels.

The main purpose of an excavator is to excavate soil of all different types. Then with the use of the hydraulic system forcefully pull the soil towards the machine using the bucket, essentially moving the soil (earthmoving) to a close by area on site or onto a truck for removal.

Our directory offers a huge range of qualified excavator hire suppliers with a range of brands throughout all of the Australian major cities including Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin and everywhere else in between. These suppliers offer a diverse catalogue of excavator types and builds, with a machine to suit any project or operation across the nation.  

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Types of excavators?

Excavators come in an assortment of sizes, configurations and attachments with a variety of builds covering a vast number of projects and environments. Range includes amphibious, chameleon clamshell, demolition, hi-rail, high reach, long reach, track mounted, wheel mounted and spider, with each offering unique skill sets across a range of different projects and environments.

Demolition, high-reach, long-reach, and chameleon clamshells are used across a range of demolition activities, along with dismantling, plate shearing, steel shearing, secondary processing, crushing and far more. However, the specific excavator type that is used is determined by the particular task at hand. Amphibious excavators are ideal for shallow water work, covering tasks like drenching, removing salty clay, shallow water operations, and clearing salted tranches. The choice between tracks or wheels depends on project terrain, with track-mounted excavators needed for boggy, sandy and muddy conditions as wheeled excavators that have less off road traction.

iSeekplant offers a number of excavators for hire including; amphibious, chameleon clamshell, demolition, hi-rail, high reach, long reach, track mounted, wheel mounted and spider excavators.  

What is a wheel mounted excavator?

Wheel mounted excavators, as their name suggests, utilise wheels for movement rather than tracks. The digging performance of a typical wheeled excavator is quite like a track mounted excavator. However, the lifting performance of a wheel mounted excavator exceeds that of tracked models, with the wheeled digger capable of lifting more because of its stabilisers. The versatile and manoeuvrable wheeled excavator can also perform most of the work that a crawler excavator can do with the added advantage of being able to drive the machine between work areas.

What is a hi rail excavator?

Hi rail excavators are capable of completing projects on your usual worksite, as well as train lines. Equipped with track friendly attachments, these excavators can drive to any worksite and then be used for operations on train lines in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart and Nationwide. Hi rail excavators, short for Highway Rail Excavators, are not suitable to take the impact of heavy rolling stock and are required to only work on tracks that have been cleared of all usual coming traffic. Highway rail excavators are capable of working on roads and train tracks, where they are always insulated as a precaution and therefore are not required to use active track signalling circuits. Many operators that are required on lines that are not benefited by boom gates or other train halting services, still choose to use these technologies in order to be detected by train safety systems.

What is a track mounted excavator?

Typically known as crawlers, since they can drive on surfaces that are less stable, a track mounted excavator utilises a continuous track, similar to that of a tank, for movement. Compared to the wheeled excavators which struggle with driving on sand and mud, a track mounted crawler excel in boggy, sandy and muddy conditions. Crawler excavators and diggers have a mechanism similar to a conveyor belt instead of wheels, and since it evenly disperses the weight of the machine across the ground, it won’t sink down into wet or muddy terrain. Since it can only be used on site, this machine requires transportation to get from one job to another. 

What is a long-reach excavator?

A long-reach excavator is a demolition excavator that specialises in scrap metal salvaging and digging out rubble. Long-reach excavators typically have a reach of 20 to 150 ft, where their main feature is their ability to extend sideways to reach into buildings and scoop out rubble. 

What is an amphibious excavator?

Amphibious excavators are capable of performing a very specific kind of excavation project. Different from other types of diggers for hire, they are designed to complete dredging in water because their chassis crawler can float on sealed pontoons. Amphibious excavators are able to complete excavations such as swampland operation, removing salty clay, shallow water operations, and clearing salted tranches. Track mounted and often with a longer reach than your common excavators, these amphibious diggers are still capable of completing a number of earthworks and land-based excavation projects. They are able to rotate 360 degrees as well as having full hydraulic operation. If you have a water dredging project, iSeekplant has a range of amphibious excavator hire suppliers capable of completing the job available in Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Nationwide.

What is a high-reach excavator?

A high-reach excavator is a demolition excavator that specialises in demolishing the upper floors of a building. Its key feature is its ability to extend upwards, with a reach of 50 to 160 ft. With a huge reach the high-reach excavator is ideal for dismantling the top floors of a building or high-rise structures. They are known for their precision when demolishing within tight spaces. 

What is a chameleon clamshell?

A chameleon clamshell excavator is a long-reach excavator and is often used for demolition, digging vertical shafts, and underground and high rise car park construction projects in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth and Nationwide. The chameleon clamshell excavator has a telescopic boom, which extends and bends through the knuckle joint at the midpoint. Chameleon clamshell excavators have a base, a boom, a cab and a bucket, and the cab will usually have bulletproof glass, protecting the operator from any falling debris. The base of these excavators can have either rubber-wheeled tires or crawler tracks, depending on the type of terrain.

What is a demolition excavator?

A demolition excavator is an excavator that specialises in demolition. As the name suggests the demolition excavator is great for demolition jobs including general dismantling, plate shearing, steel shearing, secondary processing, crushing and much more. Attachments play a big role in hiring a demolition excavator and depend on the type of demolition job it is required to do. Some attachments are best suited for crushing concrete or steel shearing jobs. Most attachments, however, are versatile and can complete a number of demolition works with a small and simple adaptation to the device. Furthermore, it is necessary for the clamp arm of the demolition excavator to be as powerful and as flexible as possible in order for the machine to hold a tight grip and grasp its maximum power. If you are looking to hire a demolition excavator that can fit in small spaces, look for one that has a small short rear swing so that the upper frame does not go beyond the crawler when it is required to swing.

Do you need a licence to operate an excavator?

Although legislation now states that you do not need a certificate or licence to operate an excavator, workplace owners must be held accountable for all operations of machinery or equipment on site. Therefore to ensure worksites are safe and equipment is used correctly guidelines are recommended to be followed before someone can operate an excavator on a job. This includes adequate training, safety protocols and supervision. Operators must also be taught maintenance protocols and be able to continually update information in log books. From here businesses can authorise the competency of operators and approve them for excavator operation. 

At iSeekplant, we have thousands of excavator hire suppliers all across the country. Our excavator hire offerings are available in a wide range of sizes and hire options including wet and dry hire. Contact iSeekplant or use our get a quote tool to get competitive quotes for your excavator hire needs.

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