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Construction Vehicle Types

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Remember when you were a kid and you would watch the garbage truck go by and be amazed at how it went up and down?

Or, when you would be sitting in the back seat on the way to see grandma and you would watch in awe as the bulldozers did their thing on the highways.

If that was you and you are considering a career as a heavy equipment operator, this list of different types of construction vehicles is for you.

Construction trucks are the backbone to our society. Whether improving roads to building communities – it could not be done without a truck and a heavy equipment operator who can handle it.

Construction Truck Types

So, if you are considering a career in this field, you may just wind up on one of these beauties. There are more trucks out there that you may even be aware of.

Below is a list of some of the most common types of trucks used in construction that you might actual get to have some fun with someday! But remember, you will have to undergo some training and be aware of the safety precautions needed when handling these amazing machines.

Bulldozer

bulldozer heavy equipment truck

The power of a bulldozer is in its ability to move rocks, earth and other materials. They are often found on construction sites, farms and even in quarries.

More commonly, bulldozers do not have wheels but instead use what are called tracks. This allows them to move easily over more difficult terrain like mud or sand. Sometimes a bulldozer will have wheels which does allow it to be more maneuverable than those with tracks.

The bulldozer can offer some flexibility in use since different blades can be used to do different things. A few of the most common types of bulldozer blades include:

  • S-Blade: The shortest of the blade options and is best suited for medium or hard materials or those that are fine grained. This makes them best used for grading, stumping or evening out soil.
  • U-Blade: The largest of the blade types, the U-blade works best on soil types that are soft or medium density. This blade is best used for pushing, hauling and ditching.
  • Angle Blade: This blade can angle almost 30 degrees right or left which makes it great for shaping, ditching and stripping. It works well on snow, gravel and soft to medium density soils.

Cement or Concrete Truck

cement truck concrete mixer pouring base of house

When a construction project has a need for concrete, this is the truck that makes the magic happen. The cement truck, sometimes called a concrete truck, not only delivers the concrete, but actually makes it right inside.

The revolving drum will combine the elements needed to make the concrete. The hydraulic motor will help keep the drum spinning which also helps keep the cement from hardening. This is perfect for pouring large amounts of concrete or cement like what might be needed when building a commercial building.


Crane

In the words of the Planet Fitness commercial “I picks things up and put them down” is what a crane would say it does. Cranes are commonly used in construction, manufacturing and are always seen around shipyards.

Cranes are one of the more complex machines on the list due to the many parts that make the lifting power happen. You may be trained on only one specific type of crane or learn to use a few different types depending on your career goals.

There are many different types of cranes, all which are a bit different in functionality. The goal of a crane is to lift the heavy materials from a location and place them where they need to. Operators most often control the crane’s activity from a cab that is part of the crane, a control station or sometimes radio controls.

Below are a few of the most common types of cranes:

  • Carry Deck: Typically these kinds of cranes sit atop wheels or crawlers and can often be found on construction sites. Their small size makes them easy to navigate and versatile for different types of work. Usually they are operated by an operator in a cab.
  • Truck Mounted: Almost like a dump truck with a big boom arm behind the cab is what a truck mounted crane is. They can ride on a road making it is to move to a work site.
  • Tower Crane: These sky high cranes are most often used on constructions sites. They have an operating cab where the machine is operated from.
  • Floating Crane: Might also be called a crane ship, these cranes are useful for work on oil rigs or at the ports when water work is required.
  • Crawler Crane: These use tracks instead of wheels which make it useful for construction sites that are on uneven terrain. They are useful for long term projects as their large size and set up requirements make it difficult to use for daily use.

Dump Truck

dump truck

Dump trucks are most commonly used on construction sites to transport materials to the site. They can also be used to remove debris from construction sites and bring it to a landfill or other location.


Graders

grader truck

Commonly used on roads, graders help remove the dirt and debris to create a smoother surface. They have a wide long blade on the front that when down and in action can remove particles that may prevent a surface from being smooth.

The blade that is used to do the grading can be changed hydraulically which allows it to complete different tasks based on what is needed. Motor graders are often used for snow removal and for creating a smooth base to redo road improvements.


Excavator

excavator construction truck

Excavators are pretty standard on every construction job site due to their ability to lift and move things. Their exceptional digging power is created by the combination of a bucket, arm, rotating cab and tracks.

Most commonly used for digging trenches, removing waste from job sites and excavating mines, the excavator is used in a large variety of worksites. But what type of excavator you might drive will vary based on the requirements of the job.

One thing we want to clear up is that an excavator is NOT a digger! Some confuse the two and think they are the same, but they are not. They are very different trucks. You can learn more about a digger truck above.

Below are some of the types of excavators that are commonly used:

  • Mini Excavator: A compact version of a traditional excavator that can be useful for terrain that is more delicate or where there are space limitations. They offer the ability to make tighter turns which helps it navigate narrow areas.
  • Skid Steer Excavator: The first thing you will notice on this excavator is that the bucket faces away from the driver which makes it useful in tight areas. Residential work, debris removal and even digging pools are some of the more common uses of this style.
  • Crawler Excavator: A heavy duty excavator that run with hydraulic power that helps to lift heavy debris. The endless tracks instead of wheels makes them better at moving up and down hills or dealing with uneven land. Often used to dig trenches, dig in mines or for landscaping larger areas.

Forklift

forklift for construction

Most commonly used in warehouse work or on constructions sites, the forklift is critical to helping move those heavy loads around.

The type of forklift you may be required to drive will very much depend on the type of work your employer does. Smaller forklifts can be used in a warehouse environment where products are often moved around. Larger forklifts may be used for more industrial uses like construction sites.


Rollers

roller construction truck on roadway

Working in construction can be tricky when dealing with bumpy terrain or air pockets underground, and that is where a road roller – or sometimes call a compactor – comes in. Most commonly they are used for flattening surfaces like roads or construction sites.

There are a few different types of rollers you may drive which are summarized below.

  • Pneumatic Roller: Most commonly used to smooth out pavements, the pneumatic roller features several rows of rubber tires on the front and rear of the machine.
  • Sheepsfoot Roller: best used for compacting soil or silty type clay. They commonly have protruding shapes on the rollers which is what makes it effective for compacting.
  • Static Roller: There are a few different options within this category depending on the needs of the project. The double drum can help with flattening of roads and the single drum can be used to create foundations or paving.

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