What Is Excavator and How Does It Work? - Free Essay Sample

Published: 2022-12-14
What Is Excavator and How Does It Work? - Free Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Engineering Technology
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1467 words
13 min read


An excavator is heavy construction equipment that is made up of a boom, stick, bucket, and a cab which lies on a rotating platform referred to as the house. The house is above an undercarriage that has wheels or tracks. All the movements that take place in an escalator are accomplished through the use of hydraulic fluid based on mineral oil or water. Hydraulic cylinders and motors are also essential in facilitating any movements that occur in the excavator. Modern excavators come in different sizes. The smallest excavators are known as mini excavators. An example of a mini excavator is the caterpillar that has an approximate weight of 2,060 pounds. The largest excavators weigh approximately 2,160,520 pounds, and they have buckets that are as large as 52m3. Hydraulic excavators us the engine power with three hydraulic pumps instead of the regular mechanical drivetrains. Hydraulic pumps are sources of power that convert mechanical strength to hydraulic energy.

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Two primary pumps supply oil at high pressure for parts such as the arms, track motors, and the accessories. The third pump is used for controlling the spool valves. The third circuit is essential for reducing physical effort when the machine is under operation. Excavators consist of twenty main parts. These parts include boom, a boom cylinder, track adjuster, chain and pad, sprocket, swing reducer, slew ring, central control, and hydraulic pumps, H-link, final drive, engine, dipper, bucket and its cylinder, cab, car body, and bottom rollers. When choosing equipment, it is essential to know the difference between an excavator and a backhoe. A backhoe is a standard tractor that supports an arm with two primary segments, the dipper, and the boom. The primary function of the boom is to support the dipper, a part that contains the bucket. Backhoes are wheeled while excavators are usually driven on tracks.

Basic Principles of How Excavators Work

The machine is first powered, and it uses diesel to run the engine. The primary reason why diesel is used is that this type of fuel provides the ultimate in horsepower to achieve maximum efficiency (Wang, Li, Gao, Ma, & Chang, 2015). Fueling the excavators with diesel is very efficient unlike using other products since diesel is designed to withstand rigorous work. The person operating an excavator makes use of the pedals and the levers to accelerate and steer the equipment in the forward and backward directions. Similar to excavators, tracks' engines are also powered through the use of diesel. Hydraulic motors control the arms of the machine. The arm of an excavator is embedded in the lower frame chassis of the device, and it is composed of three hydraulic pistons. There is a hinge that connects the bucket loader and the other two primary sections. Further reach for the operator is achieved through the increase in girth and the extension of the first piston which provides a large surface area for the section. The function of the third and final piston is to activate the bucket loader to make it possible for the collection of debris into the bucket.

To function, excavators need to have fixed tracks which operate through the manipulation of gears that are connected to the engine (Wang et al., 2015). The operator uses the gears to move the excavator backward and forwards. However, turning the machine requires the replacement of a track with another. Manipulating more tracks simultaneously requires several complex pieces of equipment. The two types of control configuration are used to control the boom and the bucket which at the same time facilitate the spreading of the four primary controls between the x-y joysticks.

Hydraulic excavators depend entirely on hydraulic systems. There is usually a wheeled platform that facilitates the transportation of the machine and the provision of support to the chassis. The operator makes use of the chassis to control the excavator with the help of levers to move the machine, raise the boom up and down, and control the bucket too. The two primary sections of an excavator include the undercarriage and the house. The parts of an undercarriage include tracks and track frames, and final drivers with a hydraulic motor.

On the other hand, the house contains the operator cab, engine fuel, counterweight, and hydraulic oil tanks. The main boom is attached to the house, and it performs various functions and is of different configurations. For example, most are mono booms and therefore can only move straight up and down. The knuckle boom moves left and right in line with the machine.

One of the advantages of using hydraulic excavators is that their size is small and convenient thus allowing them to work on short and specific tasks within a project area. Due to their size, excavators can easily be transported from one area to another by either being towed or through trucks. These excavators can also perform multiple tasks using their attachments. For instance, there is a blade that can be used for scrapping and a grapple for picking up objects. One of the disadvantages of excavators is their heavyweight which prevents them from being driven for long distances. These machines also use large amounts of fuels, therefore, making the operations very expensive. Due to their many parts and their enormous size, hydraulic excavators are challenging to repair.

Maintenance of Excavators

All industrial machines and equipment need maintenance and long-term care to increase their efficiency during any performance (Wang et al., 2015). Normal wear and tear may lead to lower machine efficiency, and this can be prevented through preventive maintenance. When machines are checked and serviced regularly, their lifespan increases, therefore, saving on the costs that would have been used to replace worn-out equipment. Although preventive maintenance may lead to little hinderance in production, it is better than having a machine breakdown. There are some short inspections which can be done on the machines daily. For instance, the excavators should be cleaned after work, lubricated, and some minor adjustments may be made to ensure that every part is functional. These daily check-ups may also assist in the discovery of significant problem and defects on the equipment.

First, these machines break down due to some reasons. For example, most operators fail to read the manual which contains maintenance checklists and other instructions. Most of the issues are addressed in the troubleshooting section so that operators may learn the fundamental failures and learn to fix them. Daily maintenance is essential, and operators should not skip the activity since it may lead to downtime in the long run. For instance, all lube points should be greased daily. The engine oil and other fluids should be checked every day to ensure that everything is functioning in the right way.

Necessary procedures such as cleaning should be done cautiously. For instance, an operator should use compressed air instead of water to prevent moisture from reaching the wires. Machines should also be run under their maximum performance levels only to avoid strain, stress, and premature wear. Fluids and lubricants are some of the essential components that should be regularly checked. In excavators, hydraulic fluid and engine oil should be checked to establish if their levels are low. The engine should, therefore, be filled with the recommended fluids as instructed by the manufacturer. The operator should be keen on the classifications and viscosities required. The engine should be kept dirt-free, and the owner should use clean rags to wipe the areas containing the coolant, hydraulic fluids and engine oil (Wang et al., 2015).

Modern excavators have different levels of emissions-compliant engines and manufacturers recommend special lubrication requirements. Matching oils are added to the engines for the proper functioning of the exhaust. The engine should also be lubricated at the required intervals as indicated in the manufacturer's manual. However, the operator must consider the temperatures of the engine. Manufacturers usually recommend lithium-based multi-purpose grease to lubricate the essential joints like booms, blades, buckets, and slew bearing components.

There are many filters designed for different systems in the excavator, and each has its unique functions. When filters get dirty, they may become clogged therefore negatively impacting on the normal functioning of the machine. The sensitive components may also be compromised. Modern excavators have air filter restrictions indicators that are designed to inform the operator of the equipment's maintenance needs. The filters should not be removed until the recommended time is reached to prevent the system from being contaminated.

Another maintenance task involves fuel. The operator should only sue the recommended clean and high-quality diesel fuel. Machines that operate in cold areas may use the formulated blends that are designed to prevent gelling.


Wang, W., Li, X., Gao, F., Ma, M., & Chang, W. (2015). The Excavator Functional Morphology Studies of Urban Construction Requirements. In Machinery, Materials Science and Energy Engineering (ICMMSEE 2015) Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference (pp. 276-283).

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