Excavators have been around for a long time, dating back to steam-powered machinery. There have been many evolutions to the basic excavator design. Each iteration has allowed greater efficiency or expanded their capabilities.
Many of the changes have been driven by a desire to take advantage of more modern fuel sources or increased digging precision. Two of the most recent innovations are described here.
Compact, Electricity-Powered Excavators
Increasingly, you are seeing alternative fuel usage for city, municipality, and construction vehicles. Many of these have shown up as alternatives to regular vehicles, such as natural gas-powered cars and trucks. The construction industry has also seen the addition of mini, electric excavators.
Compact, electric excavators are ideal for jobs where zero or low emissions are a requirement. Example uses include:
- Indoor, targeted cement demolition. For example, if plumbing has to be moved due to a remodel or major issue, an electric excavator can be fitted with a jackhammer to demolish a section of floor to get to the plumbing.
- Indoor-to-outdoor debris removal. Excavators have large scoops that can carry much greater loads from demolition jobs than people. A mini, electric excavator can navigate in and out of a building carrying debris from demolition work.
- Lifting and moving in tight areas. Many of the compact, electric excavators have zero tail swing. This means, when the excavator turns, it does not have a tail that sticks out in the back that can impact other things in close quarters. This zero tail swing allows for heavy lifting and moving in tight, interior areas.
- Basement excavation. For houses that were built without a basement, or where the basement needs to be expanded, you can fit a compact excavator into the house (and eventually basement) area to dig it out.
With traditional excavators, the depth of the hole has to be measured as the excavation occurs. This can require frequent stops to measure depth as the operator gets closer to the hole's completion.
Semi-autonomous excavation means that the planned depth and other project characteristics are loaded into the excavator's computer. The project files determine how far down the digging can go, with the semi-autonomous digging only kicking in as the operator approaches the target design surface; this keeps the digging from going below the planned grade for the project.
These are just two of the more recent innovations that address the need for compact, emission-less excavation and the drive towards more precise digging. You can expect to see other technologies that are in the consumer market to also make their way into the construction industry, even into next generation excavators.
You can access excavators like this from companies like Independent Lift Truck Of Alaska.