How to Choose the Appropriate Crawler Excavator

Also known as crawling diggers or tracked excavators, crawler excavators are versatile tracked vehicles used for digging, grading, loading, and moving earth and large objects. These machines make up the majority of excavator models available and are among the fastest-selling earthmoving equipment in the country today.

Crawler excavators are essential at construction sites for tasks such as digging trenches, holes, and foundations, as well as handling materials, moving earth, demolition, and dredging. If you're a contractor or construction company owner planning to purchase a crawler excavator, consider the following factors.

01 Ground Conditions

Assessing ground conditions is crucial when selecting the type of excavator for a jobsite. Crawler excavators are ideal for excavating, grading, and site development, and can be equipped with various attachments for these tasks. Some models feature reduced-tail-swing configurations, making them suitable for limited-space commercial or residential jobsites and new road and bridge construction projects. For loose or slurry ground conditions, opt for a long crawler excavator with a wider track shoe configuration for better adaptability.

02 Machine Stability

Stability is a key consideration when selecting heavy equipment like a crawler excavator. Crawler excavators are excellent for heavy-duty digging and lifting due to their tracked undercarriage, which maintains strong ground contact and ensures stability. Unlike wheel excavators, which rely on tires, a dozer blade, and outriggers for stability, the tracks of a crawler excavator provide excellent traction and distribute mass evenly over the entire contact surface.

03 Transportation Cost

Unlike wheel excavators, crawler excavators lack wheels and cannot be easily transported by road. If you need to move your crawler excavator between jobsites, consider the transportation costs involved. Crawler excavators require appropriately-sized trailers for transport, making their transportation cost higher than that of wheel excavators. However, in mining or quarry applications, the equipment typically remains at one location for its entire lifespan. Crawler excavators are best used when frequent relocation is not required, especially in uneven or soft ground areas. Their travel speed does not exceed 6 km/h, so they are suited for applications where minimal travel is needed.

04 Attachment Versatility

When deciding on a crawler excavator, consider its ability to pair with various attachments, which can enable you to perform different tasks at the jobsite. Common attachments include hydraulic breakers for demolishing structures, grapples for land clearing, clamshells for material unloading, quick couplers for faster tool changes, trenching buckets for digging foundation footings or underground utilities, and plate compactors for finishing trenches.

05 Maintenance Requirements

Crawler excavators are designed for rough and uneven terrain, meaning their undercarriage consists of many moving components and wear items that require regular maintenance to function properly. Therefore, it's important to consider the maintenance costs associated with a crawler excavator before making a purchase decision.

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