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Next Certificate Program Start: 07/29/2024  |  Next Associate Degree Program Start: 10/07/2024



Must-Have Heavy Equipment For Construction

Heavy equipment, sometimes referred to as heavy machinery or heavy-duty vehicles, are used to execute construction tasks. As you evaluate the different types of construction projects that you are taking on, you may decide that you need more or different types of equipment to complete the tasks.

There are various types of heavy construction equipment, each with its own set of uses. Heavy equipment can be divided into four major use purposes: earth-moving equipment, construction vehicles, material handling and construction equipment. While there are several other types of construction equipment, the ones listed below are the ones most commonly used by construction contractors. Here are seven must-have pieces of equipment for construction workers and business owners:

Articulated Trucks

An articulated truck is a vehicle that has a permanent pivot joint constructed into its body, allowing for it to move in difficult environments more easily. There is a wide variety of articulated vehicles, including buses, trams and trains.

Many contractors use articulated trucks for navigating on building sites. These types of vehicles have two components: the cab and the trailer. The tractor is a unit that can move over rough, uneven terrain and the trailer is created to transport heavy loads. The cab and the trailer are connected by the pivot, making the machinery easier to navigate.

Asphalt Pavers

A paver is a specialized machine that is used to lay asphalt on various flat areas such as bridges, roads and parking lots. A paver lays the asphalt and prepares it to be compacted by a roller. A paver is often used with a dump truck to carry the roller and the concrete. The dump truck distributes the concrete into a paver, which then disburses it onto the surface of the road or other surface. While the paver does do a little bit of compaction, a roller should be immediately used to make sure the concrete is secure.

Backhoe Loaders

Backhoe loaders are very versatile because they are comprised of a mixture of various types of machines: a backhoe, loader and tractor. Similar to tractors, backhoes contain a loader bucket in the front and a bucket attached to an excavating arm in the back called a backhoe. The most important component of this piece of machinery is the backhoe, which can dig up hard materials such as compact earth.

Considered a medium-sized piece of construction equipment, backhoe loaders are also used for smaller jobs such as moving dirt and supplies, digging trenches and placing small pipes into place. Because it is a tractor you can move over rough, uneven terrain with relative ease. Backhoes are tire mounted so they can be used in urban areas as well.


Bulldozers are considered among the strongest and most reliable pieces of equipment used in construction. Characterized by a big metal blade in front, bulldozers are used to push/doze large quantities of soil and other materials along large tracts of land.

There are two different kinds of bulldozers: wheel and track dozers. Both have the same functionality, but they navigate differently. Track dozers do not have wheels, but they have large tracks on the bottom that help disburse the weight of the machine. These tracks decrease the pressure put on the bottom of the machine and make it more difficult to sink into the ground. On the other hand, wheel dozers have big tires and allowing them to move much faster and travel over paved surfaces.


Excavators are heavy pieces of construction equipment that consist of a bucket, dipper, boom and a pivoting cab on a rotating platform that is called the “house.” The house is positioned on an undercarriage that has tracks or wheels. These cabs can rotate 360 degrees. The operator performs functions from the cab so maximum visibility is possible. Because the cab is situated on tracks, excavators can navigate on a variety of terrains.

Similar to backhoe loaders, excavators are used for medium to heavy-duty construction jobs. Compact excavators are also available for smaller jobs. Excavators are most commonly used to dig dirt or lift heavy pieces of equipment including pipes and large pieces of wood and steel. Other common uses include:

  • Material handling
  • Trench digging
  • Demolition
  • Mining
  • Rough grading
  • Pipe installation
  • River dredging

Excavators are manufactured by an array of companies, most notably John Deere. Purchased new, large excavators are quite expensive, ranging in price from $100,000 to $500,000 depending on their size. Small excavators perform similar functions but are less expensive because they can only handle small to medium construction jobs. Small excavators cost between $80,000 and $150,000.

Excavator Training at Heavy Equipment Colleges of America.
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Become a Bulldozer Operator at Heavy Equipment Colleges of America.
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Backhoe Operator Training with Heavy Equipment Colleges of America.
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There are many different types of compactors, but they all serve the same function: reducing the size of a material. Trash compactors are often used by businesses or homeowners to reduce the volume of garbage production. A landfill compactor works well to reduce the volume of waste. Soil compactors are used by farmers and other agricultural professionals to reduce the volume of a certain quantity of soil.

Cold Planers

Also known as milling machines, cold planers remove concrete and asphalt from a surface. These machines are comprised of a large drum that rotates and grinds the surface while cutters simultaneously break up the pavement. This loose pavement is then pushed to the center of the drum and distributed onto a conveyor belt that is attached to the cold planer. During this process, water can be applied to the drum to reduce dust and heat.

If you own a business that regularly uses construction equipment and you are looking to hone your skills or you are searching for a new career path, enroll in a heavy equipment operator training program at the Heavy Equipment Colleges of America. We offer a variety of certificates and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Construction Management. Programs are offered throughout the United States in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, California and Washington. Gain the skills you need to start an exciting career in heavy equipment or construction. Visit our website today to learn more about our programs, financing options the start dates of our courses.


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