Earth Work Excavation by Mechanical means
Earth work by mechanical means involves careful planning keeping in view site conditions i.e. type of soil, nature of excavation, distances through which excavated soil is to be transported and working space available for employing these machines. The earth moving equipment should be accordingly selected.
The earth moving equipment consists of excavating and transporting equipment. Excavating equipment’s may be further classified as excavators and tractor based equipment’s.

Excavators generally used at site are as follows:
  • Dipper–shovel: It is used for excavating against a face or bank consisting of open-top bucket or dipper with a bottom opening door, fixed to an arm or dipper stick which slides and pivots on the jib of the crane. It is suitable for excavating all clay chalk and friable materials and for handling rock and stone. However, it is not suitable for surface excavation for which a skimmer is used.
  • Backhoe: It is similar to face shovel except that the dipper stick pivots on the end of the jib and the dipper or bucket works towards the chassis and normally has no bottom door but is emptied by swinging away from the chassis to invert the bucket. It may be designed to carry both a front–mounted bucket loading mechanism and a rear mounted backhoe. It is mainly used to excavate trenches and occasionally used for the excavation of open areas such as small basements. In the backhoe mode the bucket lifts, swings and discharges materials while the undercarriage is stationary. When used in the ‘loader’ mode, the machine loads or excavated through forward motion of the machine, and lifts, transports and discharges materials.
  • Skimmer: This arrangement is similar to the face shovel except that in this case the bucket slides on rollers directly along the jib and thus has a more restricted movement. It is used for surface excavation and levelling in conjunction with transport to haul away the excavated material.
  • Dragline: It is usually fitted with a long slender boom or jib and the bucket, which in operation faces towards the machine and has no door, is supported by cable only as on a crane. It works from the side of the excavation at normal ground level and is used for excavating large open excavations such as basements when the depth is beyond the limit of the boom of a backhoe. It is commonly used for open cast mining operations.
  • Clamshell: It consists of two hinged half-buckets or jaws pivoted to a frame which is suspended by cable from a long jib of an excavation. The grab is used for deep excavations of limited area on all types of soil except rock. Crane and Grab is a variant of this type of equipment.
Tractor–based Equipment
It is a self–propelled crawler or wheeled machine used to exert a push or pull force through mounted equipment. It is designed either as attachments to normal tracked or wheeled tractors or as machines in which the earth moving attachments and the tractor are designed as a single integrated unit. A tractor, which is hydraulically operated, can be rigged as:

  • Loaders: It is used for loading, light dozing, scraping and grabbing operations, lifting and transporting the materials (loose earth, rubble, sand, gravel aggregate etc) at various sites through forward motion of the machine.
  • Tractor Shovel: This consists of a tipping bucket at the front attached by strong pivoted arms or booms to the frame of the machine. It is used for stripping top soil, excavating against a face, bulldozing and for loading spoil or loose materials. It is similar to crawler dipper-shovel.
  • Trench Digger: It operates on the same principle as a backhoe excavator except that the bucket is controlled by hydraulic rams instead of cables and pulleys.
  • Scraper: Scrapers provide unique capability to excavate, load, haul and dump materials. Scrapers are available in various capacities by a number of manufacturers with options such as self – loading with elevators, twin engines or push-pull capability. They are cost effective where the haul distance is too long for bulldozers, yet too short for trucks. This distance typically ranges from 120 m to 1200 m; however, the economics should be evaluated for each project.Scraper has an open bowl with a cutting edge positioned between the axles, which cuts, loads, transports, discharges and spreads through forward motion of the machine. Loading through forward motion of the machine can be assisted by a powered mechanism (elevator) fixed to the scraper bowl.
  • Bulldozer and Angle-dozer: The most common equipment used for clearing and levelling activities is a bulldozer. The terms bulldozer is used to define a tractor mounted with a dozing blade.The bulldozer consists of a rectangular steel blade with renewable cutting edge set at right angles (capable of only tilting but not angling) to the direction of travel and attached by steel arms to the side frames of a crawler tractor. It may be used for excavating natural soil or for moving loose soil or debris, which is pushed forward as the tractor forces it ahead.
  • Angle dozer is capable of both tilting and angling
Transporting Equipment
This implies horizontal movement primarily but it can involve some vertical movement too.
  • Dumpers: These are self-propelled wheeled machines, having an open body. It is designed for the transport of excavated materials and consists of a shallow tipping hopper or skip mounted on a wheeled chassis, such as, power barrow, dumper, multi-skip dumpers, high discharge dumpers, dump truck, etc. These can be rear dump, side dump or bottom dump.
  • Vibratory Roller: It is a single Drum Vibratory Roller for compaction of embankments, etc. The smooth drum version is for compaction of granular and mixed soil. The sheep foot Roller consists of a hallow cylindrical steel drum or drums on which projecting feet are mounted. These feet penetrate into the fill as a roller moves forward and cause compaction. The geometry of the foot may be sheep, club pyramid, cone or cylinder foot. Such rollers are employed for compaction (densification) of cohesive and semi-cohesive soils.

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