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Is an Excavator Heavy Equipment

What's in this article?
  1. What Qualifies As Heavy Equipment?
  2. Key Specs And Stats On Excavators
  3. The Case For Excavators As Heavy Equipment
  4. The Counterargument
  5. Key Takeaways
Is an Excavator Heavy Equipment

Massive excavators are standard on construction sites, mining operations, and other industrial locations. With their colossal booms and buckets capable of moving tons of earth in minutes, these mighty machines rank among the most impressive equipment on any job site.

But have you ever wondered how these monumental pieces of machinery are transported from place to place? With weights ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 pounds, getting an excavator from point A to point B is no small task.

In this post, we’ll closely examine excavators and whether they qualify as “heavy equipment” for shipping purposes. By looking at key factors like size, weight, and special handling needs, you’ll better understand what’s required to ship an excavator. You can make informed decisions when arranging transportation. Let’s dig in!


What Qualifies as Heavy Equipment?

First, let’s level-set heavy equipment in the vehicle transportation industry. While there’s no universal standard, most carriers classify heavy equipment as:

  • Weighing over 10,000 pounds
  • Measuring over 8 to 9 feet wide
  • Requiring special handling, such as loading with cranes
  • Needing escorts or permits to meet road regulations

Shippers also tend to group equipment into two categories: wheeled (trucks, trailers, etc) and tracked (bulldozers, excavators, etc). Due to their sheer size and weight, tracked machines often fall into the heavy equipment transportation classification.

Transporting oversized, overweight equipment demands expert carriers with specialized trailers, rigging, and loading equipment. It also frequently requires special permits and route planning to maneuver the massive loads safely and legally. So, correctly classifying equipment is crucial for carriers to provide appropriate equipment and meet regulations.

Key Specs and Stats on Excavators

Now that we’ve defined heavy equipment let’s review some key specifications and statistics on excavators:

  • Weight - Excavatorstypically weigh between 30,000 and 50,000 pounds. Small mini models may weigh under 10,000 pounds, while ultra-class excavators can tip the scales at over 100,000 pounds.
  • Dimensions - Excavators measure 20-40 feet long (not including the bucket/boom) and 7-15 feet wide. Their cab height is often 10 feet or more.
  • Major components - The main parts of an excavator are the cab, boom/dipper stick, counterweight, and tracks. The boom pivots to move the bucket, powered by hydraulic pistons.
  • Ground pressure - To avoid sinking into soft ground, excavators distribute their immense weight over wide crawler tracks, resulting in under ten psi ground pressure.
  • Bucket capacity - Bucket sizes range from 0.5 cubic yards on mini excavators to over five cubic yards on large mining excavators. They can weigh 3,000-6,000 pounds.
  • Power - Excavator engines produce 100 to over 1,000 horsepower, with diesel as the predominant fuel source.

With their heavy counterweights, colossal booms, and enormous buckets, it’s easy to see why excavators tip the scales as truly massive machines.

The Case for Excavators as Heavy Equipment

Given their immense weight and substantial dimensions, transporting excavators involves unique hurdles that align with oversized/overweight heavy equipment:

  • Special trailers - Excavators must be hauled on specialized lowboy trailers able to handle the extreme weight. Regular flatbed campers don’t have the capacity or proper weight distribution.
  • Loading/unloading - To get excavators on and off the trailer safelyrequires special loading equipment like cranes or ramps. They cannot simply be driven on and off like smaller equipment.
  • Road regulations - When traveling on public roads, excavators frequently exceed weight, height, and width limits, mandating special permits. Wide loads also require escort vehicles and may need route surveys.
  • Disassembly - The boom and bucket must often be detached and loaded separately to meet transport height restrictions. Reassembly is required before the excavator can operate.
  • Transport planning - Choose routes with minor obstacles, like low bridges or tight turns. Also, avoid hazards like steep grades and ensure road capacity limits are not exceeded.

Any equipment that needs this special handling and preparation is well within the realm of oversized/overweight heavy equipment transportation. While a single technical specification like weight may not set excavators apart, their collective attributes certainly necessitate handling as accurate heavy equipment.


The Counterargument

Some may argue excavators do not belong in the same heavy equipment category as mammoth mining trucks or massive cranes. Ultra-class haul trucks can indeed weigh over 250,000 pounds - five times more than a typical excavator. Giant all-terrain cranes also outlift excavators significantly in capacity.

However, excavators are still substantial compared to more common construction equipment. While bulldozers can weigh 30,000 pounds, they have just four wheels versus an excavator’s eight heavy-duty tracks. And dump trucks only reach about 50,000 pounds with a much smaller frame.

So, while not literally the heaviest machines, excavators are uniquely challenging heavy loads compared to other standard equipment. Over-the-road transportation demands expertise in specialized hauling - the hallmark of heavy equipment shipping.

Key Takeaways

When planning to ship an excavator, it’s essential to recognize its classification as oversized/overweight heavy equipment. Work closely with an experienced heavy hauler who understands the unique handling involved - from specialized trailers to potential disassembly and permits.

Be prepared to provide your carrier with complete excavator specifications, including weight, dimensions, ground clearance, track width, boom length, and detachable components. This allows the transporter to select proper equipment, plan optimal routes, and obtain necessary permits.

Despite misconceptions, understanding how excavators fit into heavy equipment transportation guidelines enables innovative preparation and planning. Expert carriers can safely deliver these earth-moving behemoths intact and on schedule with prudent steps. Ready to ship your excavator? Contact us today to start the process with a heavy hauling pro.

Are you planning to transport your excavator to a new job site? Let A1 Auto Transport take the stress out of moving this heavy equipment. As a licensed carrier specializing in oversized cargo, we have the specialized trailers, equipment, and expertise required to haul excavators of any size safely.

From loading and securing your machine to obtaining the proper permits, we handle every detail while meeting all regulations. You can have peace of mind knowing your excavator is in reliable, professional hands.

Get a free quote.

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Tony Taylor's journey in the auto transport industry began with a simple but powerful belief: he could do it better. Purchasing his first tow truck, he laid the cornerstone for what would become A-1 Auto Transport. With over two decades of hands-on experience, Tony has grown to be an industry veteran, an invaluable resource to whom other companies in this field often turn for advice.

Through hard work and dedication from Tony and his team, A-1 Auto Transport is now one of the largest United States based global auto transport companies. With offices and storage facilities scattered across major U.S. cities and throughout many countries abroad, Tony ensures that a dedicated staff of experienced professionals stands ready to provide unbeatable service at highly competitive prices.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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