Everybody loves construction equipment. From a Bobcat to a Caterpillar, a John Deere to a Komatsu, it is a rare person who isn’t fascinated by watching heavy equipment in action. Whether you want to be better equipped for a chat with a child obsessed with toy excavators and dump trucks, you’re interested in taking scoring one of the approximately 426,000 jobs in the construction equipment industry (as of 2016), or you’re simply fascinated by drive motors, read on for cool facts about heavy machinery that you might not know.
- The bulldozer is the most commonly used piece of heavy machinery. It’s the one that is most commonly made in a toy version, too, but the bulldozer is definitely the most versatile workhorse in the fleet of huge construction vehicles; especially when it’s used with other equipment. In America, the major manufacturers of bulldozers are John Deere, Case Tractor, and Caterpillar.
- There’s more than one size of excavator. The excavator has a bucket used to scoop up material. This bucket is connected to a boom that works like your own elbow and shoulder! It’s used for digging, excavating, drilling, and even for loading. They come in three sizes: compact, mid-size, and large. The smallest weigh a bit less than 4,000 pounds, and the largest ones weigh nearly 190,000! Their horsepower varies, too, from 14.5 to 512. They can dig to about 32 feet in the earth.
- Caterpillar really was inspired by the caterpillar. Caterpillar brand heavy earth-moving equipment is some of the most commonly seen in America. The founder of the company, Benjamin Holt, was trying several different designs in making a tractor that could effectively roll over rich, muddy farmland. One type used continuous tracks, and someone watching testing one day happened to mention that the movement of the tracks reminded him of a caterpillar. Holt liked the idea so much he made it the company’s trademark.
- The Caterpillar tractor was the inspiration for the British tank. Before World War I, Caterpillar had already been shipping tractors to Europe for use on the farms. Armies commandeered these tractors when they saw how well they could navigate muddy, treacherous terrain that normal cars and trucks would get stuck in. Holt started making tractors just to carry artillery in, and the British military used the idea of Caterpillar’s continuous tracks when designing their first tanks.
Everyone enjoys watching efficient, well-designed equipment at work. Now you know some facts about heavy machinery, and if that’s inspired you why not do some research of your own and learn more?