It is difficult to overestimate the significance of a crawler excavator in the category of construction machinery. This multifunctional vehicle can boast numerous special features. The first and foremost merit is the chassis with tracks that are made up of flat link chains. They provide the high level of cross-country mobility, which is so valuable on construction sites. Another factor, contributive to wide practical applicability, is the flexible configuration. The options are available in the choice of the basis and attachments.
A wide range of advantages generates strong demand for tracked excavators. Consequently, its production rates have reached a prominent percentage in the global market. And it’s reasonable that the market is highly competitive.
It is common knowledge that all virtues need to be taken care of. To get the best of a crawler excavator one should take into account some operating limitations. As there are high risks to damage the coat by the tracks, it is not allowed to drive these vehicles on the topcoat asphalt. Long-distance runs are also undesirable in order not to accelerate the depreciation process, resulting in efficiency loss.
To attain all the benefits a crawler type of excavators is capable of, it should be carefully chosen according to the future operating tasks. The choice also requires considering the peculiarities of the ground. These factors in turn influence the selection of the necessary dimensions of a vehicle and its attachments.
In space limited areas there is a possibility to use a compact version of a crawler excavator, also known as a mini-excavator. Thanks to a lower machine weight, such models can be easily moved between different sites.
As for specifically designed crawler excavators, amphibious and bucket-wheel models are worth mentioning. The structures of both of them involve only tracked versions.
An amphibious excavator is made to perform dredging while afloat in shallow water. The tracked chassis floats on sealed pontoons that are manufactured from high tension steel, invulnerable to saltwater and corrosion. The pontoon tracks are powered by a vehicle’s engine and main hydraulic pumps with traveling motors.
Bucket-wheel excavators are used as mobile strip mining machines. Their primary purpose is to remove overburden prior to coal mining. This kind of self-moving machine is one of the largest and heaviest land vehicles ever built. To allow the ground not to settle under such a considerable weight (about 13.000 t), the excavator features a dozen of 3.8-meter tracks. As a result, the pressure, exerted on the ground, doesn’t exceed the one, exerted by human’s feet.