Wheeled excavators, although not as capable across rough terrain, perform a vital role in the construction industry. Their increased mobility means that they are better able to cover distances on larger sites - especially if the terrain is of reasonable quality. Certain manufacturers claim top speeds of up to 36kph, increasing productivity and proving less damaging to the surfaces.Read More
Wheeled excavators, although not as capable across rough terrain, perform a vital role in the construction industry. Their increased mobility means that they are better able to cover distances on larger sites - especially if the terrain is of reasonable quality. Certain manufacturers claim top speeds of up to 36kph, increasing productivity and proving less damaging to the surfaces.
Manufacturers of wheeled excavators, including JCB, have modified versions to suit particular applications - the waste industry uses wheeled excavators - especially at recycling sites where a tracked version is noisier and therefore more likely to be unpopular with local neighbours. These may typically come with cabs that raise and lower hydraulically to help vision.
The rail industry is a typical buyer of wheeled excavators - they can be adapted to run on the rails and get to jobs under their own steam -vital for speedy night time repairs to the tracks and trackside.Overview
Unlike their tracked siblings, the wheeled excavator will not require a truck and low loader to move between sites. This means that a wheeled excavator is perfect for city centre jobs and are often found digging up roads for pipes and cables, then lifting them into place.
In general, fuel economy will be improved using a wheeled excavator when compared to a tracked version as they have less rolling resistance. Manoeuvrability on site can be improved by opting for a model that has four wheel steering like the Terex TW range which operates from 6.8 to 12.5 tonnes – useful for tight spaces, but can run in two wheel steer when at speed.
While tracked excavators may provide the best all-terrain performance, they have a number of practical limitations in terms of mobility. This is where wheeled excavators come into play, as they can cover greater distances faster and with less damage to fragile surfaces than their tracked counterparts. For use on large sites where excavators have to cover a lot of ground quickly, a wheeled excavator will be the machine of choice.
Wheeled excavators can be designed to take on general tasks across the site, but there are also specialised models that are intended for specific types of work. This includes timber handling and waste management. And in fact, the other benefit of wheels rather than tracks being used for movement is that it helps to reduce the amount of noise that these machines make. When a facility or site is particularly close to a residential area, this could be a crucial asset that makes these places viable. They can also be driven on road surfaces, covering the distances between sites without requiring additional equipment for transport. Some models feature four-wheel steering for added manoeuvrability, which also enhances off-road performance and helps to close the gap between wheeled and tracked excavators away from the tarmac.
The popularity of wheeled excavators in the timber, waste and scrap industries can mean that many second-hand models will not come with a bucket on the end of the boom arm but will instead feature a grab mechanism. This means buyers will need to consider the type of model they require before committing to a purchase. Some models may also have been adapted for use on the railways, as they can be modified to run on the tracks and thus perform a variety of functions in this industry.
The cab of a wheeled excavator is positioned to provide good all-round visibility for the operator. And because the view is important for both efficient operation and on-site safety, the cab will often be mounted on a hydraulic lift that allows the operator to raise or lower his or her position based on real-time requirements. When buying second-hand, inspect the hydraulic systems, engine and also the tyres, because wear and tear will invariably have an impact on all of these elements.
A number of manufacturers produce wheeled excavators for the market, including JCB, Liebherr, Volvo and Komatsu. And there are several different weight categories into which these machines fall, ranging from smaller 8.5 tonne models up to 20 tonne units that are built for serious loads. Fuel efficiency for a wheeled excavator will be better than that of a tracked equivalent, since the wheels generate less resistance against the site's surface. This does mean that there is less traction available, but since wheeled excavators will be used in urban environments as well as off-road, this should not be an issue. With top speeds that exceed 35kmph, a wheeled excavator can be a capable tool with a range of potential uses, especially in industries where time-sensitive action has to be taken.
Terex Wheeled Excavator Brochure
JCB Wheeled Excavator Brochure
Liebherr Wheeled Excavator Brochure
Volvo Wheeled Excavator Brochure