Excavating Earth – Know your options

We humans love to shape our environment to suit our needs. Throughout ages we have been shaping the world around us to suit our needs. What has changed are the ways and means we employ to bring these changes.

Long gone are the days when man first used tools chipped out of stones to shape his environment to suit his needs. Numerous inventions have been made since then to revolutionize the way in which environmental changes are made.

The Backhoe loader invented in 1953 once and for ever more changed how excavation was done. A backhoe loader is a tractor-like vehicle with a backhoe at one end, a front loader on the other and a swiveling seat to position the operator to suitably operate the loader or the excavator. Backhoe loaders are general-purpose tools, and have proved their worth in all types of applications ranging from Earthwork, Construction and Loading to specific applications like Brick Kilns, Crushers and Solid Waste Management.

The flexibility that a Backhoe Loader machine provides its owners gives it an edge over other excavation and loading equipment like the Excavator and the Front End Loaders which are designed for and are suited to a very limited number of applications. There are however, a few built in benefits with the excavator machine design that gives it higher stability and productivity.

Every customer decides between the two based on his own requirements and ability.

The table depicted below attempts to explain the benefits of a Backhoe Loader machine over other construction equipment

Parameter Backhoe Loader Excavator Comments
Cost of Acquisition Lower Higher A backhoe is much more affordable than an Excavator.
Productivity Lower Higher Excavators have higher productivity – But only under excavation, for applications where movement is required a Backhoe is much more efficient as compared to an Excavator.
Stability Lower Higher Being mounted on tracks an Excavator is more stable during excavation.
Flexibility (Application) Higher Lower A Backhoe is far more versatile and can work in all applications possible. Whereas an Excavator is limited to Excavation.
Mobility (Transport) Higher Lower The ability of a Backhoe to move on wheels (like an Automobile) gives it the advantage of doing multiple Jobs of Excavation/ Loading & quickly shift sites from one location to other for the next Job.

No wonder that the Backhoe Loaders have been the equipment of choice for many over other equipment types. The same is evident from the data recorder by Off Highway research, which proves the higher acceptance of Backhoes as compared to any other construction equipment available in the market today. Backhoes alone comprise of about 50% of all construction related equipment sold in India today (Including Equipment for Road, Cranes, Loading and Excavation)

Even if we compare the contribution of total number of Backhoe loaders to the number of all equipment related to excavation (Crawler Excavator, Wheeled Excavators & Mini Excavators), backhoe loaders have dominated the scenario with a huge margin.

Thus the Backhoe loaders have so far ruled the construction equipment industry and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, enabling its owners to earn profit through superior return on investments and versatility.