Mini graders are compact and lightweight equipment and essentially a miniaturised version of the full sized graders. Like the larger graders, the mini graders form an important part of the road construction and maintenance equipment fleet. The graders come to work after the dozers have done all the heavy work and before the asphalt is laid to create the final layer of the roads. Typically, they are used for making smoother surfaces, fine grade, levelling soil and shifting small amounts of dirt. Being small in size, they can be easily put to use in crowded spaces with a small turning radius.

Generally mini graders are made up of three axles. The first axle is located with the engine and on top of the cabin, the second axle is at the front end of the machine and the third one is located at the rear end. Mini graders are identified by their long adjustable blade which does most of the cutting work. The blade of the grader is not only restricted to cutting process but can also be used for spreading and levelling. They can be even used for finishing a slope or digging a ditch.

One of the biggest advantages of mini graders is that they come with a variety of attachments that can be used for completing different kinds of construction or mining tasks. These attachments increase the versatility of the equipment and help them to perform different types of tasks at the jobsite. For example, the ripper attachment can be used to cut through challenging ground conditions such as hard, compact or frozen dirt or soil before grading and the dozer attachment helps with spreading.

Given their increased versatility, mini graders are multi-purpose equipment. Be it road construction sites, civil construction sites, mining sites, quarries, airport sites, snow removal sites etc., mini graders can be spotted anywhere very easily performing a host of tasks.

Multiple tasks performed by mini graders

Here is a list of all the tasks that are performed by mini graders...

1. The most basic task performed by mini graders is removing the unwanted substance which is the reason to bumpy roads. Generally, mini graders cut loose those unwanted substances.

2. The other most traditional use of this equipment is in the construction and maintenance of roads with its main function being preparing the topmost layer for laying asphalt on top of it.

3. They are used to finish grade (refine, set precisely) the rough grading performed by heavy CE such as scrapers and bulldozers.

4. Graders are also used to set native soil foundation pads to finish grade prior to the construction of large buildings. In building construction projects, graders are also used for levelling the parking areas.

5. Mini graders are also used for moving the earth and debris from one location to another i.e., for earthmoving purposes.

6. Mini graders are commonly used at mining sites like coal mining sites too. Jobsites like quarries and industrial sites in remote areas generally do not have proper roads leading to the site. This causes a lot of hassle for the movement of men and material. Here, comes the importance of mini graders as they can be used to create temporary roads leading up to the site to sustain daily operations and enable ease of transportation.

7. Although most grader models are used for roadwork applications, some graders can be used for digging shallow holes and even for rough grading.

8. The motor graders also ensure that the compactor is effectively used with minimum load on it.

9. Mini graders can also be used for sacrificing which means complete removal of layer of soil and then spreading a new layer at that particular point.

10. The equipment is also used for levelling of the soil so that the next layer is spread uniformly throughout the surface.

11. Tasks like mixing of two materials can also be well-performed by mini graders with the help of the right attachments.

12. Spreading of soil, aggregates etc., can also be done easily with this equipment.

13. Trenching tasks can also be performed with it.

14. For land grading tasks i.e., creating a certain slope, mini graders are useful.

15. For purposes like cutting of bank canals, mini graders are the best.

16. Mini graders can also be used for snow removal. Since they are smaller in size and because of their speed and normal wheel instead of crawler wheel, they can remove the snow easily. This makes mini graders as the most suitable machine for this type of operations in areas where snow rate is above the normal conditions.

Mini v/s large motor graders

A small or mini motor grader within a range of 80-150 horsepower is usually enough for most of the jobs. While, the smaller graders are perfect for jobs that need to be completed in a tight spacing environment, larger motor graders can be used in broader spaces. Larger machines are known to use a direct drive or a torque converter drive transmission system while the smaller ones are hydrostatically driven. Graders, both the large and mini ones are an integral part of the road maintenance fleets across the country. Though small in size, the mini grader are power-packed and their size helps the machine to operate successfully in small spaces.

Bright future ahead for mini graders

Given that nearly 80 stalled road projects have been cleared in recent months, Union Ministry for Road Transport has planned to increase the length of National Highways, government has announced four major corridor development projects such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, Amritsar-Kolkata, Vizag-Chennai and Bangalore-Mumbai, the overall motor grader market is expected to see a major boom. However, it is majorly the rural road construction segment that is expected to give a boost to the mini grader market in the country. In fact, in the Union Budget 2017-2018, an allocation of Rs19,000 crore has been made towards the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) to connect far-flung habitats. This is expected to surely give a boost to the mini grader market in the country.