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Crawler Excavator: Function, Types, Pros and Cons

EquippedA crawler excavator is a heavy-duty piece of construction equipment that is primarily used for digging and lifting. It is equipped with a boom, dipper, and cab on a rotating platform known as the "house." 

The house sits atop an undercarriage with tracks or wheels, and is powered by a diesel engine. The operator sits in the cab and uses hydraulic controls to move the arm, bucket, and tracks.

Crawler Excavator

Crawler Excavator Function

A crawler excavator is a construction vehicle used to dig trenches, foundations, and other large excavations. It may also be used to lift and move materials. 

The excavator has a long arm attached to a pivoting cab that rotates a full 360 degrees. The arm is operated by a series of hydraulic cylinders that provide power and precision to the operator. 

The arm can be extended and retracted to reach distant points, as well as raised and lowered to dig at various depths. It typically includes a blade at the front to loosen up soil and a bucket at the end to scoop up and move soil and debris.

Crawler Excavator Benefit

Crawler excavators offer a number of benefits to users. These include:

  1. High maneuverability - Crawler excavators are easy to maneuver in tight or cramped spaces, making them well-suited for use in residential and urban construction projects.
  2. Versatility - Crawler excavators are versatile machines, capable of performing a variety of tasks such as digging, grading, and trenching. This makes them a great choice for contractors looking to get the most out of their equipment.
  3. Durability - Crawler excavators are built to last, with robust frames and components designed to withstand the toughest jobsites.
  4. Safety - All crawler excavators are equipped with rollover protection systems and other safety features to help protect operators.
  5. Low Maintenance - Crawler excavators require less maintenance than many other types of heavy machinery, making them a cost-effective option.

Crawler Excavator Advantages and Disadvantages 


  • Crawler excavators are highly maneuverable and can navigate rough terrain with ease.
  • They require minimal maintenance and are easy to operate.
  • These machines are capable of digging deep into the ground, making them ideal for many applications.
  • Their tracks provide stability and superior traction.
  • They can be fitted with specialized attachments for a variety of tasks.


  • Crawler excavators are expensive to purchase and maintain.
  • They are large and heavy and can cause damage to the ground they are operating on.
  • They are susceptible to damage from rocks and other debris.
  • They require a large amount of fuel to operate.
  • They are not suitable for use in confined areas due to their size.

Crawler Excavator Types

The following are several types of crawler excavators that are often used for building construction:

1. Backhoe Loader

A backhoe loader is a type of excavator that consists of a tractor unit, equipped with a loader-style shovel at the front and a backhoe at the rear.

2. Long Reach Excavator 

A long reach excavator is a type of excavator that has been modified to extend the reach of its arm. This allows it to reach deeper into the ground, making it ideal for digging deep foundations and trenches.

3. Wheeled Excavator 

A wheeled excavator is a type of excavator that is equipped with wheels instead of tracks. This makes them more maneuverable, and they are often used in urban areas where space is limited.

4. Compact Excavator 

A compact excavator is a type of construction machinery used to excavate and move soil and other materials. It is smaller than a traditional excavator and is typically used in confined spaces, such as urban areas or areas with limited access. 

Compact excavators are typically powered by diesel engines, though some models have electric motors. These machines have a variety of attachments that can be used for different tasks such as digging, drilling, and trenching. Compact excavators are often used for landscaping, utility work, demolition, and general construction tasks.

5. Dragline Excavator 

A dragline excavator is a large piece of excavation equipment used to excavate large volumes of soil and rock. It is most often used in the mining industry for the excavation of coal, lignite, and other minerals. 

The dragline excavator consists of a large boom, which is suspended from a crane, and a digging bucket suspended from the boom by a cable or chain. The boom is operated by a large motor and the digging bucket is operated by an additional motor. The operator controls the excavator from a cab located at the base of the crane.

6. Hydraulic Excavator 

A hydraulic excavator is a heavy construction machine that uses a hydraulic system to power its movements and attachments. It is one of the most versatile and widely used pieces of construction equipment in the world. 

Hydraulic excavators are used for a variety of tasks such as digging, grading, demolition, material handling, and even forestry and mining operations. They are capable of a wide range of movement and have attachments that can be tailored to the job site. Hydraulic excavators are operated by a skilled operator who is usually trained in the safe operation of the equipment.

7. Rope Shovel Excavator 

A rope shovel excavator is an excavator that operates using a large steel rope shovel mounted on an excavator arm. It is used to dig and move large quantities of material, such as soil, rocks and other debris. The rope shovel excavator is typically used in mining applications and is one of the most powerful and efficient excavators available.

8. Ladder Excavator

A ladder excavator is an excavator that is equipped with a ladder-like attachment that is used to reach higher areas. The ladder excavator is mostly used for digging trenches or for digging in areas that have limited access.

9. Cable Excavator 

A cable excavator is a type of excavator that uses cables instead of hydraulic arms to move the digging bucket. This makes them ideal for digging in areas where hydraulic arms may not be able to reach, such as narrow trenches or deep.

10. Trencher Excavator

A trencher excavator is an excavator that is equipped with a trencher attachment. A trencher is a digging machine used for digging trenches, laying pipes and cables, and other underground construction. The trencher excavator is often used for construction projects that require trenches to be dug in hard-to-reach areas.