How Long Do Excavators Last?

The excavators used by most contractors last around five years. Excavators produced by the most common manufacturers of this product are guaranteed 9800-10,000 work hours. So, an average 40-hour workweek roughly translates into five years of life expectancy. If you’re looking for the absolute life expectancy, excavators can work for more than 20 years (with lots of maintenances). However, this number may vary depending on the type, operating conditions, manufacturer, usage, and maintenance of the machine. 

The type of excavator is one of the most critical aspects of its life expectancy. Excavators are classified into several categories based on their size, usefulness, manufacturer, and other factors. They can, however, be classified into seven major groups.

New vs old excavators

It’s common for businesses and individuals to rely on old excavators because these are affordable. Used excavators are often exported to less developed countries and these machines eventually serve for 20+ years after several maintenance sessions.

  1. Crawler excavator

This excavator runs on two rotating tracks instead of wheels, much like a tank. It is suitable for uneven terrains as it can balance well on it is rotating tracks. So, it is ideal for mining, landscape grading, and trench digging. It is powered by hydraulics and moves at a comparatively slower pace.

  1. Wheeled excavator

Wheeled excavators offer the same functionality is like the crawler excavators except, for one thing, they run on wheels instead of tracks.  so instead of rough terrains, they are most suitable for jobs on flat or hard surfaces.  but they offer more speed and easier maneuverability.

  1. Suction excavator 

Suction excavators, sometimes known as vacuum excavators, are ideal for delicate operations, cleanup, and underground construction projects. With a suction pipe, the risk of damaging the surrounding region or subterranean services is reduced. As a result, they are far better suited to precise and careful excavation.

  1. Long reach excavator

Contractors utilize these excavators to access regions that are difficult to reach. They allow for far more efficient excavating from a safe distance. They usually come with an extending arm with a range of 40 to 100 feet, making them ideal for demolition operations that take place over a river or a lake. They are also typically driven on two rails, similar to crawler excavators.

  1. Hydraulic shovel

Hydraulic shovels are noted for their powerful engines and big bucket capacity, which make them ideal for mining and heavy digging projects. They are also hydraulic-powered and well-suited to jobs that demand heavy lifting and transportation of big quantities of materials.

  1. Dragline excavators

Dragline excavators are larger than conventional excavators and operate utilizing distinct mechanics. They are appropriate for deep pile driving, harbor building, surface mining, deep excavation, road excavation, and underwater operations and have a digging depth of more than 200 feet. They also run on two sets of tracks.

  1. Skid Steers

Running on wheels, skid steers are the smallest types of excavators.  The distinguishing feature of a skid steer is that the boom and bucket face away from the driver. Skid Steers are most commonly used for small projects and residential works such as site clearing, debris removal, and pool cleaning.

The difference in types results in the operating position time and condition and the terrain of the excavator. A skid steer may be used regularly by municipal areas whereas a long-reach excavator may only be used in demolition projects or dredging. This will make a significant impact in the excavator’s lifespan.

Extend the Life of Your Excavator

So, considering all the factors, we’re curious as to how the excavator’s life expectancy might be extended. The following elements should be addressed in order to extend the life of most excavators.

  • Proper Maintenance

Just like any other heavy machinery, the longevity of excavators is subject to proper maintenance. While operating an excavator, the operator needs to follow three checklists: the pre-start checklist, the start checklist, and the shutdown checklist. It is important to assure that all checklists are completed on a regular basis.

  • Proper selection of the size of the excavator for the project

carefully selected before deployment in a project. Assessment is required in advance through background checks and engineering. The majority of the problems may be traced back to incorrect excavator sizing.

  • Proper selection of the type of the excavator for the project

Depending on the terrain, the surrounding environment, and the excavator’s operations, selecting the correct type of excavator is also critical. They must be chosen according to the objective.

  • Following the manufacturer’s manual

Like any other piece of heavy machinery, excavators come with an operating manual from the manufacturer. It serves as a manual for operating the machine properly. As a result, troubleshooting and scheduling must be done according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Recruiting experienced and skillful operators

Machines are, after all, controlled by humans and hence prone to human error. To reduce this, skilled individuals must operate the machines. Human error can be reduced by providing training and creating proper working conditions including occupational health safety for the operators.

  • Following the standard operating procedures

The standard operating procedure is created for most projects that require the usage of excavators. It must be adhered to at all times, and any deviation is strongly discouraged.

  • Cleaning the hydraulic system regularly

Hydraulic mechanisms are installed on all excavators. As a result, constant maintenance of the hydraulic system is required. The oil level should be checked, and the components cleaned thoroughly and regularly. 

To ensure the smooth operation of an excavator and secure longer operating time there are these are a few recommendations

  • Maintaining the right levels of coolant, engine oil, and hydraulic oil
  • Ensuring that the compartments and animation are free of leaks.
  • Checking for debris in the glands and removing them
  • Verifying that the teeth are present and in good shape in the bucket.
  • Greasing all pins and bushings on a daily basis
  • Checking for loose balls on the track and in the undercarriage.
  • Ensuring there are no bent shoes on the tracks because this has a snowball effect on other shoes.
  • Regularly inspecting the sprocket and driver at the rear of the truck for oil leaks
  • Cleaning and replacing air and fuel filters according to the operation manual’s instructions
  • Maintaining adequate lubrication and cleanliness of the swing bearing and swing gear 
  • Keeping a detailed record of all maintenance actions for future reference

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