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types of heavy equipment

Are You Familiar with these Types of Heavy Equipment?

Different types of heavy equipment are used when it comes to various construction, earthmoving, and other types of projects. The selection of these types of heavy equipment depends on the size and nature of the project one is working on. By utilizing heavy equipment, a job can be made much easier and prove to be more time-efficient.

Let’s take a look at five different types of heavy equipment that we train our students on, how they’re used, and what they’re used for.

Skid Steer

A skid steer is a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to connect a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments. They are typically four-wheel vehicles where the wheels are mechanically locked in synchronization on each side. The wheels on the left side have the capability to be driven independently of the wheels on the right side and vice versa. The wheels hold a fixed straight alignment on the body of the machine. Turning a skid steer is accomplished through differential steering, which is when the pairs of wheels on each side are operated at different speeds. The machine turns by “skidding” its fixed-orientation wheels across the ground.

Skid steers are designed for jobs that require power as well as the ability to maneuver within tight spaces. Skid steers are best used when it comes to jobs that require pushing or lifting as opposed to pulling or digging. They are regularly used in construction, landscaping, agriculture, demolition, forestry, and more.

Wheel Loader

A wheel loader is a tractor-like machine used to move aside, scoop up, and load loose material such as asphalt, debris, dirt, snow, gravel, or raw materials like rock, sand, wood, etc. into or onto another machine such as a dump truck or railroad car. It typically has wheels but sometimes is on tracks, with a front-mounted square wide bucket connected to the end of two arms, which allow it to scoop up material from the ground. A wheel loader is most commonly used to move material from the ground to deposit it into a dump truck. The connected bucket may either be removable or permanently mounted. If it’s removable, it can be replaced with other tools or devices. Replacement attachments might include forks used to lift heavy pallets or containers, or a clamshell bucket that allows the wheel loader to act as a bulldozer.


A compactor, which is also commonly referred to as a roller or steamroller, is an engineering vehicle that is used to compact soil, gravel, concrete, or asphalt during the construction of roads and foundations. Compactors use their weight to compress the surface they’re rolling over.

There are different kinds of compactors that are used for specific reasons. Smooth wheel rollers are used for compacting shallow layers of soil or asphalt, while sheep-foot rollers are used for deep compaction purposes. Pneumatic tired rollers are used for compacting fine-grained soils, asphalt layers, and more.


A backhoe is a heavy equipment vehicle that consists of a tractor-like unit fitted with a loader-style shovel/bucket on the front and a backhoe on the back. Its relatively small size and versatility in comparison to other heavy equipment make it a very common piece of equipment when it comes to urban engineering and smaller construction projects. A backhoe can be used for a variety of different tasks including construction, small demolitions, light transportation of building materials, powering building equipment, excavation, landscaping, breaking asphalt, and paving roads.

Their backhoe’s relatively small frame and precise control make it extremely useful in urban engineering projects such as construction and repairs in areas too small for larger equipment. Their versatility and compact size makes them one of the most popular urban construction vehicles. A tracked excavator is generally used in larger projects.

Off-Road Dump Truck

An off-road dump truck, also commonly referred to as an articulated hauler or dump hauler, is a large heavy-duty type of dump truck that is used to transport large quantities of material from one site to another, typically over rough terrain such as rocky, dirt roads.

Off-road dump trucks have large wheels with plenty of space, which allows them to carry large quantities of material across grounds of any condition. They also typically have an all-wheel drive. Steering is done by pivoting the front in relation to the back by hydraulic rams. All wheels follow the same path making it an excellent off-road vehicle.

Careers in Which This Equipment is Used

If you’re using the equipment mentioned above, you’re likely to be working in a heavy equipment operator role in the construction, landscaping, agriculture, demolition, or forestry industries. These roles continue to grow as the job outlook over the next decade shows an expected increase of around 10 percent.

Training Courses at Performance Training Solutions

At Performance Training Solutions, we offer four three-week-long training courses that allow you to develop the skills and knowledge required to become certified to operate heavy equipment. In order to learn how to operate the five pieces of heavy equipment that were covered above, an individual would have to enroll in our Heavy Equipment Operator I course. This is a three-week-long, 120-hour commitment that requires you to stay local to Columbus, Ohio until completion of the course. Heavy Equipment Operator I is a prerequisite to Heavy Equipment Operator II, in which you learn to operate bulldozers, excavators, motor graders, scrapers, and loaders.

Get Started On the Path to a New Career With PTS

Performance Training Solutions is a heavy equipment operator school located in Columbus, Ohio. As one of the top training schools in the country, we assist those who wish to pursue a career as a heavy equipment operator, crane operator, or a commercial truck driver. Our team of experienced trainers and admissions and career representatives are committed to helping our students succeed.

If you’re interested in either of the courses mentioned above or any of our additional courses, check out what you can expect. If you’d like to learn more about Performance Training Solutions, feel free to contact us today. Don’t forget to ask us how you can earn $500 off your tuition by scheduling a tour.

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