Have you ever questioned the impact of equipment on your construction productivity? Well, you may not need all the equipment sold in the market but there are technologies you should consider using in your business to help boost your team’s productivity. What are they? How to leverage them at the site? Find out here.
The construction industry today is greatly different from the one of the past. There have been many remarkable changes and advancements not only in terms of the structures that are today being built and the tools that are being used but most importantly in the techniques and methods that are available now for the actual construction works. In the inevitable scenario of infrastructure development, labor shortage and non-availability of skilled manpower, mechanization, and automation of construction activity plays a vital role. Another area gaining popularity is the mechanization in respect of transportation of men and material.
Today’s construction equipment is greatly high-tech. Most are now automated and we’ve mentioned in a previous blog how automation has revolutionized the industry. They allowed crew members to eliminate imperfection in the site and delays, hence increasing construction productivity by a higher percentage.
In the absence of much modern construction equipment, professionals are skeptical about whether one can complete some of the modern-day projects. Innovations in the field of construction equipment have reached new heights and pieces of equipment are being re-designed to reduce carbon footprint, air, and noise pollution. They are now turning into green equipment.
Importance of Equipment for Construction Productivity
It’s similar to our argument in our blog about automation in construction. They make the work lighter and faster and faster while ensuring the results are more accurate. However, proper use of appropriate equipment is needed to achieve economy, quality, safety, speed, and on-time completion of projects.
Construction equipment forms an important part of any construction project. But it is not always possible for contractors to own each and every type. First, they can be really expensive and second, they can be costly to maintain. This is why some contractors resort to construction equipment rental.
Criteria for Selecting Equipment to Boost Construction Productivity
Like we mentioned, you won’t need all the construction equipment in your projects. When you are focused on one type of construction project (e.g. building construction or dam construction or highway construction) then get only those that are necessary for your specialization.
Here are some factors that should affect your decision in selecting construction equipment to buy:
- Availability of equipment in your country/state/city to avoid costly shipping
- Suitability of job condition with special reference to climatic or operating condition
- Ease of maintenance and purchase of parts
- Size of equipment
- Unit cost of production or cost of operation and how much does it contribute to your construction productivity
- Availability of local operators
Those said, let’s look into some of the construction equipment types usually used in construction.
Types of Construction Equipment
Surveying equipment like Theodolites are used for measuring horizontal and vertical angles and are important in surveying and engineering works. Some types of this equipment include:
- Total Stations
- Automatic Level
- Abney Levels
Whatever project you are working on, earth excavators are almost always necessary. They fall under heavy equipment and consist of a boom, bucket, and control cab on a rotating platform. The cab which sits on top of an undercarriage with tracks or wheels controls all movement and functions of the excavator and is accomplished through the use of hydraulic fluid, be it with rams or motors. Excavators are used in many ways and for many purposes by changing the attachments.
Some types include:
- Compact Excavator
- Crawler Excavator
- Wheeled Excavator
- Backhoe Loader
- Dragline Excavator
- Power Shovel
- Bucket Wheel Excavator
Dozers are powerful machines for pushing earth or rocks and are typically used in road and building construction as well as wrecking. It consists of a heavy, broad steel plate mounted at the front of a tractor. Sometimes, it uses a four-wheel-drive tractor. The plate may be lifted and forced down by hydraulic rams.
Bulldozers are also used for pushing earth and rocks using the blade installed at the equipment’s front. Large-sized bulldozers normally have a set of claws called a ripper that is installed at the machine’s rear and can crush hard rock. Swamp bulldozers are equipped with an undercarriage that is configured to enable them to freely move around on marshy land. As a fellow machine, there is a pipe-laying machine that lays down a large steel pipe in the construction of a pipeline and a dozer shovel for loading.
There are two main types of rollers used in construction. The first is the Single Drum Vibratory Rollers which are used to compact all types of soil with the exception of rock fill. They are suitable for road construction, dam construction, industrial construction, and airfield and harbor projects.
The second one is the Road Roller. It uses its weight to compress the surface being rolled. Initial compaction is done using the pneumatic tired roller. The flexibility of the tires with a certain amount of movement of the wheels enables the roller to operate effectively on uneven ground. The finish is done using metal-drum rollers to ensure a smooth, even result.
Compactors have a number of different applications. They are used in areas where it is not possible to use a full-size compactor. This includes such applications as compacting the fill over a trench, compacting soil around a footing, or working in areas where large equipment might cause damage to adjacent structures or property. Some types include:
- Earth compactors
- Plate compactors
Also known as a road grader, this equipment is a construction machine with a long blade used to create a flat surface. In other countries, grader equipment is used to create drainage ditches with shallow V-shaped cross-sections on either side of highways. Graders are commonly used in the construction and maintenance of dirt roads and gravel roads. Similarly, graders are used for leveling surfaces during earthwork embankments.
Tunneling equipment is used to excavate tunnels with a circular cross-section through a variety of soil. There can bore through hard rock, sand, and almost anything in between.
Cranes come in different types. They are frequently used for shifting of concrete, masonry blocks, labor, reinforcement, and other miscellaneous products.
Typical cranes are used to lift and place loads. Modifications on basic crane structure allow it to be used for other activities such as dredging and pile driving.
A crane is a lifting machine generally equipped with a winder, wire, ropes, or chains, and sheaves that can be used for lifting and lowering things and move them horizontally too. Common types include:
- Rough Terrain
- Side Lift
- All Terrain
- Lifting Hoist
You may be hiring your concrete contractor but if you happen to have a pro in your team, then this concrete equipment may be a good investment. The role of concrete equipment plays a vital role in the construction and they vary from simple 10/7 mixers to complicated, computerized batching plants. Concrete production involves batching, mixing, handling and transportation, placing, finishing, curing as per the desired specs. Some concrete equipment used in construction sites include:
- Hand fed tilting mixers
- Loader fed tilting drum mixers
- Reversing Drum mixers
- Roller Pan mixer
- Transit mixers
- Concrete dumpers
- Concrete pumps
- Placer booms
- Line pumps
- Batching plants
Bar Bending and Shearing Machines
The cutting and bending of steel are some of the most important activities in any kind of construction or infrastructure projects. In the traditional method of cutting and bending, there is a possibility of inaccuracies creeping in. This is avoided by using this kind of construction equipment. Skilled and trained operators are needed to operate his special machines that use different dies for different sizes of bars.
A power trowel or power float or trowel machine is used to obtain a smooth, uniform, flat surface doing away with manual inaccuracies. Power trowels can be generally classified based on the way they are controlled.
It is mandatory to level and compact the concrete surface prior to the use of Power Trowel. It is also essential to trowel at the correct time. The operator must wait until the soft concrete hardens sufficiently to take the weight of the machine.
Pile Driving Equipment
A pile is a structural member that is driven into the ground to provide support for a structure. Piles are made from timber, concrete, or steel, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be driven into the ground vertically or at an angle. The material, size, and angle of the piles used on a project are determined during the design phase. These characteristics will impact the type of pile driving the equipment that the contractor uses.
Tools for Effective Productivity
Plaster spray machines-plaster sprayers enable us to apply up to five times faster than the traditional methods and can reach up to 80 meters height. Most of the plaster spray machines prefer ready mix plaster. Plastering Machine is particularly designed for the building and construction industry to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Some of their advantages include:
- Better quality plastering
- Eliminates leakage, cracking, and peeling of dried plaster
- Reduces manpower
- Faster plastering
- Low maintenance and downtime
Simple Equipment Productivity Tips
Most people think that investing in heavy equipment will ensure construction productivity. But as we said, you can achieve better productivity from it at the site when you know how to use it properly and maintain it. Hence, big companies, as well as small contractors, need to take some precautions so as to ensure better and faster productivity at the construction site, thereby, ensuring the timely execution of the projects.
Here are some tips to ensure maximum construction productivity of the heavy equipment at the site
- Read and follow the construction equipment manufacturer’s instructions and maintenance tips. It can help you to operate the machine efficiently.
- Ensure that the employee who is operating the construction equipment is skilled and trained in doing so, as inexperienced employees can damage the machinery or even injure themselves or others, causing delays and increasing cost.
- Before starting the day, check the machine thoroughly.
- Check the machine at the end of the day too to find out any possible damage.
- Clean the parts that made the most contact with the soil and debris.
- Use fuel that is prescribed by the manufacturer and avoid adulterated fuel which can reduce the life and productivity of the equipment.
- Keep the engine completely shut off while refueling the equipment.
- Follow a periodic maintenance schedule, which would have notations on how often each part of the machinery should be inspected for problems, repairs and general maintenance. This way, you can ensure the proper functioning of the machine and maximum usage for a longer period.
- Keep the equipment properly greased and lubricated. Proper greasing of all moving parts of the equipment is also absolutely necessary in order to save them from failing to work and creating excess friction leading to severe wear and tear of the machinery, frequent breakdowns, and shorter life span.
- Lubricate the equipment wisely with the recommended grade of grease.
- Make sure that you replace original parts in your construction equipment as otherwise there could be major defaults in the long run.
- Make sure that each tire has the right pressure as this can help in lessening tire wear. Also, you need to check for any cuts and replace the tires when needed.
- CE parts are fitted with special seals and filters designed to keep dirt and grime out of sensitive areas. Hence, broken seals must be repaired immediately, breathers must be kept clean and all filters should be inspected regularly and changed when they become dirty or clogged.
- Pay close attention to wear and tear signs too as they may signal problems that can cause machinery to malfunction more often or result in costly repairs or component replacements before your regular inspection. Some common signs of wear and tear are vibration, heat and belt shape.
- Ensure you follow all the safety guidelines and the workers are also aware of the safety norms so as to minimize accidents.
There is a lot of construction equipment that can benefit firms in terms of achieving optimum performance and productivity. The choice of using suitable machinery depends upon the awareness of availability of such machines in the market and their usability in your project. It is also important to master the art of proper equipment scheduling and you can do this with the help of construction management software like Pro Crew Schedule.