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What is a backhoe?

A backhoe is a construction machine that is used to perform excavation work on various terrains. It is also commonly called a backhoe loader, an excavator, a loader, or a front loader.

The main elements characteristic of the backhoe are:

  1. A bucket located on the front, which allows for moving earth and debris.
  2. An excavator arm located in the back, which has an excavation capacity of approximately 4 meters deep, though some can reach 7 meters.

Inside the backhoe cab, there’s a seat that rotates so that the person operating it can control both functions: loading and excavation. 

Backhoes can be used in a wide variety of jobs, such as construction on buildings, roads, and public works, and even for the mining industry.

What is the difference between a backhoe and an excavator?

While the backhoe is a variant of the excavator, each has certain particularities that set them apart, specifically in the areas of design and functions. Some of them are:

  • The excavator is larger in size, and it has more load capacity than the backhoe, which is smaller and more versatile to carry out certain tasks in excavation, loading, and collecting materials in hard-to-reach spaces.
  • The excavator has more power and capacity, so they are usually used for jobs that are large-scale and more complex, while backhoe loaders can be used as support machinery or to perform work on a smaller scale.
  • Unlike excavators, backhoes have another scoop in addition to the front bucket for digging.

What are the main features of a backhoe?

  • Speed and quality of excavation, which makes them ideal for the construction sector.
  • Impact on the ground from top to bottom and from the front to the machine itself.
  • Flexible, safe movement.
  • Capacity to transport large quantities of material according to its size, excavator arm, and bucket. 
  • Cost savings thanks to their agility and speed, which reduces the need to invest in other equipment.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Significant digging power and force.
  • Wide field of vision in the cab, which is ideal for the operator.
  • Low energy consumption despite its large size and weight.

What types of backhoes are there?

Backhoes can be:

  1. On tires: the undercarriage moves on rubber wheels. Stability during use comes from stabilizers independent of the wheels.
  2. On chains: the chassis is supported by two parallel chains.

What are the parts of a backhoe?

  • Tractor: this serves as both a vehicle and a support. It has a counterweight to balance the movements generated during operation.
  • Boom: the element located at the back of the machine connected at its front, specifically to the right of the operator’s cab. It can consist of one or two pieces, and they determine how far the machine can reach.
  • Unloading cylinder: based on a hydraulic system. The arm rests on it and connects to the vertex of the unloading lever. It is responsible for controlling the bucket’s movements.
  • Bucket: the container that holds the excavated material. It has teeth on its edge to grip and remove materials.
  • Excavator arm: the boom is at one of its ends, and the bucket is at the other.  
  • Unloading lever: composed of two pieces that serve to rotate the bucket, either to empty it or to fill it.
  • Lifting cylinder: a hydraulic cylinder. It rests on the tractor and is connected to the boom elbow to lower or raise it.
  • Transmission: it has four speeds that let you change the forward and backward movement of the backhoe smoothly and quickly, thus facilitating greater control in handling the load. It also has a dump button on the lever, which you can use to reduce the loading time and control the engine power.
  • Hydraulic system: circuits that control the movement of all the backhoe’s cylinders.
  • Cab: the interior part with a panoramic view, where the operator’s seat, controls, and electronic immobilizer for locking the engine functions are located.
  • Arm cylinder: this consists of a hydraulic system located at the base of the boom and attached to the front end of the excavator arm to control its movements.

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