Dry land or waterway
When choosing what type of excavator to purchase, one of the most important questions is where will the equipment be used – either land or water. This is a key factor because excavation occurs in different types of environments, whether it be dry land, soggy water-laden marshlands, or waterways such as rivers, lakes, and harbors. If the environment that the excavator is to be used is dry land perhaps an excavator fitted with tracks or wheels is most appropriate; but if the environment is a waterway then an excavator with amphibious capabilities could be the best choice.
As a perfect accompaniment to amphibious excavators are sectional amphibious barges. Amphibious barges are used to transport large volumes of material that are removed by the excavator. Once the barge is filled to capacity, it transports the material to the desired location so that the barge can be off-loaded. Amphibious barges are designed with paddle wheels and hydraulic thrusters that propel the barge through the water. They can be used in shallow or deeper water and are an essential part of a dredging operation.
Another consideration pertaining to the environment is ground structure. Is the ground structure that the excavator is to be used soft or unable to support the heavyweight of the machine? Is the ground structure hard and compact, or a surface that can be damaged such as a pre-graded finished dirt surface for building structures, or asphalt surface that is susceptible to damage by a tracked vehicle? These are important questions because there are options related to how an excavator comes into contact with the ground surface that the machine will be used.
For softer surfaces such as sand or loose gravel, an excavator with tracks can be the best choice for the job. In an environment where the surface is hard or made of a material that might become damaged from a tracked vehicle, a wheeled excavator can be the appropriate selection.
For extreme terrains such as sloped hillsides and remote locations, there are excavators such as spider (AKA walking) excavators that are specifically designed for use in these types of environments. These types of machines can traverse areas where maneuvering an excavator could be considered impossible.
Environments Requiring Precision and Safety
For environments that require precision, or where safety is critical, there are excavator accessories that can provide GPS positioning so that the excavation attachment only comes in contact with the specific area to be excavated or graded. This type of equipment can be of particular value when working around underground piping and cables that cannot be damaged.