Mini excavators are, as the name suggests, smaller than standard excavators but still a powerful tool. This gives them an increased versatility due to their compact footprint and lighter weight. They are generally used for small to medium jobs that are too large to accomplish with hand tools alone. It is worth assessing the scope of project, ground type and space limitations before mini or micro excavator hire. Mini excavators come in a range of sizes and hire prices and mini excavator hire costs can be surprisingly reasonable.
A mini excavator should only be operated by a trained, experienced user. Like any large piece of equipment, they can be dangerous to the user and other workers if used incorrectly. It is also very easy for an inexperienced user to damage the equipment and work area. It is always important to read any instructions or manuals supplied with the excavator thoroughly before starting work. This will familiarise the operator with specific controls and performance limitations. The machine and controls should be tested in a clear, level area before work starts. This allows the operator to get a feel for how the specific model performs.
There are several physical attributes that make mini excavators more suitable than their larger counterparts.
The smaller size of mini and micro excavators allows them to work in work areas of restricted size. This makes them ideal for working in warehouses, car parks, or crowded worksites. Their smaller size also lowers the chance of inadvertently damaging the work area and endangering other workers. Despite their smaller size, they are still a powerful piece of equipment compared to manpower alone.
Lighter weight means less damage to soft or loose ground under the equipment. For landscaping or work on private property, a mini excavator is far less likely to damage the surface of the work area. Larger equipment with heavy metal tracks is likely to do more harm than good in these cases.
While some smaller jobs could be accomplished with hand tools and manpower, this can be a slow process. Mini excavator hire will speed the work up considerably, saving time and reducing labour costs.
Whether used for construction or demolition, mini excavators can be equipped with a wide range of excavator attachments. These include compactor plates, augers, buckets, rippers, excavators and many more. This versatility means several different jobs can be completed with the same equipment, saving time and money.
Depending on the model, mini excavators can be equipped with wheels or tracks. For solid surfaces such as concrete, roads or for interior work (such as warehouses ), wheels are ideal. Tracks can be made from rubber or metal and each suit different surfaces. Metal tracks are ideal for loose or rough ground, such as gravel or rocks and are ideal for forestry work. Non slip rubber tracks are better suited to smooth surfaces or those that are easily damaged. For landscaping and similar jobs these are ideal as they distribute the weight of the excavator without damaging soft ground.
Obviously excavators are used for digging, but there are a wealth of specialised digging jobs where mini excavators excel. Their narrow bucket size is ideal for digging narrow trenches to install drains, utility cables and gas mains. Similarly they are perfect for creating irrigation or drainage ditches for farm work or agriculture. An Auger attachment can create vertical holes for installing foundations, fence poles and building supports. Mini excavators are also perfectly suited to accessing broken or damaged drains, sewers or underground pipes in confined spaces.
The use of wheels or rubber tracks allows mini excavators to work on soil or soft ground with minimal damage. They can also access crowded forested areas with limited space to work for clearance or digging. The range of attachments allow ground flattening, stump removal, planting and removal of heavy debris. In addition to clearance, they can also be used to transport new materials to the site and distribute them appropriately. An auger attachment makes it easy to dig large numbers of holes for replanting trees or similar forestry projects.
Smaller structures such as sheds, garages or barns can be easily demolished using a mini excavator. Where demolition by hand would be difficult, time consuming and dangerous but a large excavator is unnecessary, mini excavators excel. They still have the power to quickly and easily complete the job and reduce the number of workers needed. Not only do they reduce the need for multiple tools and manpower, they can easily clear the site afterwards.
Large scale home renovation jobs will automatically involve limited access and work areas too small for larger equipment. For digging out and installing swimming pools or large water features, mini excavators bring the power and reach needed. Their zero tail swing, where the cab rotates within the footprint of the tracks allows work in cramped spaces. For large paved areas and patios, existing surfaces such as concrete can be easily broken up and removed. Ground levelling, transport of materials and installation can then be quickly completed with a mini excavator. Their quiet engines also make them a good choice for work in urban areas where noise pollution could be an issue.
Mini excavators can be used for a wide variety of clearance jobs, industrial and domestic. They are ideally suited to clearing roads of storm debris, collapsed banks and rubble or heavy snowfall. Mini excavators are also well suited to clearing demolition and construction debris on worksites with limited access or cramped spaces.
The examples above give a broad overview of the many jobs mini excavators are suited to, but there are many more. At SERV Plant Hire we provide plant and equipment hire to the construction industry across the North West of England. We have a wide range of mini excavators and attachments available for hire to suit any job. Contact us to discuss your needs and we will be glad to help.