4 Key Advantages of Wheeled Excavators versus Truck-mounted Excavators

As more county and city road departments look for cost-effective equipment, a common question I’m hearing is, “How do wheeled excavators compare to truck-mounted excavators?” There are pros to each product. However, wheeled excavators offer several advantages when it comes to road work and municipal projects.

Here are four ways wheeled excavators differentiate themselves from truck-mounted excavators:

  1. Two-piece articulating boom — Look for wheeled excavators with a two-piece articulating boom. It lets an operator stretch farther, dig deeper and closer to the machine and reach higher. This can be especially beneficial in giving operators more flexibility to go up, around and under obstacles like mailboxes, guardrails and bridges. Additionally, a two-piece boom can give you extra lift capacity in tight quarters. That touches on another differentiator: wheeled excavators typically have significant advantages over truck-mounted excavators when it comes to lift capacity and breakout force.
  2. 360-degree rotation and visibility — The 360-degree rotation of the Volvo wheeled excavator increases convenience, safety and productivity. An operator can really take advantage of the full rotation with a short radius models. They are great for road work because an operator does not have to close down a second lane of traffic. The Volvo cab gives full visibility from the operator’s seat into the trench. Outrigger pads give added stability and prevent damage to the asphalt. Wheeled excavator cabs also come with more visibility than truck-mounted excavators, so operators have a 360-degree view as well as into the trench from their seat.
  3. Attachments — Wheeled excavators can be the Swiss Army Knife of your fleet and prevent you from investing in multiple machines because they can utilize the same attachments as crawler excavators. One big attachment differentiator against a truck-mounted excavator is the Steelwrist tiltorotator, which you can see in action here. This game-changer allows the operator to spin the bucket 360 degrees and tilt +/- 45 degrees for greater flexibility. The Steelwrist can power everything from buckets, compactors and grapples to sweepers and a variety of work tools, as this video from a customer in Arizona shows. Wheeled excavators can also adeptly unload and set jersey barriers, as seen in this demonstration clip.
  4. Total cost of ownership — The cost-savings of purchasing a wheeled excavator goes beyond the initial purchase of the machine and continues throughout the excavator’s lifespan. No commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required for the wheeled excavator, meaning the same person who operates the machine can drive it. Compare that with a truck-mounted excavator, which you may need to support with both a driver with a CDL and an operator. Wheeled excavators can be fitted with a hitch to tow a trailer with multiple attachments and other job site equipment, eliminating the need for a separate tractor and low-boy to transport the excavator and attachments.

Each of these products has a place in the market, but the wheeled excavator offers municipalities several more ways to promote productivity, safety and cost savings. To learn more, check out Volvo’s lineup of wheeled excavators.

Municipalities switch from truck-mounted excavator to wheeled excavator

Local Texas officials are using cooperative purchasing to buy wheeled excavators to replace their truck-mounted excavators.


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The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is carved into 52,000 acres between Scottsdale, Fountain Hills and Mesa, Arizona, with the majestic Red Mountain as a backdrop. Location and the progressive attitude of its Tribal Council make it unlike any other Community in the United States.

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