Heavy equipment or heavy machinery refers to heavy-duty vehicles, specially designed for executing construction tasks, most frequently ones involving earthwork operations or other large construction tasks. Heavy equipment usually comprises five equipment systems: implementation, traction, structure, power train, control and information.
Heavy equipment functions through the mechanical advantage of a simple machine, the ratio between input force applied and force exerted is multiplied, making tasks which could take hundreds of people and weeks of labor without heavy equipment far less intensive in nature. Some equipment uses hydraulic drives as a primary source of motion
The use of heavy equipment has a long history; the ancient Roman engineer Vitruvius (1st century BCE) gave descriptions of heavy equipment and cranes in ancient Rome in his treatise De architectura. The pile driver was invented around 1500. The first tunnelling shield was patented by Marc Isambard Brunel in 1818.
From horses, through steam, to diesel
Until the 19th century and into the early 20th century heavy machines were drawn under human or animal power. With the advent of portable steam-powered engines the drawn machine precursors were reconfigured with the new engines, such as the combine harvester. The design of a core tractor evolved around the new steam power source into a new machine core traction engine, that can be configured as the steam tractor and the steamroller. During the 20th century, internal-combustion engines became the major power source of heavy equipment. Kerosene and ethanol engines were used, but today diesel engines are dominant. Mechanical transmission was in many cases replaced by hydraulic machinery. The early 20th century also saw new electric-powered machines such as the forklift. Caterpillar Inc. is a present-day brand from these days, starting out as the Holt Manufacturing Company. The first mass-produced heavy machine was the Fordson tractor in 1917.
The first commercial continuous track vehicle was the 1901 Lombard Steam Log Hauler. The use of tracks became popular for tanks during World War I, and later for civilian machinery like the bulldozer. The largest engineering vehicles and mobile land machines are bucket-wheel excavators, built since the 1920s.
"Until almost the twentieth century, one simple tool constituted the primary earthmoving machine: the hand shovel - moved with animal and human powered, sleds, barges, and wagons. This tool was the principal method by which material was either sidecast or elevated to load a conveyance, usually a wheelbarrow, or a cart or wagon drawn by a draft animal. In antiquity, an equivalent of the hand shovel or hoe and head basket—and masses of men—were used to move earth to build civil works. Builders have long used the inclined plane, levers, and pulleys to place solid building materials, but these labor-saving devices did not lend themselves to earthmoving, which required digging, raising, moving, and placing loose materials. The two elements required for mechanized earthmoving, then as now, were an independent power source and off-road mobility, neither of which could be provided by the technology of that time."
Nowadays such is the importance of this machinery, some transport companies have developed specific equipment to transport heavy construction equipment to and from sites.
ARTICLES SOURCES : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_equipment