Useful information

Construction machinery / construction machines

- History, processes, applications and future

Everyone knows the shovel. However, it is not a construction machine as it is powered by human power. Tools have been used in construction work for thousands of years. The shovel is just one example of many tools, hooks, chisels and hammers were also known in the Stone Age.

We don't need to think long about the possibilities of building structures without using construction machinery. Almost everyone of us knows at least one of the 7 wonders of the world. Other good examples are structures such as palaces, castles and church buildings that were built long before industrialization. A book by Bodo W. Jaxtheimer is called "Thrown into the sky - the miracle of Gothic architecture". Not one of the buildings described and erected in the book was constructed using machine power. The builders knew levers, inclined planes, rollers, wedges, scaffoldings, pulley blocks and human strength. Animals were also often used for pulling.

Animal powers are also known from mining. There, too, ponies were often used as "construction machines", i.e. draft horses, in addition to human strength.

The areas of application for construction machinery are very diverse. These include civil engineering, building construction and mining. But that's not all. In the literature there is among other things also talk of civil engineering, for example tunnel construction, bridge construction, railway construction, road construction and hydraulic engineering.

The various areas of application of construction machines naturally have a long history. We will try to shed light on their range and show the most diverse areas of application.

The industrial revolution was also the starting point for the development of construction machinery. The steam engine drove the first excavator, also known as steam dredgers, and steam ships were also converted into floating dredgers. The construction machines are characterized by the fact that they are usually mobile and equipped with tools for processing soil or stone.

They are available for a wide variety of processes. In terms of technology, we distinguish these machines as follows:

This list does not claim to be complete. There are other categories and construction machines without which the construction of buildings or traffic routes would be inconceivable. These include tunnel construction equipment, bridge construction machinery, hydraulic engineering machines and generally also the cranes.

Drilling machines, as we describe and get to know them in metalworking, are of course also used in construction. These look different in mining than in tunnel construction. As hand drills, these are equipped with stone drills and the hammer function is also added. Here, too, there are many variants in the genus.

A very impressive example of drilling machines are the tunnel boring machines, which have huge drill heads with a diameter of several meters.

Furthermore, an extensive range of accessories and tools as independent categories of construction machines should not be missing. The accessories and tools include, for example:

We also follow this division of construction machines in terms of their functions when structuring the categories on our platform.

Automation is also finding its way into modern construction machinery. It spans among other things the following important areas:

What about the future of construction machinery?

The future of the construction industry is looking good. In addition to many new construction projects around the world, there is also a lot of work on the maintenance side. Only the bridges that need to be renovated are mentioned. The biggest problem here is the aging process of the reinforced concrete. Through cracks in the concrete, the reinforcement is attacked by the water ingress and, as is known, water that has penetrated acts like explosives in frost. Many bridges also have to be replaced by new buildings.

Evolution will not stop at construction machinery either. Modern materials and increasing demands on the products will determine the development steps, whereby the importance of sustainability will also increase in the construction industry. Recycling will become more important in the future. For example, old, crushed asphalt or other waste products can be mixed with fresh asphalt. Construction rubble (concrete, stones, mortar) can, in its crushed state, form the basis for new foundations in road, rail or house construction.

The architectural design is also subject to constant change. In many areas, glass and steel are replacing stone and concrete. The race for the tallest building in the world is still in full swing. Currently in 2020, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is the tallest building in the world at 828 m. This was completed in 2009 and officially opened in 2010.

The altitude mark of 1000 m will certainly be exceeded in the near future. One project that has been running since 2013 is the Jeddah Tower (formerly Kingdom Tower) in Saudi Arabia.

Science sees technical possibilities for buildings up to 2000 m high. However, this also means that many challenges and new developments are necessary in the associated building services. This applies, for example, to the elevators, the safety technology in the event of fire and the associated necessary evacuation concepts.

Other future projects include floating houses and cities, reclamation of land through drainage and increasing the earthquake resistance of buildings.

Ultimately, the only option left for the manufacturers of construction machinery is to adapt their products to the growing demands of the market. The fact remains, however, that the simple universal machines, e.g. excavators, demanded by the market. This should secure the future of construction machines in all its forms.

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