How construction vehicles have evolved

How construction vehicles have evolved

Construction vehicles have grown dramatically throughout history, with the growth and advancement in different technologies, vehicles have gone from relying on human or animal power to dominant diesel engines, and more recently, to electric powered and renewable-energy powered machines. Mobile machines such as Sandvik mobile rock crushers are also beginning to take centre stage in the construction industry.image

Ancient Egyptians built huge stone structures and did so with relatively limited construction equipment and vehicles. They won’t have had any idea of the appropriate level of safety needed on a construction site either. Nowadays, keeping safe when working in construction is a hot topic. There is an increase in clothing items such as ear defenders, welding knee pads, steel toed boots… you name it! The transportation of materials generally consisted of massive stones being moved over great distances using rollers, ropes and sledges with a huge number of workers involved in the process. Moving forward in history, one construction method that was attributed to the Ancient Greeks was the crane. With the advancement of Greek mathematics, the Ancient Greeks would have employed their understanding of the principles of pulleys which enabled them to build jibs and cranes to lift the stonework. The Romans further advanced the Greek designs of cranes and used sophisticated timber cranes in order to lift weights to great heights. These days, we have much more evolved systems, take crane remote control systems for example, these make the whole ordeal much safer for those involved.

The industrial revolution is what took construction vehicles to new heights. With the introduction of railways, canals and macadam roads, the construction industry began to use these new forms of transportation to move materials and workers around. This paved the way for steam engines to be created, which led to further materials and construction evolutions.

Standard construction vehicles such as the dump truck were first thought to have been found in the late 19th century in Western Europe on farms. Steam dust-carts were first developed in 1896 by Thornycroft, the first motorized dump trucks in the US were developed by small companies such as the Fruehauf Trailer Corporation and Galion Buggy Co., and hydraulic dump beds were introduced by Wood Hoist Co. These began to flourish during World War 1. Now there is a huge range of different types of dump trucks and other construction vehicles to suit different ground types, different weather conditions and suitable to hold and carry different weight loads.

The early 20th century saw a second industrial revolution, with elevators and steel cranes beginning to make skyscrapers and high-rise buildings possible and by the end of the 20th century, ecology, energy conservation and sustainable development because important, with this affecting the way construction vehicles were made.

Mobile construction vehicles are now becoming the foundation of construction sites in addition to greener construction vehicles that control their pollution levels, use cleaner diesel or use high-pressure diesel injectors which cut harmful nitrogen oxides. Even the basic vehicle equipment such as a plate compactor for asphalt pavement construction is becoming more powerful, yet more sustainable as well. This all helps to optimise air management and is becoming an important niche for the construction industry, with the emphasis on greener construction becoming vital.

The evolution of construction vehicles has been a long one, and it will continue to evolve for as long as new technologies are being introduced. From man-powered vehicles such as pulling ramps, to eco-friendly vehicles that run off renewable energy with a strong focus on reducing the environmental impact construction vehicles have. Each civilisation in history has impacted hugely on the construction industry, and with a third industrial revolution on the horizon with the growth in eco-friendly vehicles, construction vehicles are looking to continue to grow and gradually improve the productivity of the construction industry as all other evolutions have done.

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