Not Just Buckets And Spades: Choosing Specialised Attachments When Hiring A Backhoe


Backhoes are some of the most versatile and useful pieces of heavy plant machinery and can be turned to a wide variety of uses beyond simple digging and loading. However, to take full advantage of a backhoe's versatility, you will need the right tool for the job — as such, backhoe manufacturers offer a wide range of specialised attachments which can be fitted to the backhoe's articulated arm, and which are offered for hire by many plant hire companies. Here are some of the most useful, along with their uses and things you should bear in mind when using them:


These devices resemble oversized pneumatic drills in form and function along very similar lines. However, with their increased size and the benefits of hydraulic power a backhoe-mounted breaker is a far more formidable piece of kit, which can be turned to a wide variety of uses. They are useful for breaking down large rocks, penetrating concrete floors and foundations, excavating frozen ground, and demolishing, with the backhoe's articulated arm providing the breaker with excellent reach for multi-storey demolitions.

If you choose to hire one of these attachments alongside a backhoe, ensure that the backhoe you have chosen is capable of dealing with the considerable weight and powerful vibrations created by breakers — you may require a backhoe with powerful shock absorbers or side struts to increase stability when the breaker arm is at full stretch. You should also ensure that the backhoe's engine and batteries have enough capacity to deal with the increased power draw of a breaker, as their use can dramatically increase fuel and power consumption.

Pallet forks

As their name would suggest, these attachments are used for lifting and moving pallets of materials and/or equipment, and essentially turn your backhoe into a makeshift but highly effective forklift. Choosing one of these attachments can help save on hiring costs since you will not need to hire a seperate forklift, and attaching the forks to an all-terrain backhoe allows you to move pallets over rough terrain that would otherwise be impassable.

If you opt for a pallet fork attachment, you will have to decide whether you want a dedicated pallet fork attachment or flip-over forks which can be attached to a conventional backhoe bucket. Flip-over forks are much quicker and easier to attach and remove, and do not require you to remove the backhoe's bucket before they can be used — however, they generally have lower maximum loading weights than dedicated fork attachments.

Log grapples

A common sight at logging sites and lumber mills, these devices can be tremendously useful if you are removing trees, telegraph poles etc. from a project site. They consist of a simple but incredibly powerful grabbing claw which can carry multiple logs at a time, significantly speeding up tree clearing operations. The blades of these claws are intentionally blunted to prevent undue damage to the logs, allowing them to be used for other purposes once cleared.

Log grapples are only suitable, however, if your backhoe's arm is capable of carrying the weight of multiple large logs, and a log grapple fitted to a smaller or less stable backhoe can be a recipe for disaster. You should also make sure that the grapple you choose is well suited to the sizes of the logs you wish to move. Going too small can put a dent in efficiency and waste valuable time, while oversized grapples can cause excessive gas usage.


18 November 2016

Maintaining heavy construction equipment

Heavy construction equipment can be quite expensive to replace, so it's important to maintain it properly. That involves doing some regular maintenance according to the correct service schedules as well as making sure that your operators know how to operate the equipment correctly. If you maintain your equipment, this maintenance can end up saving your business a lot of money down the track when you can extend the usable life of the equipment that you rely on. This blog has some tips on how you can easily maintain heavy construction equipment, including how you can train operates to extend lifecycles with sensible machine operation.