Up until I became a father, I really had no interest in the subject of big vehicles. For whatever reason, I was more geared towards things like books and animals than I was the machines that got the work done for humans in today's hyper-industrial world. However, I realized when my first son turned one that I was going to have to expand my horizons somewhat, because it was very clear that he had an inborn fascination with any big machine. Fortunately, a new show for preschoolers called Mighty Machines had just become popular, so Marcus and I started to undergo our education about these industrial vehicles at the same time.
What I did not realize is just how many different types of industrial vehicles there are operating in the world today. As the beginning song on Mighty Machines states, they "build up buildings so high, soar into the sky", etc. On this page we are going to take a look at a lot of different things concerning the many types of "mighty machines" that make our lives possible today.
Some common qualities of industrial vehicles:
Through the research I have conducted using Mighty Machines and sources slightly more professional, I have come up with a list of things that seem to unite all industrial type vehicles.
They are expensive. First and perhaps most importantly, all industrial vehicles are very expensive. And not just for the original purchase, either; these babies are really expensive to operate. No matter what they are used for, industrial vehicles use a lot more fuel than any other type of vehicle (no matter how big they are; a Bobcat, for example, will use much more fuel than even a 1/2 ton passenger truck). This is because they are meant to work. Industrial vehicles will also need a lot of money committed in the area of maintenance. Unlike personal vehicles, however, industrial vehicles do not tend to depreciate rapidly.
They need minimal operators. One of the great things about industrial vehicles is that despite the incredible size of many of them, they generally only need one person to operate them (one driver). Sure, planes have co-pilots, but that is really only for emergencies. The real doozy is that industrial machines require a lot more than driving, there are also the specific operations they are meant to carry out. So, the operator has to have a good understanding of what all the buttons, levers, and other types of actions will cause the machine to do.
They make a lot of noise! For most types of industrial machine, the noise generated is much more than with similar sized vehicles. Operators need to use ear protection when they are in one of these machines.
So much for similarities. Let's get into some of the different types of industrial machines that are out there.
THE LITTLE GUYS
While the industrial vehicles that my son tends to be drawn to are quite huge, there are dozens of industrial vehicles that in fact are no bigger than your average sized compact car. These are used mostly for quick on site transportation of goods, and include things like small forklifts (though these come in a wide variety of sizes), bobcats, and so on.
The original industrial vehicles, farm machines allowed people to beat projected food shortages by bringing in larger harvests quicker than anyone could have guessed. These include tractors (again, there are all sorts of sizes here), combines, reapers, and the list goes on.
All industries require the movement of goods from place to place, and usually this shipping takes place in bulk. All sorts of different vehicles are required to get goods from one place to another, including ships and semi trucks.
Some types of industrial vehicles in this category transport humans; airplanes and APCs are two different kinds of industrial people carriers.
For Marcus, it was the construction category of industrial vehicles that first grabbed his attention. These are truly fascinating vehicles because of what they can get accomplished in a day, and I have to agree with my son that they are fun to watch. Wrecking balls, cranes, bulldozers, and big forklifts all fall under this category. Or for some relatively new technology that is amazing to watch, check out a hydro excavation truck that uses water and industrial vacuum technology to locate underground utilities, perform subsurface utility engineering, backfill restoration, curb stop repairs, daylighting and concrete coring.
Of course, there are dozens of different industrial vehicles that I have not listed or even categorized here. The fact is we depend on industrial vehicles in almost every area of our day-to-day lives, whether it is food transport or waste clean up. Perhaps it is only right that so many are happy just to watch them at work.