Excavator Motors and What They Do

09/09/2016 03:06 pm ET
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Heavy construction is one of the largest industries in the nation, and the biggest role players in heavy construction are the equipment. Excavators are some of the more recognizable and versatile equipment out there. There are many different types of excavators, and they also have a range of uses such as digging, dredging, mulching, and demolition among many others. Some of these uses can be achieved with specific excavator attachments and parts. The mechanics involved in excavators are complicated, as they are composed of a network of gears, drives, and motors among others. Motors in excavators are essential in the working nature of the heavy equipment. Some of these motors include hydraulic planetary motors, final drive, travel, and walking motors.

Excavator Hydraulic Motors

Most excavators are classified as hydraulic excavators. They function with the use of hydraulics to power the different types of motors in the equipment. Hydraulic planetary motors differ from other motors in that they create more displacement chambers with every revolution. This type of motor converts hydraulic pressure and flow into torque and angular displacement. With such high displacement numbers, this ultimately results to higher torques. Hydraulic planetary motors also generate a rotary movement that works well with the slow movements of excavators. The combination of hydraulic planetary motors with pumps constitutes a typical hydraulic excavator transmission, and the combination with cylinders will result in a hydraulic drive system.

Excavator Travel Motors

In a hydraulic drive system made of hydraulic planetary motors, hydraulic pumps are typically powered by a power source such as an internal combustion engine. This pump is what provides the fluid that drives the travel motor. In excavators, the travel motor is essentially the hydraulic motor and is one of the main parts of a hydraulic drive system. The excavator travel motor integrates with the final drive motor, giving it the power to create the overall torque for the equipment. The sprocket then collects this torque, which is what gets the wheel or track turning in an excavator.

Excavator Final Drive Motors

Some may consider the travel motor a part of the excavator final drive motor. Both motors function to propel the excavator to a specific direction. Excavator final drive motors may be the general term in reference to the combination of the hydraulic motor and planetary gear hub or just in reference to the gear hub only. Being the primary gear system that turns power into torque, the excavator final drive motor plays an important role in getting the machines moving. In some equipment not powered by a hydraulic travel motor, the final drives may get power directly from either a transmission or differential.

There are two main designs associated with excavator final drive motors: the planetary or off seat gear reduction. The differences between the two designs are based on the motor composition. A bull gear and pinion typically make up an offset final drive motor, while a sun gear, planetary gear assembly, and ring gear typically compose a planetary design. On some wheeled excavators, final drive motors also provide the final speed reduction along with the increases in torque.

The Importance of Motors

There are other types of motors in excavators such as the walking motor that also play specific roles in the overall function and performance of the heavy machine. Every single motor in an excavator works in collaboration with each other, so if one malfunction, the others will not work properly as well. It’s important to know this and know when and how to take care of all the motors in excavators. Without these motors running Accordingly, an excavator will be nothing but just another large piece of metal.