The industrial sector is vital to the global economy; according to PR Newswire, the manufacturing and industrial sectors contributed $16 trillion to the worldwide economy in 2021. But this massive contribution doesn’t come easy; the sector involves many extensive, time-consuming, and intricate industrial processes. As a result, several types of industrial equipment are for the various industries in this sector. Below is a look at some of these equipment and tools, their uses, benefits, and other essential information you should know about them.
1. Boom Trucks
Boom trucks are industrial vehicles with a hydraulic lift for lifting materials. There are two common types of boom trucks: telescopic and articulating boom trucks. They are also one of the most popular types of industrial equipment around; according to Fortune Business Insights, the North American boom truck market was valued at $210 million in 2021.
Boom trucks are most popularly used in the construction industry. They are helpful for jobs that require lifting heavy materials (and sometimes, personnel). For example, roofers use them during the installation of roofing materials in residential and commercial construction. Other uses include installing HVAC units, hauling heavy furniture, installing windows, and lifting painters.
Boom trucks are commercial vehicles, which are considered to be a subcategory of cranes. And according to OSHA, crane operators must be trained, certified, and licensed. Therefore, a boom truck operator must possess crane operation training, certification, and licensing recognized by OSHA. On top of that, they must be very skilled and experienced at operating overhead cranes, thus mitigating the risk of anything going wrong at a construction site.
2. Asphalt Pavers
An asphalt paver, or a paver, is another one of the common types of industrial equipment. According to Mordor Intelligence, pavers had a market value of $2.38 billion in 2021 and were expected to reach $6.32 billion in 2027. They are commonly used in the construction industry for paving driveways, walkways, roads, parking lots, and other paved surfaces.
Of course, asphalt pavers are mainly used for asphalt paving, but they can also be used in other processes, such as blacktop paving. The main work of the paver machine is to evenly spread the asphalt mixed on the surface. This helps to create an even and smooth surface, thus guaranteeing a quality finish.
Asphalt pavers are usually used by paving contractors, although they can also be used by road builders when the asphalt is installed on roads. At the very minimum, the asphalt paver operator must have a driver’s license (and potentially a commercial driving license), given that pavers are construction vehicles. On top of that, the operator must be skilled in operating heavy-duty construction vehicles and have some experience working with asphalt material.
3. Hydraulic Press Brakes
Hydraulic press brakes are among the most popular types of industrial equipment used to bend and fold sheet metal products. They are used alongside other industrial equipment like sheet cutting machines, angle cutters, and sheet shearing machines. Hydraulic press brakes are considered one of the best machines for metal processing due to their ease of use, easy maintenance, low capital costs, and flexibility.
Hydraulic press brakes are commonly used in manufacturing by companies offering metal fabrication service. However, they can also be used in several other industries that involve metal processes. For example, they are used to manufacture industrial equipment, automotive parts, and aerospace components.
Some hydraulic press brakes are automated and thus don’t require a human element to operate them. However, many industries use manual press brakes and thus always need operators who have undergone press brake operation training. On top of that, due to the hazardous nature of work, operators might be required to undergo further safety training and certification.
Forklifts, also known as lift trucks or fork trucks, are industrial vehicle equipment that features a two-pronged fork attachment at the front. They are used for lifting materials (up and down) that are on a pallet or a wooden platform. Besides lifting, forklifts can also move or transport materials around a site or facility.
Forklifts are one of the most popular types of industrial equipment in warehouses, where they’re used for loading and unloading goods. They are also popularly used in construction sites for unloading materials, moving them around the site, and lifting them during jobs that require working at heights. Other common uses include dockyards, recycling centers, loading docks, and farms.
Forklifts are heavy-duty industrial vehicles that can cause severe injuries if improperly operated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, forklifts cause around 7,000 non-fatal injuries yearly and were responsible for 614 workplace-related deaths between 2011 and 2017. Therefore, operators must be 18 years old, possess a valid forklift operation certificate, be skilled in machine operations, be physically fit, and have good hand-eye coordination, among other requirements.
5. Grinding Machines
Grinding machines are one of the most common types of industrial equipment you can come across. Also known as grinders, they are power tools that use an abrasive wheel to cut or remove rough surfaces from a material. Several types of grinders are used in the industrial sector, including angle, belt, bench, surface, gear, and concrete grinders.
Grinding machines are used for various applications, depending on the type of grinders. For example, angle grinders are used for metal fabrication and construction work involving metal works, while something like a concrete grinder is used for polishing concrete floors during restoration. Other uses include cutting metal, wood, concrete, bricks, and stone blocks.
Nearly anyone can use grinding machines, from metal fabricators to concrete contractors and woodworking professionals. Even DIY enthusiasts can purchase and use them without any restrictions in terms of training and certification. However, the operator must follow all the safety precautions in the grinding machine’s manual to avoid accidents. On top of that, they should have protective equipment like safety glasses, gloves, aprons, and safety boots to reduce the risk of accidents.
Cranes are industrial machines that lift and move heavy goods, materials, machines, and equipment. There are several types of cranes, with top examples including telescopic, floating, rough-terrain, aerial, overhead, and tower cranes. They are one of the most invaluable types of industrial equipment, as they allow for easy and quick lifting of heavy materials that would be otherwise impossible to move.
Cranes are used in several industries and for a wide variety of reasons. For example, they are used in the construction industry to lift or move heavy construction materials and equipment around a site. They are also used in metal manufacturing to lift heavy raw materials, molten metal, and finished metal products. Cranes are also used in other sectors like the shipbuilding industry, power plants, concrete manufacturing companies, dockyards, warehouses, aviation companies, transportation companies, heavy-equipment repair companies, and plastic fabrication plants.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cranes can be dangerous industrial machines; they cause around 42 deaths every year. Therefore, individuals must first undergo crane operator certification before operating these machines. On top of that, they must possess essential skills like experience working with heavy equipment, good hand-eye coordination, detail-oriented, and safety consciousness.
Excavators are one of the most popular types of industrial equipment that are used in the construction industry. These construction vehicles feature movable tracks, a rotating cab, an arm, and a bucket, offering superior mobility, digging, and earth-moving capabilities. There are several types of excavating vehicles, which include dragline, skid steer, backhoe, crawler, compact, suction, amphibious, suction, and mini excavators.
Of course, the primary purpose of an excavator is to offer excavating services at construction sites. However, they can also be used in several other ways, like hauling heavy materials, removing debris, demolitions, and felling down trees. They can also be used in other industries besides construction; for example, clearing forests, mining, dredging rivers, shaft drilling, and snow removal.
Like most heavy-duty construction vehicles, excavators can be dangerous machines. According to OSHA, there were 50 reported excavator-related accidents in 2022, many of which were fatal. Therefore, there are stringent requirements for one to become an excavator operator: be at least 18 years old, have a commercial driver’s license, and undergo formal excavator operation training. On top of that, operators need essential skills like physical fitness, good vision, good hand-eye coordination, and good communication skills to ensure safety when using excavating vehicles.
8. Personal Fall Arrest Systems
Personal fall arrest systems are one of the most popular types of industrial equipment you’ll find in most industries. The system comprises a body harness, an anchor, and several other tools to secure workers when standing on fragile surfaces or working at height. The primary purpose of the personal fall arrest system is to ‘arrest’ a free-falling individual, thus preventing severe or fatal injuries.
Personal fall arrest systems are mainly used in the construction industry, where fall-related construction accidents are common. After all, according to the CDC, 300 to 400 construction workers fall to their deaths every year, making fall prevention vital. Besides construction, personal fall arrest systems are used in other sectors such as aeronautical, energy, telecommunication, heavy-equipment manufacturing, maritime, roofing, film, warehousing, and window maintenance.
Even though personal fall arrest systems are protective equipment, several requirements must be observed when using them. For example, workers must first undergo safety training to understand how to rig the systems. Furthermore, they need essential skills like safety consciousness, great attention to detail, good hand, eye & foot coordination, and quick reflexes.
9. Circular Saws
Circular saws are power tools that feature a toothed cutting disc used to cut a wide range of materials. There are several types of circular saws, including handheld, mounted, cordless, abrasive, and cold saws. They are vital industrial equipment, as they are used to achieve quality craftsmanship when working with several different types of materials.
Circular saws are popular in the construction industry, for example, during metal buildings construction, where they are used to cut sheet metal and mother metal materials. On top of that, they are used in other industries and sectors like woodworking (for lumber), roofing, and masonry. In addition, powerful industrial circular saws can be used for demolition applications, especially when you want to cut through hard materials quickly.
Circular saws are readily available power tools; thus, you won’t be asked for certification or a license. However, skills like good eye-to-hand coordination, dexterity, attention to detail, and safety awareness are also vital to prevent accidents. On top of that, you must wear the necessary protective equipment, including gloves, safety glasses, face shield, apron, and safety boots when operating a circular saw.
10. Soil Compacting Machines
Soil compacting machines, or compactors, are industrial tools used to compact soil, sand, gravel, and other surface materials like asphalt and concrete. They are used to create a smooth surface and (or) to improve soil properties like density, gradation, and water retention. Several types of soil compactors exist, from handheld tools like rammers and vibrating plates to construction vehicles like rollers.
Soil compacting machines are primarily used in the construction industry, for example, when preparing a site for a building, driveway, walkway, or parking lot. Soil compactors are also used to compact soil, base materials, and asphalt during road building. They are also used in landscaping, for example, when preparing the ground for turf installation or patio building.
The skills and requirements needed to use soil compactor vary depending on the type. For example, handheld compactors are straightforward and can be operated by home contractors, landscapers, and even DIY enthusiasts without much training. However, heavy-duty compactors like track and smooth roller vehicles may have strict requirements like a commercial driver’s license and heavy-duty machine operator certification.
The above are some of the most popular types of industrial equipment that you can find in several industries, from manufacturing, construction, home improvement, transport, energy, and others. These machines, tools, and vehicles are essential in supporting various industrial operations, making them crucial for businesses in these sectors. Of course, using the equipment does come with risks, and thus operators require proper training, certification, licenses, and a horde of other skills to guarantee maximum safety.