Heavy Construction Equipment and Machinery Key Terms

By L. Newton,
business.com writer
Dec 10, 2011
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

Build a vocabulary of heavy construction equipment and machinery key terms

Heavy construction equipment and machinery operators must be acquainted with the terminology that accompanies the machine. Heavy construction equipment and machinery key terms describe the type of machine, the work that the machine performs, and even the operator who runs the machine. Words such as bulldozer, articulated truck, excavator, and earthmover all describe a type of heavy construction equipment. Terms like cat skinner refer to the machine operator. Some words, such as skidder, have multiple meanings.


An earthmover is the term given to any piece of heavy construction equipment that is used to move or dig dirt or earth. These machines include bulldozers, backhoes, and other earth moving machines. The term earthmover is a more general term that describes the function of the equipment rather than naming the actual piece of equipment.


A bulldozer is a piece of heavy construction equipment that has a metal blade for pushing large amounts of dirt, sand, or debris for construction purposes. Most dozers have tracks.

Cat skinner

The term cat skinner is frequently used to describe a person who operators a dozer. The word "cat" derived from the Caterpillar Tractor, which is a dozer manufacturer.

Articulated truck

Articulated trucks are used in construction work for carrying large loads over rough terrain. Articulated trucks are equipped with a drive system that represent the number of wheels and axles it has. Most are six wheels on three axles.


In the world of heavy construction equipment, the word skidder may have two different meanings. Some use the term skidder to refer to the person in charge of the construction team making a skid road. In other cases, the word skidder describes the engine that hauls cable for skidding logs.


Excavators are most commonly known as the digging piece of equipment at a construction site. Excavators are found in a variety of sizes and styles. Most excavators have a backhoe and a cab for the operator.
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