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What Are the Different Types of Heavy Transport Equipment?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2016
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Heavy transport equipment is used to move extremely large, bulky, or heavy items and materials from one point to another. Various types of equipment exist for this purpose, and the right heavy transport equipment will depend on what items or materials are being moved. Large diesel tractors are often used to haul specially designed flatbed or dropped bed trailers for exceptionally large components, such as bridge components, water system components, aircraft engines or hulls, and much more. If the load needs to be lifted, specially designed forklifts or telehandlers may be used.

A telehandler is similar to a forklift in that it features forks that can be used in conjunction with pallets, but the telehandler features a long, telescoping arm that can lift loads upward and forward. The telehandler usually has a higher weight capacity than a forklift, and it can lift loads over obstructions or otherwise away from the body of the machine. This machine does, however, run the risk of tipping over if the weight capacity is exceeded, since the load can essentially tip the machine forward. Many telehandlers have an automatic shutoff system if the weight capacity is exceeded or if the load is extended too far forward.

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Modular transporters may be used as heavy transport equipment for exceptionally large loads. These machines will feature numerous tires mounted in succession to hold up a long, wide platform. This type of heavy transport equipment may be self-propelled, or it may be hauled by a towing vehicle. If it is self-propelled, an operator's cabin will be mounted toward the front of the machine, often underneath the level of the load being hauled. The wheels may move forward and backward, but in some cases they may also be able to move laterally if oriented properly. The modular transporter will feature air brakes and heavy-duty suspension to support the weight of the load.

Prime movers are pieces of heavy transport equipment resembling more typical tractor trailers or heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles usually feature six wheels or more, and they have exceptional towing capabilities for hauling large loads. Trailers can be hooked up to prime movers so large loads can be hauled. When such a machine is in operation, guide vehicles are usually required to escort it from one point to another. Any car or truck can be used as a guide vehicle, as long as lights and signage can be mounted to that vehicle.

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