A backhoe is a piece of heavy machinery used for digging or moving large amounts of material. The backhoe itself may be an attachment on a large tractor, or it may be a permanent feature of a piece of heavy machinery. Backhoe equipment includes all parts of the unit as well as accessories used to make the backhoe more versatile and useful to the operator. The articulated boom arm is perhaps the most pivotal piece of backhoe equipment, as it is responsible for extending the bucket forward and supporting much of the weight of the materials to be moved.
Most boom arms come in two parts. The two arms are connected at a pivot point, and they are moved by hydraulic units that extend or retract one or both sections of the arm. At the end of the arm farthest away from the tractor body is the bucket, which is essentially a scoop that picks up materials and moves those materials. Buckets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and sometimes the bucket can be replaced with other backhoe equipment that changes the function of the machine itself. Grappling hooks, for example, can be mounted at the end of the boom arm and used to pick up logs and trees. Much of the most commonly purchased backhoe equipment are the various types of attachments that replace the bucket.
Hydraulic arms are units that connect the two sections of the boom arm together; these arms also connect the boom arm to the tractor, and the bucket to the boom arm. These pieces of backhoe equipment are pivotal for articulating the boom arm, moving the bucket, and supporting the weight of the loads being transported. When these hydraulic arms break down, they can usually be serviced by replacing or repairing the internal components, or by replacing the arms themselves. Bushings and bearings are usually placed at the contact point between the hydraulic arms and the boom and bucket to allow free movement at all times.
Quick couplers are units that help attach backhoe equipment at the end of the boom arm, including the bucket. The design of the quick coupler allows a user to swap out the bucket for another attachment quickly and easily, thereby avoiding some inefficiency in the construction or demolition process. Specific designs of quick couplers can vary, but most are fairly simple and easy to operate.