Learn How to Safely and Efficiently Lift Heavy Products with a Mini Excavator

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Author : jessie
Update time : 2022-06-23 09:33:21

Raise Your Game with Attachments

As lifting applications become commonplace with mini excavators, a host of attachments have come to market specifically to make moving materials quicker and safer on the jobsite. Grapples and buckets with hydraulic thumbs are the most basic lift-focused attachments for mini excavators and can be used to lift items that are secured by the clamping force of the auxiliary hydraulics. Consider mini excavators may have one-, two- or even three-auxiliary circuits, allowing added hydraulic functionality like using a simple thumb or perhaps a high-tech grapple with tiltrotator. As mini excavators grow in size (they are measured in metric tons or tonnes), the more advanced their hydraulic systems, attachments and lift capabilities become (5- to 6-tonne units are great lifters for instance).

Lifting attachments as a category is broad for mini excavators, and each category could have its separate story. Example: Here’s an article on thumbs:


Each attachment style will require a deep dive, but there are lots to choose from. There are low-tech lifting hooks or lifting eyes on buckets and booms, and couplers or grapples can be used in conjunction with slings, cables and chains. Just make sure that they are securely attached to the item being lifted and the machine lifting point. Thumbs are super common and helpful. Your basic choices include two main categories: rigid or hydraulic. The hydraulic thumb (often preferred for its versatility) connects to the machine at the base of the arm and includes hydraulics to precisely control the position of the thumb, which could have multiple tines or on something super special, the ability to rotate.

Grapples run the gamut too and get cooler and more special for bigger excavators. On the mini side, there are general clamps, three-tine grapples or clearing grapples. Everyone likes to use different names. The bigger grapples or clamps include special variants in logging, waste and pipes. What’s really hot right now are rotating coupler attachments and safety quick-coupler systems that allow enhanced use of grapples and lifting attachments. Dig that article above on tiltrotators. Here’s another high-tech alternative. Vacuum lift attachments (we’re thinking of Vacuworx specifically here) are a great way to quickly pick up items such as pipe and concrete slabs that have a consistent, smooth surface for the vacuum to adhere to and maintain contact with during the lift.

Many things can be lifted, but you need to make sure that whatever the load is, it is being held securely so it won’t fall or get damaged during the movement and lift. To do this, ensure that the full load, including any buckets, couplers, thumbs, shackles, cables and slings, as well as the load itself, does not exceed the lifting capacity and working range of the manufacturer’s lifting chart. Also make sure that the lifting point itself is rated to carry that load. Always use the recommended lifting point that the manufacturer provides as per the operator’s manual. 

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