Scrapers have come a long way from their original horse-drawn ancestors. The first modern practical tractor-towed scraper was invented by Robert LeTourneau in 1923, and is considered the first earthmoving machine ever invented. The development of towed scrapers from LeTourneau’s design began in the 1940s, with over 30 U.S. manufacturers entering the scene between then and the 1970s, when self-propelled or motored scrapers hit the market. Since then, the industry has continued to develop both towed and self-propelled scrapers with higher efficiency.
Scrapers are used to move or remove dirt, gravel or other material from the ground surface. Though they are specially designed for this purpose, they can also perform tasks such as:
- Cutting to grade
Because of this, scrapers are considered both a specialised and versatile machine. While they can perform the core tasks of a worksite, they can also do things no other machine can do. One of these is scraping wet soil – a scraper is the best earthmoving machine equipped to scrape wet soil without waiting for it to dry. Scrapers can thus be used as an all-rounder machine in the agriculture, construction and mining industries.
Scrapers remove layers of earth by dropping a horizontal blade from their trailer – also called bowl – into the soil below. When a scraper moves forward the blade scrapes the material into the bowl.
Types of Scrapers
When deciding which scraper to buy or hire, you may be weighing up between a towed or self-propelled scraper. Self-propelled scrapers are more popular than towed scrapers overall. This is predominantly because self-propelled scrapers don’t require a vehicle to pull them along, whereas if you have a tractor and need to use a range of attachments you should consider getting a pull-style scraper.
Pull-style scrapers are considered to be more versatile than self-propelled ones. However, pull-style or towed scrapers generally have less capacity for rocky conditions and larger aggregates than motored or self-propelled scrapers. In general, scrapers do best on flat surfaces, but many can handle rough terrain. John Deere scrapers are considered the best for rocky areas. Ensure to check with your supplier what your scraper’s capabilities are before going ahead with the purchase or hire.
Self-propelled vs towed isn’t the only distinction made between types of scrapers. Other types of scrapers include:
- Single engine wheeled scraper
These are the most common scrapers, with a bowl and “apron,” which keeps the material from flying out the top of the scraper. The bowl also features hydraulic lifters that enable the bowl to be dumped and emptied at another location.
- Dual engine wheeled scraper
These are the best for worksites on rough terrains. It includes a powerful engine in the front of the vehicle and in the trailer. They are also the best for wet soil and sand.
- Elevating scraper
These scrapers can remove, mix and homogenise soil, and complete fine finished work. These are best for clay, topsoil and sand. They’re fitted with conveyor belts which mix the material into the bowl, where it is stirred up.
Scrapers and Technology
Modern scrapers, especially self-propelled ones, have been subject to innovations in construction and agriculture technology. Thanks to these advancements, scrapers are generally 40% cheaper in operating costs compared to older scrapers without losing any productivity. This may be in part due to their lightweight nature and lower generation of ground pressure.
Scraper operators can now complete their work more precisely than ever. GPS systems allow operators to follow survey pins and grade lasers, significantly reducing operator effort while increasing precision. Operators can also input point elevations into a 3D configuration on a USB and then load it into the machine to complete what looks like a complicated task easily. Many operators prefer scrapers to other machines as they significantly reduce the need for re-work. Scrapers are versatile, efficient and economical dirt movers and one of the vital organs of a major job site.
Hire a Scraper
When you hire with an excellent supplier you don’t just get a high quality, maintained scraper on hire. You get a team of people working together to ensure your scraper hire experience is the best out there. From pre-hire customer service organising contracts and delivery, to hire support provided for the duration of the hire, and after hire service ensuring everything is finished correctly. Now, where do we know you’ll find that? Eastern Plant Hire of course!