Before automation took over, manual shoveling was the only method known to mankind for carrying out jobs of excavation and construction. As time passed by, this manual shoveling was replaced by steam shovels and then later by hydraulic shovels. More automated tools like hydraulic excavators, backhoes and loaders started becoming famous.
Not only these equipment found their way into the construction industry, they were also extensively used for mining and quarrying of huge materials in industries like steel manufacturing, stevedoring, railroad cars, cargo holds carrying ore, gravels, sand and grains. All these materials were loaded and unloaded using these hydraulic machines.
Before the 1950s, manual shoveling needed huge number of workers. These groups of workers were known as gangs of labors who would set out for work holding dozens of shovels in their hands. The amount of excavation done by these labors is now accomplished by powered excavators utilizing just few skilled operators. During manual excavation, the cost of operation was much more as compared to the present operation inspite of growing cost of power and investment on these bulky equipments. In the past, the productivity was hugely dependent on labor. Although it still exists today, it has been divided between the machine and men. Hand shoveling, thus, gradually got replaced by loaders, backhoes and later electrically powered equipment like conveyors, augurs and elevators.
Owing to the factors like manual labor and production in the 19th century and in the early 20th century, the science of shoveling became very important. Developers started having keen interest on this subject. One cannot forget the contribution of Fredrick Winslow Taylor, who took interest in distinguishing the various motions of manual labor and encouraged the industry mangers to inspire craftsmanship.
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