Digger Derrick Trucks: The Monster Machine of Utility Trucks

Little kids and big kids alike are fascinated by the heavy duty monster machines frequently seen on work sites throughout the United States. Books intended for children have been written about them. More mature audiences frequently see them as the guest stars on television shows like TLC’s “Monster Machines”. This article examines one such beast in its native habitat: the digger derrick.

What is a Digger Derrick?

Digger derricks are multipurpose machines equipped with a powerful auger that, depending upon the specifications of the machine, is capable of chewing through solid rock. The auger on the digger derrick is frequently used to drill holes for telephone and electrical poles.

Once this monster machine has finished with the task of drilling holes, the digger derrick lifts and sets the heavy poles in place. With this marvel of modern technology at his disposal, a properly trained digger derrick operator can safely dig holes and set poles in a fraction of the time that it used to take.

A series of three short clips found on YouTube.com show servicemen using a digger derrick in action:

Using a digger derrick to drill a hole.

Using a digger derrick to lift the pole.

Serviceman assisting a digger derrick operator in setting the pole.

Digger derrick trucks equipped with a boom and bucket can be used to safely lift and ground workers while trimming trees near power lines and while servicing telephone and electrical lines. Digger derricks trucks equipped with a boom and bucket are also often seen setting and performing maintenance on the light poles that line America’s streets and highways. cek tarif ekspedisi

Used in construction, digger derricks can drill holes and set the piers required for the installation of a pier and beam foundation. But the digger derrick isn’t limited to drilling only the relatively shallow holes required by pier and beam foundations. Some digger derricks are equipped to drill to depths required by wells.

The Original Digger Derrick

Terex, a division of General Motors, created the first digger derrick in 1945 to dig holes for utility poles. They called their creation the TelElect, named for the telephone and electrical industries it was designed to serve. The original digger derrick required only two men to operate. The TelElect was an amazing leap forward in technology in an era where the installation of telephone and electrical poles relied on the manual labor of large crews to dig holes. Terex and Tel-Elect brand manufactured digger derricks are still available to date.

Despite being the first to create the digger derrick, Terex and Tel-Elect are no longer the only manufacturers producing digger derricks. Quality digger derricks are also being produced by manufacturers Atlec and LiftAll.

Training Required to Operate a Digger Derrick Truck and Potential Career Opportunities

Digger derricks are powerful machines that require skill and training to operate safely. Altec, a manufacturer of digger derricks, offers OSHA and ANSI compliant training on safe operating procedures for digger derricks. The digger derrick class by Altec is offered monthly at their offices in Birmingham, AL and Daleville, VA. Topics covered by this class include:

Digger derrick daily and pre-operational inspection.

Unit setup and operation.

Material handling and load capacity.

Hand signals, safety and OSHA regulations.

Terex Utilities also offers a free online demo of their training course focusing on the safe operation of Terex Digger Derricks. The full online training package is available for $100 and provides more in depth information the following topics:

Unit operation.

Hand signals.

Electrical hazards.

Emergency operation.

Career opportunities for properly trained digger derrick operators will be as varied as the uses of the machine itself. Trained operators may find opportunities available in telephone companies, electric companies, construction companies or with local government.

Those trained individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit may consider work as an independent contractor with the purchase of their own digger derrick truck. Ray Spencer states in his article on digger derricks that new trucks can be purchased on average for approximately $155,000. Shrewd shoppers may find reconditioned digger derrick trucks for a fraction of that cost.