Most construction works include loading, moving and deposition of materials. No matter if you’re a small landscaper, own a mid-sized construction company or manage large civil engineering projects, you appreciate having the right machinery designed to do the job. That includes loaders, which is the equipment type most commonly used in earthmoving.
Because loaders are so widely employed on so many different construction sites, there are many different designs available to you. Your choice of size, horsepower and loading capacity all depend on the job. There are five types of loaders – backhoe loaders, skid steer loaders, compact track/multi-terrain loaders, dozer loaders and wheel loaders.
Backhoe loaders are the most versatile earthmovers found on any site, and they’re truly the workhorses of the construction industry. That’s because of a backhoe’s unique design that places a loading bucket on the front end and a hoe attachment on the back end.
Backhoes are wheel-equipped machines, as opposed to machines that have tracks for stability. Wheels allow your backhoe to be highly maneuverable and move about a site with time-saving efficiency. Wheeled backhoes also travel at relatively fast speeds so they can be driven directly between work locations without having to be moved by a trailer.
The bucket end of a backhoe serves all sorts of material handling applications. Buckets allow for fast loading, moving and dumping of sand, gravel or other aggregates. Buckets also do an excellent job of leveling ground and cleaning up when an excavation job is over.
The big difference between backhoe models is their size, power and earthmoving capacity. Some backhoes are compact models that easily operate in confined spaces. Other backhoes are larger machines and used where space isn’t a concern but work capacity is.
Skid Steer Loaders
Backhoes aren’t the only versatile earthmover you’ll find on a construction site. Skid steer loaders are another useful and reliable type of loader. For light work and fast-moving dynamics, nothing beats a skid steer.
Skid steers have a unique mobility system. They’re suitably named as the design allows them to steer by skidding. Skid steers are four-wheeled loaders in which the operator brakes or locks one side’s pair of tires and leaves the other side free and under power. This brake-and-roll action lets the machine turn within its own radius.
Because of the skid steers’ unique turning ability, it can operate in extremely tight spots. You’ll often find skid steers working inside buildings under construction or backfilling foundations much faster than any other loader could. Skid steers are also ideal machines for landscaping where yardwork presents mobility challenges for larger loading machines.
Skid steer loaders can have a number of attachments, they include;
- Brush Cutter
- Rock hammer
Compact Track & Multi-Terrain Loaders
Although compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders operate on a similar steering principle, they are considerably different machines. These small but powerful earthmovers navigate by freezing or braking one track set and putting power to the opposing side. This functionality allows compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders to make 360-degree turns within their physical dimensions.
The construction equipment industry distinguishes between compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders. While they appear similar from an outward view, the difference is in the undercarriage and suspension design. A multi-terrain loader’s idler and track system exerts far less weight per square inch than an equivalent-sized compact track loader.
Another key difference between skid steers, compact track loaders and multi-terrain loaders is their price. Skid steers are more affordable because of their simplistic design. Compact track loaders are more expensive because of their advanced idler, sprocket and track components. Multi-terrain loaders are the highest price due to their complex suspension and undercarriage.
When it comes to clearing and leveling ground, nothing beats a bulldozer. Dozers, as they’re usually called, are still the main earthmoving machine used for lot preparation, road surfacing and many demolition projects. For smooth work on flat and sloped sites, dozers are a tool of choice.
Dozers have a fairly simple design of a track-equipped tractor pushing a wide and straight blade, but with attachments, dozers can have several other configurations. Removing a dozer’s blade and replacing it with a loading bucket turns this powerhouse into an earth-lifting machine. With it, you can place material in the back of trucks or into designated piles about your worksite.
When you hear the term “loader,” you probably think wheels. Front-end wheel loaders still lead the material moving pack when it comes to shoveling large volumes in a short time. This group includes compact wheel loaders, small wheel loaders, medium wheel loaders and large wheel loaders. In There is a loading machine sized right for every site. They have the latest technology and built-in toughness to work in the most difficult and challenging applications.