The skid loader is a construction machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments from earthmoving on a building site to landscaping a park to cleaning stalls in a barn in addition to serving as an effective tool carrier. It can load earth into a truck, dig and move landscaping and building materials, clean roads, grind asphalt, clear the road from snow and serve many other purposes. It is also distinguished by its steering system, in which the machine's movement is controlled by varying the speed and direction of the two sets of wheels on each side independently. This feature is very useful when operating in tight spaces and guarantees high maneuverability.
Typically four-wheel vehicles with the wheels mechanically locked in synchronization on each side and the left-side drive wheels, skid-steer loaders can be driven independently of the right-side drive wheels. It can sometimes be used in place of a large excavator by digging a hole from the inside. It first digs a ramp leading to the edge of the desired excavation, and then uses the ramp to carry material out of the hole. The skid loader reshapes the ramp making it steeper and longer as the excavation deepens.
Besides wheel-type, there is a compact track loader. The steering mode is the same, but the advantages of rubber tracks are considerable when working on soft terrain, mud or when you need more traction force. Operator comfort is also increased due to greater stability offered by these machines. Moreover, you can distinguish between radial and vertical lift, with the latter being used when you need more lifting capacity because the bucket stays closer to the machine while rising up.
The conventional bucket of many skid loaders can be replaced with a variety of specialized buckets or attachments, many powered by the loader's hydraulic system. These include backhoe, hydraulic breaker, pallet forks, angle broom, sweeper, auger, mower, snow blower, stump grinder, tree spade, trencher, dumping hopper, ripper, tillers, grapple, tilt, roller, snow blade, wheel saw, cement mixer, and wood chipper machine.
Skid-steer loaders are typically rated by their rated operating capacity (ROC). Below are the size classes listed by AEM (Associated Equipment Manufacturers):
Zero to 1,251 lbs.
1,251 to 1,350 lbs.
1,351 to 1,600 lbs.
1,601 to 1,750 lbs.
1,751 to 2,200 lbs.
2,201 to 2,700 lbs.
2,701 lbs. and above
The most popular size in the construction industry is considered the 1,751- to 2,200-lb.
Some models of skid steer now also have an automatic attachment changer mechanism. This allows a driver to change between a variety of terrain handling, shaping, and leveling tools without having to leave the machine, by using a hydraulic control mechanism to latch onto the attachments. Hydraulic supply lines to powered attachments may be routed so that the couplings are located near the cab, and the driver does not need to leave the machine to connect or disconnect those supply lines.
Many manufacturers have their own versions of skid-steer including Bobcat, Terex, Case, Caterpillar, Gehl Company, Hyundai, JCB, JLG, John Deere, Komatsu, LiuGong, New Holland, Volvo, Wacker Neuson, and others.
Bobcat skid-steer loaders
Bobcat skid-steer loaders have a 50-year of history. More than a dozen skid-steer loader models – including the M-Series – provide the size, features and options needed in the construction industry. The new M-Series skid-steer loaders and compact track loaders (CTL) upgrade performance and comfort.
Like the S550 model, the S510Radius Lift Path has a completely re-engineered comfortable cab with superior power and hydraulic performance. The S510 is a radius lift path loader, combining excellent maneuverability in tight areas with the reach and visibility needed for applications such as dumping materials over walls, back-filling or loading flatbed trucks.
The S530, S570, S590 and T590 models feature vertical lift path boom arms particularly suited to lift and carry as well as material-handling applications. The new vertical lift path loaders offer an increased lift height compared to the previous generation of machines and, combined with an optimized lift arm design, provide operators with the ability to lift heavier loads higher, making it easier to clear high-sided truck boxes and hoppers, as well as placing pallets loaded with heavy materials.
Caterpillar Skid Steer Loaders
Cat Skid Steer Loaders are designed and built for maximum performance and safety. Cat skid steer loaders provide power, versatility, efficiency, ease of operation and reliability.
Cat B Series 3
The five models of skid steer loaders B3 series incorporates a number of enhancements that make them more efficient, more reliable, safer and easier to operate.
Specific design refinements for all B-Series 3 models include a redesigned "dead-engine lower valve," single electronic control module (ECM), which is relocated for improved access and reliability, plus new ECM-enabled features.
New features enabled by the ECM include automatic glow-plug activation, expanded diagnostic capability and use of an optional on-demand cooling fan that spins the fan only as fast as required by the machine. The optional fan improves fuel-efficiency, reduces sound levels and provides faster warm-up.
The 242B Series 3 and 252B Series 3 feature the vertical lift design which provides extended reach and lift height for quick and easy truck loading and material placement.
The 216B Series 3, 226B Series 3 and 236B Series 3, with their radial lift design, deliver excellent digging performance with superior mid-lift reach.
The redesigned dead-engine lower valve further promotes safe operation by providing an easier-to-use, more-positive means of lowering the lift arms-allowing safe exit for the operator-if the machine should run out of fuel or the engine stall with the lift arms raised.
Volvo MC110C Skid Steer
The Volvo MC110C skid steers are the compact loading machines ideal for a wide range of applications. Perfect for landscaping, construction and exterior maintenance, the Volvo line, along with a wide range of attachments, provides versatility in hauling material, cutting trenches, digging and much more. From buckets for every job to pallet forks and hydraulic hammers, skid steer loaders handle it all.
The redesigned skid steer family now features a uniquely powerful single loader arm. It's a design that brings it all together: traditional power and performance, with the added benefits of greater safety and visibility.
Volvo MCT125C compact track loaders
The Volvo MCT125C compact track loaders are part of the new compact tracked loader range from Volvo, providing customers with new ways to conquer more applications. Volvo tracked machines deliver greater stability and traction – even in the worst of terrain.
This makes each model ideal for construction, material handling, landscaping and municipal work. With the ability to use a wide range of attachments, such as buckets, pallet forks, dozer blades, rakes and much more, the versatility of Volvo compact track loaders provides more opportunity for year-round profitability.