1. Ferrovial
  2. STEM

skid steer loader

A skid steer loader is a cargo vehicle with a rigid chassis and a cab, which may be detachable. A front bucket with small blades is attached to it, so this machine has low capacity compared to other cargo vehicles.

The skid steer loader moves thanks to its four tires or a tracked system. The engine, which can be gasoline or diesel, is integrated into the back of the machine, and it has a hydraulic system for lifting the loading bucket. The front bucket can operate in two ways:

  1. Taking a single load of a mound of material.
  2. Making a frontal displacement flush with the ground to accumulate the material on the surface.

What are the parts of a skid steer loader?

A skid steer loader consists of:

  1. A rigid chassis on which the cabin is mounted; it is from here that the movements are controlled, and it can be open or covered. Its structure is resistant and supports significant weight.
  2. The bucket located on the front of the machine with which loading is done. The arms that support the bucket are located at the back of the machine and are operated by a hydraulic system.
  3. Tires or a tracked system. Some types of skid steer loaders use a four-tire system to move, while others work on a tracked system, a set of modular links that allows for stable movement over terrain that may be uneven.

What are the main characteristics of a skid steer loader?

  • They have multiple locking systems to prevent accidents, so security is one of its main features.
  • They move at a speed of 10 km/h.
  • They allow for high visibility, which is an advantage for safely and efficiently performing any construction work.
  • Its operating weight (less than four tons) makes it safe to use inside buildings. 
  • It is often used in different business sectors, such as construction, mining, agriculture, and others.
  • Its compact design, small size, and turn system make skid steer loaders able to be used at hard-to-reach construction sites, where there is not enough room for maneuvering.
  • They have low maintenance costs, as well as high durability.
  • Since its engine is small and it has a low cylinder capacity, its fuel consumption is low.

How does a skid steer loader work?

The main function of a skid steer loader is loading, transporting, or unloading small volumes of material (both waste and natural) at sites that do not require the use of large-sized or large-capacity machinery.

Proper handling of the vehicle is necessary so that its operation is as optimal and safe as possible. To this end, it is necessary to identify the controls and levers in the cab. These may vary depending on the type of skid steer loader and the manufacturer’s brand, but there are usually two levers located on the armrest of the machine, each with control buttons. The ignition may be similar to that of a car or be a button.

All skid steer loaders have a locking system via rocker switches near the console, which have to be activated and deactivated to put the machine in motion.  

To move the front bucket, it must first be lowered to ground level and then driven forward, pushing towards the pile of material to be loaded or dragged. Then, the bucket has to be pulled back and raised to a safe height to unload.

The controlled bucket movements are possible thanks to the levers located inside the cab that control these functions: if the left one lifts it, the right one changes its position. After the task using the skid steer loader has been completed, the empty bucket should be taken to ground level to park and turn off the machine.

To operate a skid steer loader, the driver must position the seat high enough to have good visibility over what is being done with the bucket.

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