Our Compact Construction Equipment lineup
Compact Skid Loaders
A skid loader or skid steer loader is a rigid frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments. Though sometimes they are equipped with tracks, skid-steer loaders are typically four-wheel drive vehicles with the left-side drive wheels independent of the right-side drive wheels. By having each side independent of the other, wheel speed and direction of rotation of the wheels determine the direction the loader will turn.
Skid steer loaders are capable of zero-radius, “pirouette” turning, which makes them extremely maneuverable and valuable for applications that require a compact, agile loader.
Unlike in a conventional front loader, the lift arms in these machines are alongside the driver with the pivot points behind the driver’s shoulders. Because of the operator’s proximity to moving booms, early skid loaders were not as safe as conventional front loaders, particularly during entry and exit of the operator. Modern skid loaders have fully-enclosed cabs and other features to protect the operator. Like other front loaders, it can push material from one location to another, carry material in its bucket or load material into a truck or trailer.
A Skid Steer loader can sometimes be used in place of a large excavator by digging a hole from the inside. The skid loader first digs a ramp leading to the edge of the desired excavation. It 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. This method is particularly useful for digging under a structure where overhead clearance does not allow for the boom of a large excavator, such as digging a basement under an existing house.
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.
The first three-wheeled, front-end loader was invented by brothers Cyril and Louis Keller (manufacturer) in Rothsay, Minnesota, in 1957. The Kellers built the loader to help a farmer mechanize the process of cleaning turkey manure from his barn. The light and compact machine, with its rear caster wheel, was able to turn around within its own length, while performing the same tasks as a conventional front-end loader.
The Melroe brothers, whose Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, N.D., purchased the rights to the Keller loader in 1958 and hired the Kellers to continue refining their invention. As a result of this partnership, the M-200 Melroe self-propelled loader was introduced at the end of 1958. It featured two independent front-drive wheels and a rear caster wheel, a 12.9-hp engine and a 750-lb. lift capacity. Two years later they replaced the caster wheel with a rear axle and introduced the M-400, the first four-wheel, skid-steer loader. It quickly became the Melroe Bobcat. The term “Bobcat” is sometimes used as a generic term for skid-steer loaders. The M-440 was powered by a 15.5-hp engine and had an 1100-lb. rated operating capacity. Skid-steer development continued into the mid-1960s with the M600 loader.
Many manufacturers have now made their variation of the skidloader, including: John Deere, Case, JLG, JCB, New Holland, Gehl, Mustang, ASV, Caterpillar and more.
What do Compact Track Loaders do?
A compact track loader is a type of construction equipment (engineering vehicle) machinery that is primarily used to “load” material (asphalt, demolition debris, dirt, feed, gravel, logs, raw minerals, recycled material, rock, sand, wood chips, etc.) into or onto another type of machinery (dump truck, conveyor belt, feed-hooper, rail-car, etc.).
What do Compact Excavators Loaders do?
Compact Excavator – A compact hydraulic excavator or mini excavator is a tracked or wheeled vehicle with an approximate operating weight from 0.7 to 7.5 metric tons. It generally includes a standard backfill blade and features independent boom swing. The compact hydraulic excavator is also referred to as a mini excavator.
The compact hydraulic excavator is somewhat unique from other construction equipment in that all movement and functions of the machine are accomplished through the transfer of hydraulic fluid. The compact excavator’s work group and blade are activated by hydraulic fluid acting upon hydraulic cylinders. The excavator’s slew (rotation) and travel functions are also activated by hydraulic fluid powering hydraulic motors
Most compact hydraulic excavators have three distinct assemblies: house, undercarriage and workgroup.
The house structure contains the operator’s compartment, engine compartment, hydraulic pump and distribution components. The house structure is attached to the top of the undercarriage via a swing bearing. The house, along with the workgroup, is able to rotate or slew upon the undercarriage without limit due to a hydraulic distribution valve which supplies oil to the undercarriage components.
Slewing refers to rotating the excavator’s house assembly. Unlike a conventional backhoe, the operator can slew the entire house and workgroup upon the undercarriage for spoil placement.
The undercarriage consists of rubber or steel tracks, drive sprockets, rollers, idlers and associated components/structures. The undercarriage supports the house structure and the workgroup.
The workgroup of a compact hydraulic excavator consists of the boom, dipper or arm, and attachment (i.e. auger, bucket, breaker, etc.). It is connected to the front of the excavator’s house structure via a swing frame that allows the workgroup to be hydraulically pivoted left or right to achieve offset digging for trenching parallel with the tracks.
Independent Boom Swing
The primary purpose of boom swing is for offset digging around obstacles or along foundations, walls or forms. A secondary use is cycling in areas too narrow for cab rotation. Independent boom swing is one of the major advantages of a compact excavator over other excavation equipment.
The backfill blade is used for grading, leveling, backfilling, trenching, and general dozer work. The blade can be used to increase dump height and digging depth depending on its position in relation to the excavator’s workgroup, this makes it very versatile.
In recent years, hydraulic excavator capabilities have expanded far beyond excavation tasks. With the advent of hydraulic powered attachments such as a tiltrotator, breaker, a grapple or an auger, the excavator is frequently used in many applications other than excavation and with the tiltrotator attachment, actually serves as an effective tool carrier. Many excavators feature quick-attach mounting systems for simplified attachment mounting, dramatically increasing the machine’s utilization on the jobsite.
There are two distinct classes of compact excavators, conventional tail swing – units that have a rear counterweight that will extend beyond the tracks when the house rotates, and zero-tail swing – units with a house whose diameter stays within the width of the tracks through full rotation. Zero-tail swing units allow the operator to focus on digging and not watching where he or she is swinging.