Basics of skid steer loaders

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A skid steer loader is a versatile machine used on construction sites, farms, and manufacturing plants. Skid steer loaders are useful for digging, grading, levelling, demolition, and brush cleaning.

What is a skid steer loader?

A skid steer loader is a small piece of heavy equipment with hydraulic lifting arms on each side and can have several attachments. Skid steer loaders are available in both wheeled and tracked models. The wheels of wheeled models do not turn and are driven by separate engines. Instead, the machine is turned by increasing the speed of the wheels on one side, causing it to “skid” in the opposite direction.

Choosing the best skid steer loader for the job

Choosing the correct skid steer loader will assist you in completing the job as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. There are some of the variables to consider.

Width and length

The size of your machine and the width of the skid steer loader you require will be determined by the size of your job, the space you’ll be working in, and the spaces you need to fit through to get there. Ideally, you need a machine that fits where it has to go and has enough horsepower and rated operating capacity (ROC) for the intended lift. Generally, the ROC is half the tipping load.

Skid steer loaders’ ROCs range between 317 and 1 360 kilograms. It’s crucial not to mix up the ROC with the overall skid steer weight.

Medium-frame skid steer loaders with a ROC of 289 to 861 kilograms and an operating weight of 2 267 to 2 721 kilograms are the most common and can be used for many jobs. Small-frame skid steer loaders with a ROC of around 317 kilograms work well for landscaping, minor interior demolition, and jobs in tight spaces. These are popular for home improvement projects because they can fit through a walkthrough backyard gate.

For moving large quantities of gravel or bricks, grading or excavating a large job site, or building a road, you’ll need a large-frame skid steer loader with a large bucket or blade and more horsepower. A larger machine can save you time by moving material faster and with fewer trips if you have enough space. If there isn’t enough room for a full-size backhoe or wheel loader, a large skid steer can often take its place.

Finally, make sure the skid steer loader can fit between any trees or structures in the area.

Lift type

Traditional skid steer loaders are radial lift machines designed to push, dig, or otherwise move materials but not lift them to a significant height. A radial-lift skid steer loader, for example, may not be capable of dumping material into a dump truck.

A vertical lift skid steer loader is your best bet if you need to lift materials. These have a greater reach at full lift height. Consider a vertical lift skid steer loader if you need to raise it to eye level or higher.

Terrain considerations

The choice between a tracked skid steer loader and a wheeled skid steer loader comes down to surface and terrain.

Skid steer loaders with wheels travel quickly over level, hard surfaces like asphalt, concrete, or hard-packed dirt. In addition, they’re better on landscaped surfaces, which tracked skid steer loaders can rip up.

A tracked skid steer loader is ideal for rough, uneven, or muddy surfaces. These have a broader weight distribution and thus less weight transfer to the ground. As a result, they can easily travel over loose gravel and sand, are more stable on slopes, and do not compact the soil. However, they require more maintenance and cleaning than wheeled skid steer loaders.

Standard vs joystick control

Traditional skid steer loaders are controlled by standard controls like hand levers and foot pedals, but manufacturers have added joystick controls that rely on wrist and hand movements.

Because operator preferences differ, skid steer loaders with either type of control system are widely available.

Attachment compatibility

A skid steer loader can perform various tasks with the proper attachment. However, not every attachment will work with every skid steer loader.

Skid steer loader attachments snap into the skid steer’s arm. Many attachments require a skid steer loader with more than 70 horsepower, a large frame, and a ROC of at least 816 to 907 kilograms.

A high-flow hydraulic system offers more flow to the attachment than a standard hydraulic system, allowing you to complete the job faster. In addition, because a high-flow hydraulic system is rarely used at full capacity, the skid steer loader will likely experience less downtime.

Smaller skid steer loader with less than 50 horsepower typically has a standard hydraulics system and can accommodate commonly used attachments like blades, breakers, buckets, forks, and grapples.

Medium-sized machines with 50 to 70 horsepower can support those attachments and more, including augers and saws.

Larger machines with more than 70 horsepower can power the most heavy-duty attachments like cold planers, trenchers, rock saws, mulchers, and chipper/shredders.

Why BurGers Equipment & Spares?

BurGers Equipment & Spares provides a complete range of specialised earthmoving equipment, including skid steer loaders for sale in Johannesburg. In addition, we provide flawless aftermarket services to ensure the continued operation, safety, economy, and reliability of all our equipment.

This, coupled with industry-leading partnerships and a highly skilled and experienced team of professionals, makes us one of the most trusted suppliers in the South African market.

When you buy a skid steer loader for sale in Johannesburg from BurGers Equipment & Spares, we will walk you through these considerations and advise you on the size and type of machine you need and any attachments to help you do the job more efficiently.

Contact BurGers Equipment & Spares for details

For more information on skid steer loaders for sale in Johannesburg and other pieces of heavy-duty equipment, please get in touch with a representative from BurGers Equipment & Spares today.

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