A loader is a type of tractor, usually wheeled (wheel loader), sometimes on tracks (track loader), that has a front-mounted wide bucket connected to the end of two booms (arms) to scoop up loose material from the ground, such as dirt, sand, or gravel, and move it from one place to another without pushing the material across the ground.
A loader is commonly used to move a stockpiled material from ground level and deposit it into an awaiting dump truck or into an open trench excavation.
The loader assembly may be a removable attachment or permanently mounted. Often the bucket can be replaced with other devices or tools. For example, many can mount forks to lift heavy pallets or shipping containers, and a hydraulically opening “clamshell” bucket allows a loader to act as a light dozer or scraper.
The bucket can also be augmented with devices like a bale grappler for handling large bales of hay or straw.
Large wheel loaders, such as the Kawasaki 95ZV-2, John Deere 844K, ACR 700K Compact Wheel Loader, Caterpillar 950H, Volvo L120E, Case 921E, or Hitachi ZW310 usually have only a front bucket and are called front loaders.
Whereas small loader tractors are often also equipped with a small backhoe and are called backhoe loaders or loader backhoes or JCBs, after the company that first claimed to have invented them.
What Does a Wheel Loader Do?
The wheel loader is very similar to its cousin, the bulldozer. Both are tractors that have a bucket in the front to help the tractor deal with objects.
Whereas the bulldozer specializes in pushing and demolition, the wheel loader focuses on carrying and construction. A trained operator uses a system of levers to operate the hydraulics of the wheel loader, enabling it to pick up fine materials such as sand, soil, and in some cases water.
Wheel loaders are capable of moving the material from point A to B on their own, but they also synergize with other common construction machines. Ever see a dump truck full of rocks and wonder how they got them in the dump truck in the first place? It is not called a pickup truck, after all.
Wheel loaders work to scoop objects and put them into the dump truck, which can then travel faster and further than a wheel loader can, which is great for when the final location for the material is different from the initial lot.
In some cases, a wheel loader might have its own storage compartment. The most notable example of this is a garbage truck, scooping trash to put into itself to deliver elsewhere.
Why is it Called a Wheel Loader?
A wheel loader uses its wheels to carry the payload across the lot to its next destination while minimizing fuel loss due to friction, in contrast to bulldozers that are usually tracked for maximum traction.
Nicknames for Wheel Loaders
Names for wheel loaders that you might have heard include:
- Bucket loader
- High lift
- Front loader
- Front-end loader
Variations of Wheel Loaders
As with most things in life, there are various types of scoopers.
- Armored Wheel Loaders – If the military has use for construction in a high-risk area, they can opt to have their wheel loaders augmented with armor plating to help it take greater beatings from thrown rocks, small explosions, and light gunfire.
- Skid-Steer Loaders – These are compact wheel loaders that operate the left and right wheels independently, allowing for differential steering by having one set of wheels move faster than the other. While requiring more aptitude to operate than a standard payloader, its maneuverability is exceptional.
- Swingloader – A wheel loader that allows for rotation on the yaw (left-right) up to 180 degrees or more. It is most commonly used to place railroad tracks.
- Toothbar – A bucket loader that has a toothbar attached. The toothbar’s hard, jagged attachments allow it to better dig into harder ground.
- Tracked Loader – When your project is on more slippery ground such as mud or ice, a loader with tracks rather than wheels can be used for increased safety.
Where to Get One
There are many websites that sell wheel loaders that we will cover later, but if you need financing for one of these machines, TopMark Funding can certainly help. Keep reading for more information. Check out our article on Best Sites to Shop For Construction Equipment.
ABOUT TOPMARK FUNDING
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