One of the most useful machines on the job:
the hard working Skid Steer Loader
By: Dave Cole
The skid steer loader (skid loader) is a machine with a rigid
frame and lift arms that attach to many different attachments.
This makes it a very versatile machine with the capability of
doing many different tasks that a traditional front end loader
can not handle. Skid Loaders may have tracks, but more often now
they simply run on four wheels. They use four wheel drive and the
left and right wheels drive independently, making the machine
capable of doing zero radius turns in either direction depending
on speed and direction of the wheels.
These are not front loaders; instead the arms are on either side
of the driver with the pivots for the arms in back of the driver.
Unlike today's skid loaders, the older models were not very safe
for the driver to operate because of the proximity of the arms
(booms) to the driver.
Caterpillar 287B Skid Steer Loader with Tracks
A skid steer loader can carry, load, or push materials around the
job site. They are often used for excavation in close quarters
where a larger excavator would actually not be able to fit,
particularly for digging under structures. They do this by using
the bucket to make a ramp that the skid loader then uses to
remove materials from the excavation, gradually building the ramp
longer and steeper the more the skid loader works. Consequently
skid loaders are usually the tool for jobs such as digging a
basement under an existing house or building.
Because the skid loaders have hydraulics they have many
attachments that can be added making this an even more valuable
machine on the job site.
Caterpillar 216B Skid Steer Loader
Attachments for a skid loader may include Angle Boom, Tiller,
Wood Chipper, Backhoe, Tree Spade, Ripper, Cement Mixer, Dumping
Hopper, Breaker, Stump Grinder, Snow Blower, Wheel Saw, Grapple,
Pallet Fork, Tilt, Auger, Mower, Sweeper, and Bucket.
The skid steer loader was invented by brothers Louis and Cyril
Keller, who invented it to help a farmer clean out turkey waste
from his turkey barn. The Melroe Manufacturing Company purchased
rights to the design from the Keller brothers in 1958. The first
skid loader, the M-200, was born from the partnership of the
Melroe Manufacturing Company and the brothers, who were hired on
to continue to refine their original invention.
The Melroe Manufacturing Company developed the Bobcat which is a
very popular line of skid loaders. And it is the Melroe
Manufacturing Company that made the skid loader as widely popular
and known as it is today. In fact, any skid loader machine is now
often mistakenly called a Bobcat when in fact there are many
companies (JLG, Mustang, Caterpillar, John Deere, JCB, Case, ASV,
New Holland, etc.) that manufacture small skid loaders for the
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