The engine powered skid-steer loader comprises a small and rigid frame, outfitted with lift arms that can connect to a lot of industrial attachments and tools to be able to carry out various labor saving jobs. Usually, skid-steer loaders are four-wheel drive vehicles which have the left-hand side wheels operating independent of the right-hand side wheels, even though various models are equipped with tracks instead. On the four-wheel models, having each side independent of each other enables the rotation direction of the wheels and the wheel speed to know what direction the loader will turn.
These equipment can "pirouette" or also known as zero-radius turning. This feature makes skid-steer loaders very valuable and maneuverable for applications that require a compact and agile loader.
The lift arms on the skid-steer loader are located next to the driver with pivots behind the driver's shoulders. These features makes the skid-steer loader different as opposed to the traditional front loader. Because of the operator's nearness to moving booms, early skid loaders were not as safe as traditional front loaders, specially through the operator's entry and exit. Today's' modern skid-steer loaders have many features to protect the driver including fully-enclosed cabs. Like several front loaders, the skid-steer model can push materials from one place to another, can load material into a trailer or a truck and can carry material in its bucket.
Usually a skid-steer loader can be utilized on a jobsite instead of a big excavator by digging a hole from within. To start with, the skid-steer loader digs a ramp leading to the edge of the desired excavation, and next it makes use of the ramp to be able to excavate material out of the hole. As the excavation deepens, the machinery reshapes the ramp making it longer and steeper. This is a particularly useful technique for digging beneath a structure where there is not adequate overhead clearance for the boom of a big excavator. Like for instance, this is a common situation when digging a basement beneath an existing building or house.
The skid-steer loader accessories add much flexibility to the machine. Like for instance, conventional buckets on the loaders could be replaced attachments powered by their hydraulics comprising backhoes, tree spades, sweepers, mowers, snow blades, cement mixers and pallet forks. Several other popular specialized attachments and buckets consist of wood chipper machines, grapples, tillers, stump grinder rippers, wheel saws, snow blades, trenchers, angle booms and dumping hoppers.
During 1957, the very first front-end, 3-wheeled loader was invented in Rothsay, in the state of Minnesota by brothers Louis and Cyril Keller. The brothers invented the loader in order to help a farmer mechanize the process of cleaning turkey manure from his barn. This particular machinery was light and compact and had a back caster wheel that allowed it to maneuver and turn around within its own length, enabling it to execute similar work as a traditional front-end loader.
In the year 1958, the Melroe brothers of Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, N.D. purchased the rights to the Keller loader. They hired the Keller brothers to continue refining their loader invention. The M-200 Melroe was actually the outcome of this partnership. This model was a self-propelled loader which was introduced to the market in 1958. The M-200 Melroe featured a 12.9 HP engine, a 750 lb lift capacity, two independent front drive wheels and a rear caster wheel. By 1960, they changed the caster wheel together with a rear axle and introduced the first 4 wheel skid steer loader that was known as the M-400.
The term "Bobcat" is utilized as a generic term for skid-steer loaders. The M-400 shortly after became the Melroe Bobcat. The M-440 version has rated operating capacity of 1100 lbs powered by a 15.5 HP engine. The company continued the skid-steer development into the mid nineteen sixties and introduced the M600 loader.
Numerous manufacturers have their own skid-steer loader model just referred to as Skidsteer in the construction business. John Deere, JLG, New Holland, Gehl Company, LiuGong, ASV, Hyundai, JCB, Caterpillar, Bobcat, Komatsu and Mustang are some for instance, among others.