Each model of a mini-loader can “boast” both pluses and minuses. Obviously, it is impossible to give a universal recipe for how to choose a mini-loader. Technique should be chosen from the position of maximum return.
First of all, determine the “front of work” that the machine is to perform. So, for multifunctional operation, you will need equipment that has a large selection of interchangeable equipment, and, consequently, a powerful hydraulic system. As a rule, skid steer skid steer loaders have more productive hydraulics. If the equipment has to perform only lifting and transport operations, then in this case you should opt for a front loader. One of the main “chips” of the frontal mini-loader is considered to be high transport speed. Using a mini loader of this type will be beneficial when you need to move goods over long distances. While it is advisable to choose machines with a side turn when transporting goods no more than 25 – 30 m.
Buyers from all over the world often prefer mini loaders, originally designed for relatively small jobs in cramped conditions. The tasks that this type of equipment faces have affected their design features: the device of the chassis, the method of turning and fastening the boom (located at the rear of the machine), and small dimensions. Thanks to the boom located at the rear, the operator of the skid steer loader can bring the equipment closer to the dump truck at a minimum distance when loading. However, if we compare skid steer loaders and models with a frontal design, then the former have a number of “imperfections”:
- high fuel consumption;
- because of the side turn, the wheels of the loader wear out quickly;
- low cross-country ability due to low ground clearance;
- poor stability on slopes due to the short wheelbase;
- complex hydraulic system (this is a minus if interchangeable working equipment does not have to be changed often).
Complements this list and the characteristic already mentioned above: the speed of skid steer loaders is lower than that of front-end models.
Often, a conventional mechanical transmission is installed on frontal skid steer loaders. And unlike skid steers that can climb up to 25% grade, rigid skid steer loaders can climb 40%.
Articulated skid steer loaders feature a simple steering system. But if the ability to take a level position relative to the ground is required from the machine (relevant, for example, when planning the site), then it is worth buying a skid steer loader (including skid steer) with a rigid frame that will allow the machine to remain stable. An articulated skid steer loader in this situation will oscillate at the articulation and at the rear axle. In addition, the maximum load capacity of an articulated skid steer becomes less when the half-frames are folded down, and the load capacity of rigid frame machines is always maximum.
Choosing a mini-loader by carrying capacity
The next thing you should pay attention to when buying a mini-assistant is the carrying capacity. Get a mini loader with a load capacity “in reserve”. This will help you out not only in cases where you suddenly have to move the load harder than in standard operations, but also avoid the operation of equipment at the limit.
It should be noted right away that other characteristics of the mini-loader should also be chosen “for growth”.
The rated load capacity, which is indicated in the data sheet of the skid steer loader, determines the safe limit of the load capacity of the machine. The rated load capacity of a skid steer loader is 50% of the tipping load, a skid steer loader is 35%. For articulated machines, the tipping load is calculated with the semi-frames fully folded. Note that the rated capacity of articulated models listed on the data sheet may be based on the tipping load calculated when the frames are in the upright position. In this case, the calculated value is 15 – 20% more than the previously described case. If an articulated skid steer loader is equipped with forks, the lifting capacity can be as low as 35 to 40% of that calculated for a loader equipped with a bucket.
bHow to choose an attachment for a skid steer loader
A large selection of interchangeable working bodies allows the mini-loader to be transformed into a multifunctional machine. Without a doubt, buying such equipment is profitable – we can say that you have several cars at your disposal instead of one.
Note that skid steer cars have a much larger choice of attachments compared to their frontal rivals. And if the work equipment is to be changed frequently, then a quick adapter must be installed on the machine. The higher the weight of the skid steer, the more common are the latch-finger devices that help when working with buckets and forks.
The standard equipment of the mini-loader includes a bucket. It should be noted that a bucket auto-leveling system, which a number of manufacturers equip their equipment with, can be a good help when performing work of varying complexity.
Often, in addition to the bucket, an acceptable set of additional replacement equipment includes: a rotary snow blower, a brush for sweeping the territory, a fork for transporting pallets, a double-jaw bucket with teeth. It should be borne in mind that each equipment loads the main hydraulic system to a certain extent. If the hydraulic pump is weak, then powerful replacement equipment will not work at its full potential.
Dimensions, footprint and ground clearance
Depending on the place where the mini-loader will work (in a limited space or not), there are requirements for its dimensions and maneuverability. The skid steer skid steer loader boasts great “innate” maneuverability – its abilities include turning on the spot. Although modern compact front-end loaders with all-wheel drive or with an articulated frame are not much inferior. To decide what maximum dimensions in width and height a skid steer needs, be guided by the narrowest places where the machine will have to pass.
The next step is to determine the type of surface on which the technique will work. Models with a skid steer, for example, can turn around within a radius of their own dimensions, but in this case, when working on the ground, the machine will severely break the surface, the equipment will begin to slip and get stuck. To increase cross-country ability, wheels with a larger diameter are installed. On weakly bearing soils, caterpillar mini-loaders are used, which do not break the ground much and have greater cross-country ability than wheeled ones. The main disadvantage of a compact tracked loader is its low travel speed.
Note that such a characteristic of a mini-loader as a large ground clearance helps to work on soft soils. Front loaders have this property, while skid steer equipment, unfortunately, lacks it. The difference between the “colleagues” in terms of ground clearance can be 50%.
An important criterion is the stability of the equipment, so where the center of gravity is located is also worth paying attention to.