The engine powered skid-steer loader has a small and rigid frame, outfitted with lift arms which can connect to many industrial attachments and tools to be able to perform a wide variety of labor saving tasks. Normally, skid-steer loaders are four-wheel drive vehicles that have the left-hand side wheels operating independent of the right-hand side wheels, even if various models are equipped with tracks instead. On the four-wheel models, having each side independent of each other allows the wheel speed and rotation direction of the wheels to determine which direction the loader would turn.
The skid-steer loader is able to perform zero-radius turns or also called "pirouettes." This added feature allows the skid-steer loader to be able to maneuver for particular applications which need a compact and agile loader.
On a skid-steer loader, the lift arms are at the side of the driver with pivot points at the rear of the driver's shoulders. This makes them different as opposed to a traditional front loader. Due to the operator's closeness to moving booms, early skid loaders were not as safe as traditional front loaders, especially throughout the operator's entry and exit. Modern skid-steer loaders today have various features in order to protect the driver including fully-enclosed cabs. Similar to various front loaders, the skid-steer model can push materials from one place to another, could load material into a trailer or a truck and could carry material in its bucket.
There are many times where the skid-steer loader could be utilized in place of a big excavator on the jobsite for digging holes from within. To begin, the loader digs a ramp to be used to excavate the material out of the hole. As the excavation deepens, the machine reshapes the ramp making it steeper and longer. This is a remarkably helpful way for digging beneath a structure where there is not sufficient overhead clearance for the boom of a big excavator. For example, this is a common scenario when digging a basement below an existing structure or house.
There is much flexibility in the attachments which the skid steer loaders are capable of. Like for instance, the traditional bucket of many of these loaders can be replaced with various accessories that are powered by the loader's hydraulic system, comprising mowers, snow blades, cement mixers, pallet forks, backhoes, tree spades and sweepers. Some other popular specialized attachments and buckets include tillers, stump grinders rippers, wheel saws, snow blades, trenchers, angle booms, dumping hoppers, wood chipper machines and grapples.
The 3-wheeled front end loader was invented during 1957, by Cyril and Louis Keller in their hometown of Rothsay, in the state of Minnesota. The Keller brothers made this machine to be able to help mechanize the process of cleaning in turkey barns. This particular machinery was compact and light and consisted of a back caster wheel which allowed it to turn around and maneuver within its own length, allowing it to perform the same tasks as a traditional front-end loader.
The Melroe brothers of Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, N.D. bought in the year 1958, the rights to the Keller loader. The company then hired the Keller brothers to assist with development of the loader. The M-200 Melroe was the result of this partnership. This particular model was a self-propelled loader which was introduced to the market in nineteen fifty eight. 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 nineteen sixty, they changed the caster wheel together with a back axle and introduced the first 4 wheel skid steer loader which was known as the M-400.
The M-400 soon became the Melroe Bobcat. Normally the term "Bobcat" is utilized as a generic term for skid-steer loaders. The M-440 was powered by a 15.5 HP engine and had 1100 lb rated operating capacity. The company continued the skid-steer development into the mid nineteen sixties and launched the M600 loader.
Numerous makers have their own models of the skid steer loader which is simply called a Skidsteer in the construction business. Hyundai, JCB, Caterpillar, Bobcat, Komatsu, Mustang, John Deere, JLG, New Holland, Gehl Company, LiuGong and ASV are some for instance, among others.