Found on most construction sites, wheel loaders are powerful pieces of equipment that are primarily used for loading or moving materials. The global population of wheeled loaders was reported by Off-Highway Research to have risen by 75% over the last decade from 1.3 million machines in 2008 to 2.23 million a year in 2017. Similar in look to a bulldozer a wheel loader has wheels instead of tracks and where the bulldozer has a flat blade a loader has a bucket to scoop. The name refers to the job it does best – transporting materials, however, it can also be known as a front loader, bucket loader, scoop loader, skip loader and front-end loader. A great benefit of wheel loaders is that they do not damage finished asphalt roads or concrete. This versatile machine can come in a range of sizes and the attachments make it fit for almost any construction project.
Like many pieces of equipment, it is hard to articulate who was the clear creator of the wheel loader as many adaptations similar to what we know developed from farmers fitting scoops to their tractors to help move materials. Although it is believed that Ed Wagner & Sons Contractors created the world’s first articulated loader in 1936 (called Scoopmobiles), it is Volvo who is credited for the invention of the first wheel loader in 1954. They named it the H10, the inspiration came from a reversed tractor. By the early 1970s larger loaders had been produced by Volvo which had a new lift arm system and a safer and more comfortable cabin. The construction industry is constantly evolving, and new ideas and patents are continually being published. In the period between 1989 and 2014 Yanmar, Komatsu and Caterpillar have all filed different patents for wheeled loaders.
Today the largest known wheel loader is LeTourneau L-2350, it has a huge payload capacity of 72.5 tonnes and stands an impressive 6.7 metres tall. The 16-cylinder Detroit diesel engine has a rating of up to 2,300 horsepower and the bucket has a 40.5 cubic metre capacity. It is also the machine with the most expensive tyres with each one costing a whopping $63,000 USD.
Safety Measures and Maintenance Tips
When operating any heavy machinery there is risks involved which can be avoided if you carry out the correct safety procedures and ensure the equipment is in working order.
- Firstly, train your staff! Ensure all of your workforce have carried out a clear and concise training plan which entails all aspects of the machine, how to operate it safely and correctly and how to maintain it before and after use.
- Although loaders are capable of working on unsteady terrain there is always the risk of rollovers on hills when working is more dangerous. If the loader does not feel steady, then do not operate or at least opt for a smaller load.
- Regular checks should be carried out before starting the equipment. You should check on the machine and if any of the parts are broken, worn-out, leaking, or loose then have this repaired before use.
- You should also regularly check the pressures, looking for any tyre damages, battery connections, oil leaks, or anything else that shows any cause for concern. Confirm that the oil levels are intact, and the mirrors are well adjusted.
- Once you have started the machine you should let the engine warm-up for at least 10 minutes, by doing this it helps in better lubrication between the parts of the engine.
- Always take care when operating the machinery and ensure that your surroundings are clear.
Omnia Machinery is an industry expert in used construction equipment and a trusted machinery trader. We stock a wide variety of quality used construction equipment to suit many different jobs such as cranes, road equipment, quarry, earthmoving, piling, drilling and underground mining. We provide our customers with all information and pictures with their quotation before any sale is agreed. From inspections to shipping, we are here to support you through every step of the transaction and keep you informed throughout the whole process enabling you to purchase in confidence. Contact us today with your machinery requirements.