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Basics of the Skid Loader: Heavy Agricultural Machinery

from: Marcela Devivo

What is a skid loader?

A skid loader is a stiff frame machine with mechanical arms that can be fitted with attachments for a wide variety of different tools, including a backhoe, hydraulic breaker, pallet forks, angle broom, sweeper, auger, mower, snow blower, stump grinder, tree spade, trencher, and a wheel saw.

Modern skid loaders come in two varieties, a four wheeled system and a rubber track version. Wheeled skid loaders are typically are four-wheel drive and for additional maneuverability, the left and right wheels systems are independent. The track version also referred to as a track loader provides for better digging and pushes performance in higher end models due to less ground disturbance and better traction in un-ideal environments like mud and sand.

History of the skid loader machine

The first three-wheeled front-end loader was invented in 1957 by two brothers, Cyril and Louis Keller, in a small machinist shop in Rothsay Minnesota. The brothers conceived the idea to help a nearby farmer with the ignoble task of cleaning up manure for a pole barn. They wanted to help him, and out of this collaboration the first skidder was born.

This early machine was eventually purchased by Melrose Manufacturing Company and the Kellers brought on to continue development. Since then it has spread to become a highly valued piece of heavy machinery at construction and engineering site around the globe.

What are these machines used for?

Due to the wide array of attachments available for these vehicles , they have many uses, but mostly are employed for scrape material from one place to another, carry materials in a bucket and proceed to load them into a truck or trailer.

Skid loaders can also be used in tight digging situations where factors limit the practically of using a large excavator, like digging a basement under an existing house. In this situation a skid loader would make use of a ramp at the edge of the site. The loader would proceed to use the ramp to carry materials out of the hole. The skid loader would reshape the ramp by making it steeper and longer as the excavation deepened.

Differences between a front loader machine and a skid loader machine

The pivot arms on a skid loader lay behind the driver, alongside the side of the vehicle.

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