A loader is a heavy equipment machine used in construction to move aside or load materials such as asphalt, demolition debris, dirt, snow, feed, gravel, logs, raw minerals, recycled material, rock, sand, woodchips, etc. into or onto another type of machinery (such as a dump truck, conveyor belt, feed-hopper, or railroad car). There are many types of loader, which, depending on design and application, are called by various names, including bucket loader, front loader, front-end loader, payloader, scoop, shovel, skip loader, wheel loader, or skid-steer.
Front End Loader – A loader is a type of tractor, usually wheeled, sometimes on tracks, that has a front-mounted square wide bucket connected to the end of two booms (arms) to scoop up loose material from the ground, such as dirt, sand or gravel, and move it from one place to another without pushing the material across the ground. A loader is commonly used to move a stockpiled material from ground level and deposit it into an awaiting dump truck or into an open trench excavation.
The loader assembly may be a removable attachment or permanently mounted. Often the bucket can be replaced with other devices or tools—for example, many can mount forks to lift heavy pallets or shipping containers, and a hydraulically opening “clamshell” bucket allows a loader to act as a light dozer or scraper. The bucket can also be augmented with devices like a bale grappler for handling large bales of hay or straw.
Large loaders, such as the Kawasaki 95ZV-2, John Deere 844K, Caterpillar 950H, Volvo L120E, Case 921E, or Hitachi ZW310 usually have only a front bucket and are called Front Loaders, whereas small loader tractors are often also equipped with a small backhoe and are called backhoe loaders or loader backhoes or JCBs, after the company that first claimed to have invented them. Other companies like CASE in America and Whitlock in the UK had been manufacturing Excavator Loaders well before JCB.
Loaders are a popular addition to tractors from 50 to 200 hp. Its current ‘drive-in’ form was originally designed and developed in 1958 by a Swedish company namned Ålö when they launched their Quicke loader. Tractor loaders were developed to perform a multitude of farming tasks, and are popular due to their relatively low cost (compared to Telehandler) and high versatility. Tractor loaders can be fitted with many attachments such as hydraulic grabs and spikes to assist with bale and silage handling, forks for pallet work, and buckets for more general farm activities.
Skid Steer – A skid loader, skid–steer loader, or skidsteer, is a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments.