The original skid-steer loader arms were designed using a hinge at the rear of the machine to pivot the loader arm up into the air in an arc that swings up over the top of the operator. This design tends to limit the usable height to how long the loader arm is and the height of that pivot point. In the raised position the front of the loader arm moves towards the rear of the machine, requiring the operator to move extremely close to or press up against the side of a tall container or other transport vehicle to get the bucket close enough to dump accurately. At the highest arm positions the bucket may overflow the rear of the bucket and spill directly onto the top of the machine's cab.
Applications that require the extra horsepower, such as dozing work, are also a good fit for large skid-steer loaders. "Basically, the large-frame skid steers are going to do the heavy lifting for a contractor," says Zupancic. "When they need a big machine to do the hard work on a big site, but they still need maximum manueverablity and versatility, they'll turn to a large skid steer."
An extended reach design uses multiple hinges and parallel lifting bars on the loader arm, with the main pivot points towards the center or front of the machine. This allows the loader arm to have much greater operating height while retaining a compact design, and allows the vertical movement to be less of an arc and more straight-up vertical, to keep the bucket forward of the operator's cab, allowing safe dumping into tall containers or vehicles.
Skid Steer loaders offer great versatility. Due to their compact size and zero-radius turning circle, it is possible to use them in confined spaces where many other types of heavy machinery cannot reach. They are ideal for landscaping in parks and yards, or moving earth around a construction site; and in some cases it is possible to use them in place of a full-scale excavator to dig holes. Sellers on eBay also offer specialized buckets and attachments for clearing snow, grinding tree stumps, mowing grass, or digging trenches. With so many practical applications, skid steer loaders represent an excellent investment for small businesses looking to streamline some of their methods and improve overall workforce efficiency, and they are also useful for homeowners or farmers with a lot of land to maintain.
Some of the biggest names in the world produce skid steer loaders, including Bobcat, New Holland and Kubota. Consider a Boxer mini skid for domestic and small-scale applications, or invest in a powerful John Deere or Caterpillar loader for commercial use. Even if you choose to buy a second-hand machine, you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have bought something built to last.