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Via Mobilis - Updated: on 2023-02-03 09:54:39 - By Gaëtan GABRION



The star of levelling


A loader, whether with wheels or tracks, is a machine widly used on all types of construction sites but especially for levelling as well as for mines and quarries.

Benefiting from an important forward thrust, it can move and load tons of materials very fast with its sizeable bucket. Its engine and imposing wheels ensure a rock solid stability and a use with a wide range of application : from construction to landscaping as well as for agricultural purposes, loaders are a guarantee of optimal productivity.

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History of the loader

The loader is a fairly recent invention compared to other construction machines currently used for levelling and construction. Starting in 1920 we see emerging cable shovel mounted on farming tractors, but it is only after WWII that we saw the development of the first compact prototypes of wheel loaders. It’s in the 50s and with the generalisation of hydraulic systems for construction site machines that the history of the compact loader really starts. 10 years later, the loader is widely successful and its loading capacities are multiplied with the development of its bucket. It is at this time that the first articulated loaders are sold by Caterpillar with the Cat 988 model.

The rest of the history is similar to the history of other reliable materials we have nowadays : a mix of innovation, research and development that helps the conception of machines that are more robust, efficient and productive. A rapid technological evolution when comparing the differences between the first models of articulated loaders with a 6-ton capacity and the more current models, such as the Tourneau L-2350, with a 72-ton capacity for materials in a bucket that has a volumetric capacity of 40.5 m³.



The different areas of application of a loader

A loader can work on every type of construction sites as well as other work of civil engineering. It mainly is used to move materials thanks to the front skip and rapidly load trucks. It doesn’t have a versatile use, however it is essential on construction sites that generate lots of rubble and substance like levelling sites.

Here are a few examples of use of a loader:

  • - Levelling operations (load and tuning)
  • - Material processing in quarries
  • - Demolition works
  • - Road constructions
  • - Underground work (electric loaders specially designed for this)

Lots of other applications are possible, De nombreux autres domaines d’application sont envisageables, for instance we can name: waste recycling, forest work and the management of lumber yard, landscaping and agriculture, etc.


The technical characteristics of a loader

Three types of loaders share the different tasks they are given:

  • - Wheel loaders: they are mainly used on good composition soil. The advantage of tyres is to offer a speed superior to the speed of a track loader and be able to go on public roads. Different models exist in four-wheel drive or in two-wheel drive, front or rear wheel drive.

  • - Track loaders: they operate where the wheel loaders cannot access, such as on muddy and soft terrains or on rough terrains or where tyres can cause damage. The inconvenience of track loaders The inconvenience of track loaders is the low moving speed as well as the impossibility to go on public roads.

  • - Compact loaders: they are normally  smaller and don’t exceed 4 500 kg, even though some heavier models are available on the market. Their main quality is a better manoeuvrability, which can be appreciated is confined spaces as well as in cities. The compact loaders are available with tracks or wheels.


A word about safety

It is important to know the safety signs to follow when driving one of those machines and only someone with a license can drive a loader. A good knowledge of the machine is mandatory to ensure safety on construction sites. As you could see, different types of loaders are available and are used following the characteristics of each terrain. Driving the machine can be difficult on loose soil or construction sites in urban areas or in limited spaces.






The main loader manufacturers

The main loader manufacturers are well-known by construction industry professionals. It is among others, Caterpillar, Volvo, Komatsu, JCB or Liebherr, that regularly offer new innovative models that meet the ambitions of our time.

For instance, it is the case with the new Liebherr Stereo L 514 and L 518 wheel loaders that allow an increased productivity by mixing comfort and safety use. Other innovations improve the performance of the loaders, such as the hydraulic system with load sensing or the on-board weighing system, available on numerous new models such as the Doosan DL420CVT-5 or the Hyundai HL965.