Edited by Mike Larson, editor, Western Builder North American contractors are always looking for tools to help them improve efficiency because more speed can mean more profit. In recent years, some of those efficiency-improving tools — like compact backhoe loaders and compact excavators — that were born in the narrow streets and tight job sites of Europe have started to perform with...
Edited by Mike Larson, editor, Western Builder
North American contractors are always looking for tools to help them improve efficiency because more speed can mean more profit.
In recent years, some of those efficiency-improving tools — like compact backhoe loaders and compact excavators — that were born in the narrow streets and tight job sites of Europe have started to perform with equal success on projects in North America. One of the European equipment inspirations now catching on in North America is the Articulated Dump Truck (ADT).
Popular in Europe, compact articulated dump trucks, commonly known as "site dumpers," have worked on construction sites there for more than 50 years. They were originally developed to haul concrete from mixers to space-restricted work sites.
Because European law requires materials to be stored off-site and transferred to the job site in order to minimize congestion, contractors quickly discovered that using a site dumper to move dirt and other material kept job sites open and tidier.
Today, site dumpers are used on almost every job site in Europe that has confined work areas around buildings. These compact tools go where traditional dump trucks can't. Although site dumpers are still primarily found in the United Kingdom, Spain, Austria, and Italy, contractors worldwide are starting to catch on to the site dumper's many benefits. In the past decade, site dumpers have begun working in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where the population explosion often outpaces infrastructure renovations and expansions.
Only within the last year or two have site dumpers really built momentum in North America. Contractors in heavily populated urban areas, such as New England, Illinois and Texas, have started using these agile machines to reduce site congestion, improve aesthetics, and prevent damage to landscaping and infrastructure.
Site dumpers serve a wide variety of applications, on both big and small projects, according to Ernie Ferguson, site-dumper product manager for Terex Construction Americas. From cramped construction and rough-terrain project sites, to utility, landscaping, golf course, nursery, cemetery, and rental applications, says Ferguson, site dumpers can save contractors many hours of loading and hauling all types of materials, from clay, sand and gravel, to spread fill, asphalt, rubbish, rubble, lumber, ashes, coal, slag, turf, and fertilizer.
More than a motorized wheelbarrow, site dumpers are essentially a big brother to the power buggy. Site dumpers are dedicated haul-and-dump vehicles that can help contractors reduce operating costs, says Ferguson.
Traditionally, he says, North American contractors have tried to move material with wheel loaders and skid steers because they already have that equipment in their fleets. But, those machines are not designed as dedicated hauling vehicles, so they are not as efficient or cost effective as a dedicated hauler.
For example, says Ferguson, a machine designed for loading, like a skid steer, cannot carry as much material in one pass as a site dumper, so using a dumper reduces cycle times and saves fuel. Also, he says, loading machines will often spill materials during transfer and tear up sensitive turf, resulting in costly cleanup and restoration. Because of its light footprint and dump body design, using a site dumper minimizes those costs, he says.
Site dumpers can easily be matched with skid steers, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, or excavators to quickly load materials for transfer. This significantly reduces cycle times and jobsite cleanup, maximizing production and return on investment.
According to Ferguson, Terex offers North America's most comprehensive line-up of site dumpers. Payload capacities range from 4,409 pounds to 13,230 pounds. Terex offers a choice of forward dump or swivel-and-tip models with four-wheel drive and articulating steering for accurate load placement. There are also two all-wheel-steer models that can get into — and out of — tight spots with ease.
"Our diverse range of dumper designs and capacities means that contractors can get a machine tailor-made for their needs and performance-matched to their output requirements to keep operating costs low," says Ferguson.
The multipurpose power tip (PT), or forward dump, excels at moving materials around restricted work sites. With a fully hydrostatic drive to all four wheels, PT site dumpers are easily maneuvered with a single joystick. The swivel-and-tip, or power swivel (PS), models allow the load box to be rotated 180 degrees from side to side and tipped to place a load. PS models are ideal for backfilling trenches and provide more options for loading and dumping.
North American contractors who try these versatile dumpers quickly increase productivity and see a high return on investment, says Ferguson. Allan MacCurrach, president of MacCurrach Golf Construction (MGC), Jacksonville, Fla., has purchased two site dumpers. In the past, MGC used agricultural-style tractors pulling small trailers to haul material to and from areas being renovated on the course. MacCurrach and his team were looking for a way to reduce material-movement cycle times.
MacCurrach has found its site dumpers move material 40-percent faster than previous methods. "And given the fact that on an average golf course more than 15,000 tons of sand alone are moved at one time or another efficiency is everything," says MacCurrach. "We see these units as playing a key role in our projects."
Site dumpers' popularity will only continue to grow in North America, says Ferguson, as contractors are challenged to find alternative approaches to material movement and delivery because of strict worksite regulations, similar to those in Europe, and rising project costs.
"If contractors need to move material in a fast, cost-effective way, site dumpers are the best option," says Ferguson. "Once contractors try these site dumpers, they don't know how they lived without them."