What's new in skid steers?
Skid steer loaders, or skid loaders, steer by slowing or stopping wheels on one side and allowing wheels on the other to drive the machine into a turn. The drive train for the skid steer loader typically uses two hydraulic pumps that supply fluid to a corresponding motor on each side of the machine.
A lift-arm assembly is usually equipped with a hydraulic coupler at the forward end for attachments. The coupler allows attaching a bucket for loading loose material and for performing moderate excavating. The coupler also accommodates any number of work tools, including hydraulic hammers, augers, brooms, material-handling forks, brush cutters, and backhoes. A separate hydraulic pump supplies fluid to hydraulic cylinders on the lift-arm assembly to raise and lower the assembly and to open and close the bucket (or to tilt the coupler when an attachment is used.)
Skid steers are available in a range of sizes, which are classified by the machine’s rated operating capacity (ROC). The ROC is determined by halving the machine’s tipping load. For example, a machine with a 1,300-pound ROC would have a tipping load of 2,600 pounds.
A number of control systems are available for skid loaders. One system uses a pair of levers mounted in front of the operator’s seat to control the machine’s speed and steering, and a pair of foot pedals that control the lift-arm assembly’s lift and tilt functions. Another system replaces the foot pedals with small hinged levers at the top of the steering levers to activate lift and tilt functions. Some use joystick controllers, where one joystick controls speed and steering, and a second controls lift and tilt.