Construction Advice: Common Hydraulic Attachments for Skid Steer Loaders5 min read
Hydraulic-related or relevant technologies have transformed skid steers into multi-purpose machines that allow owners of heavy machines such as a skid steer to perform a range of tasks that traditionally required the use of a variety of other machines such as a dozer or excavator.
Other factors related to these attachments include the fact that apart from making these machines more versatile the associated systems that are installed in the latest skid steer models and the ability of these internal systems to communicate with attachments provides operators with more control over the skid steer without exiting the cab as frequently as before.
These systems are similar to ‘Plug n Play’ concepts within the scope of heavy machines and hydraulic attachments which not only reduce downtime significantly but also enhance accuracy and maximize productivity. This article will review some of the most common skid steer hydraulic attachments that are also available from excavator hire service companies that also provide construction equipment and skid steer rentals.
The Bucket Attachment
Buckets are designed for numerous purposes and as such the dimensions and designs vary greatly from one bucket type to another and each is suited for different or specific applications. Starting from the general purpose buckets which are regular buckets and are normally used for basic digging (when the bucket has teeth attached) and moving earth and also smoothing surfaces. Other types of bucket attachments that skid steer commonly use include the cutting edge bucket, Industrial grapple bucket, buckets with spill guard (multi-purpose), or utility buckets that are fitted with cutting edges. Bucket attachments for a standard skid steer vary in size that starts anywhere from 55 inches to about 100 inches in width.
A skid steer could be instantly converted into a bona-fide backhoe loader by simply rigging a backhoe attachment via the hydraulic coupling system. The Backhoe arm allows a skid steer to function as a powerful mini excavator or even a conventional backhoe loader. In essence, a skid steer with a backhoe attachment and bucket would be able to accomplish a wide variety of construction and landscaping tasks without any additional equipment. This is simply because a skid steer with a backhoe attachment and a bucket is able to dig footings, and ditches, fill lots and construct slopes easily.
The broom attachments for skid steer loaders which is also commonly referred to as sweepers by contractors and operators where the operators are easily able to sweep over most type of surface with ease even curb edges. The operator controls the attachment using a joystick which moves and rotates based on which areas the operator targets and the dirt that is swept up is moved into the attached hopper which makes it easy to dispose of after the sweeping is concluded.
Brush Cutter Attachment
Removing a thick brush is no easy task when it is done manually using human labor and handheld tools. Even a small area of brush could take an entire day or more with half a dozen workers. However, this task may be accomplished and the brush cleared within hours using the brush cutter attachment. A single skid steer fitted with a brush cutter which is specially designed to clear overgrowth easily, quickly and efficiently. The blades are able to run through a brush that contains thick material effortlessly and is able to cut down small trees within minutes. These attachments are perfect for roadside maintenance or cleaning up along nature trails.
Tiller & Rake Attachments
The perfect attachment for landscaping, the tiller attachment saves a lot of time for landscapers when a skid steer is fitted with a tiller attachment as it is able to prepare soil quickly for seeding lawns and creating gardens. The tiller breaks up hard surfaces or tough soil easily whilst simultaneously leveling out uneven terrain.
As for the rake, it is considered to be among the most useful attachments on a skid steer that is essential for landscaping projects, agricultural needs, and even basic construction. In general, they prepare the soil for other purposes such as planting. The rake removes rocks and debris and smoothens ground surfaces evenly and is often applied for the seasonal care of turf and lawn. There are assortments of hydraulic rake attachments such as landscaping rakes that come complete with a hopper for disposing of collected debris, there are also industrial grapple rakes that are for tough tasks such as lot clearing and then there are the power box rakes that are used for conditioning soil.
Trenching Attachment (Trenchers)
Trenchers are undoubtedly among the most popular skid steer attachment mainly due to the fact that it is applicable for most general construction projects as the level of versatility afforded by this attachment to operators for digging holes, ditches, drainage, and irrigation is unbeatable. Most new trencher models come ready with an auger on the side that functions as a ‘clean-up’ element that moves displaced earth away from the trench. These attachments come in a variety of sizes and teeth designs that are suited for different types of material. Some smart trenchers offer autonomous or semi-autonomous trenching functions depending on the skid steer model and trench attachment type.
Augers are basically drills with a lot of additional power and a hydraulic auger attachment fitted to a machine such as a skid steer offers enough power to dig holes quickly. There are various types of augers and selecting the right auger is a critical factor for projects as the size of the hole that is required to be dug is directly correlated with the size of the auger.
‘Smart Attachment’ Factor
The reason behind as to why these attachments are deemed as ‘smart attachments’ is because they have computerized sensors and controllers mounted on these attachments, especially attachments such as graders, dozer blades, and tilt/rotators that are able to communicate with the joystick controls and monitors in skid steers or other new heavy machine models such as excavators. Smart Attachments are integrated with the machine which is similar to a handshake that establishes communication between the attachment and the skid steer. Once a skid steer recognizes the attachment, all the operator has to do is input the required setting for the task and even set on how the operator intends to control the attachment with the joystick.