Terminology is something that everyone needs to come to terms with when starting a new career, and heavy equipment operations is certainly no different. Some terminology is manufacturer-specific, some regional-specific, whilst others often fit into the category of slang and only used in some workplaces. Loaders are a good example with the generic term ‘wheel loader’ the most common. Other forms of loader really depend on size or the way the loader operates when it comes to naming them. The following is a list of common terms used to name ‘wheel loader’.
- Front-End Loader – another generic term for a loader.
- Skip Loader – this loader is quite small, with the arms that control the loading shovel coming from behind the operator.
- Skid Steer Loaders – this is also a small loader and runs on tracks. It’s the tracks that give this loader its name. Each track runs independently with steering handled by stopping or reversing one track – hence the term ‘skid steer’ loader.
- Backhoe Loader – (often referred to as just a backhoe) is a combination of a wheel loader and excavator (or hoe, which is at the back of the vehicle). This is a popular unit of heavy equipment because of its versatility.
You may come across other terms used to name loaders, and hopefuly you’ll come to terms with those names quickly. Fortunately, loader training on one will equip you with the basic skills required to operate all with the exception of a backhoe loader. You’ll need to learn to either use the excavator component or learn to operate excavators to be proficient on this equipment. Loaders do the same basic job – they move earth and load dump trucks. For most operators, these are easy to learn to operate and a lot of fun on the job.