Loaders come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. There are dozer loaders than run on tracks like a dozer, but use a shovel like a traditional loader; backhoes that have an excavator at the rear and a shovel at the front; and wheel loaders which, as the name suggests, run on wheels. However, as you can see from this image, there is one area in their operation that can throw students.
Wheel loaders are generally articulated. There’s nothing new in that, there are many different types of articulated machinery – in fact, if you have towed a boat or trailer then you have been in a form of articulated vehicle. The difference between a normal articulated vehicle and a wheel loader is that the operator is sitting in the back half of the articulation. To put that in an everyday situation, that would be like the driver sitting in the trailer when driving down the road.
This makes for some interesting maneuvers when students first climb aboard. It can take a while to become accustomed to the way the vehicle handles, particularly the steering. Once you get the hang of it, the rest becomes easy. The best way to master a wheel loader is to start with good quality hands on training. A good grounding means you enter the workplace with sufficient skills that driving a wheel loader is second nature. You will need experience to learn some of the finer points of loader operations, but the fact the vehicle is articulated should hold you back.
Wheel loaders can be difficult to master, however, the right heavy equipment training will soon bring out the master in you.