The Rise of the Skid Steer: Skid steers match up to the mighty excavator


Excavators have always been parked in the spotlight when it comes to construction projects, however recently, the Skid Steer has moved up the ranks as they are quickly becoming as versatile as the excavator not just in terms of capabilities, but also in terms of size. Excavators and skid steers were initially used for excavating, moving material or earth using their buckets, but after the advancements in hydraulic technology that brought about the hydraulic coupler, excavators were able to do much more than just earthmoving, they were able to drill, crush, compact earth and do a lot more rendering them as multitasking machines. In recent years, the skid steer has also homed on this multitasking factor as manufacturers have redefined the skid steer to be able to accommodate a variety of tools just as the excavator. The skid steer has since been rendered as versatile as the excavator and is currently used as frequently as the excavator especially within the scope of the construction industry and small projects such as home improvement and landscaping projects.

Why the skid steer is called a skid steer

The skid steer got its name due to the wheels of the machine which is fixed in one direction and does not steer and therefore in order to turn the operator simply applies acceleration to one side of the machine which causes the wheel to ‘skid’ and performing the turn. The skid steer wheels on the right are powered separately from the ones on the left allowing the operator to choose which side he intends to accelerate in order to turn the machine or rather ‘skid’ the machine into position. The smallest of skid steers have a load capacity of about 400 KGs and the bigger models are able to load nearly two tons. Skid steers are generally light and are highly agile allowing them to move about in the tightest spaces with relative ease. The fact that they are all manufactured with hydraulic coupling, they are able to accommodate a wide variety of hydraulic attachments tools to the arms of the machine allowing them to do more than they were ever able to. The versatility of these machines is what makes them as popular as they are rendering them as equals to the excavator for the construction industry and landscaping or home improvement projects.

Facts for Optimal Utilisation

Albeit the primary purpose of the skid steer is to dig and move materials about, the high power they offer despite the small frames and coupled with hydraulic coupling, they are able to perform the heaviest of heavy tasks even in tight and congested environments. They skid steer eliminates the need to have additional equipment or machines at project sites. What project managers must essentially have an understanding of when renting a skid steer or an excavator for that matter is that they come in a variety of different sizes and power range and each category and each are subject to their rated operating capacity (ROC). For instance machines that are below 50 HP are able to lift a max weight of up to 800 KGs and machines that are about 70 HP would be able to lift up to 1 ton. Also there is the issue of space to be considered and generally smaller machines are better for tight or confined spaces. Therefore before hiring a skid steer or excavator, it is crucial for project managers to lay out the requirements of the projects and the associated machine type in order to ensure that the rental is optimised fully and the cost is kept within the project’s budget.

Leave a Reply