European Equipment Analysis: Skid-Steer Loaders - United Kingdom (November 2014)
Off-Highway Research's Equipment Analyses are a rigorous evaluation of the structure and development of demand for one product in the UK, France, Germany and Italy in the European Service, and in China and India.
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This report analyses the market in the United Kingdom for skid-steer loaders, and is an update of the study last published on the subject by Off-Highway Research in April 2010.
Designed in the USA over 40 years ago, the skid-steer loader was initially conceived to help livestock farmers clean out their animal sheds. Its main sphere of operations now is as an ultra-compact loading machine for use within confined areas, or where access is limited. Its tight turning circle and high degree of manoeuvrability are ensured by virtue of its steering system, which operates along the same lines as a military tank: the machine's movement is controlled by the use of two in-cab levers which independently vary the speed and direction of the two sets of wheels.
Continuing developments in the attachments market have greatly increased the versatility of the skid-steer loader, and have broadened its appeal to a wider cross-section of users. Whereas larger construction machinery is often dedicated to a single task, skid-steer loaders can be found in a variety of applications, ranging from the more obvious ones such as construction and agriculture, to those as diverse as forestry, mining or ship trimming. In order to emphasise its versatility, it is interesting to note that a number of manufacturers have dropped the ‘loader’ designation from its name, and merely refer to the product as a skid-steer.
Although there are no recognised weight or horsepower categories for classifying skid-steer loaders, the product is generally rated according to its operating capacity. Industry standards define this as being the equivalent of one-half of a load that would cause the loader to tip forward at maximum reach. This is measured according to an SAE formula and is expressed in kilograms.
The findings presented in this report are based on Off-Highway Research's existing database, and are the result of an interview programme undertaken in September 2014 No compact tracked loader data is included in the findings.