Versatile and adaptable, these machines carry many different names — but you’ll see them at every major job site.
The decision to attend a wheel loader training school is one that can open up paths to a rewarding new career quickly and will give you the skills needed to operate an essential piece of heavy equipment. Acting as a giant, mobile shovel on the worksite or demolition area, wheel loaders can be found wherever major works are taking place.
There are many heavy equipment types, but the wheel loader has carved out its own niche as a powerful and versatile tool that serves a simple, but vital purpose. This piece of heavy machinery is used to scoop material into trucks or transport it around a job site. They’re capable of lifting any loose, granular material, ranging from rubble, debris, and gravel to smaller, finer elements like soil, dirt, and sand.
The equipment’s name refers to the transportation method employed by the machine and the job it does best. Similar in appearance to a bulldozer, a wheel loader differs in that it has, well, wheels. Also, where a bulldozer comes equipped with a relatively flat front blade, the wheel loader uses a large, deeper bucket to scoop and dump materials. When you want to push things around, go with a bulldozer. When you need to pick materials up and place them somewhere else, a wheel loader is what you need.
And because of those aforementioned wheels, this equipment has far better maneuverability on roads. In addition, those wheels give the machine the added benefit of being able to traverse concrete or asphalt without damaging the surface — unlike tracked machinery.
Let’s learn more about this staple of the construction site and how you can rapidly acquire the needed knowledge and certification to become an operator.
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Everything You Need to Know About Wheel Loaders
Similar to other heavy equipment notables, the history of the wheel loader is not a linear line from one person or company, but rather a collection of innovations and inventions across the globe. But the first recognizable wheel loaders came about in the 1920s when agriculture tractors were fitted with a scoop-shovel mechanism to move, transport, and deliver soil and dirt.
The invention of the wheel loader as it is recognized today is credited to Volvo Construction Equipment in 1954. It was dubbed ‘The H10’ and was based on a tractor with rear-wheel drive. Since then, the wheel loader has been adapted and improved. By the 1960s more companies started developing wheel loaders. All adaptations and variations contributed to the end result of the modern wheel loader. New ideas and patents continue to be filed. Caterpillar, Komatsu, and Yanmar all went on to file separate patents for the wheeled loader between 1989 and 2014.
Many Names, Same Capability
When looking for work as a wheel loader operator you might be surprised at how many different terms are used for these machines. Some terms are regionally specific, most are manufacturing-specific, yet there is a certain amount of logic behind each name. Even in a wheel loader training school, you might hear some of the terms listed below, but they do refer to the same general machine.
Wheel Loader — One of the more common names, it includes mention of the different method of travel.
Front-End Loader — Another popular moniker, this still refers to the traditional wheeled machinery with loading capability.
Skip Loader — Smaller versions of a loader, sometimes smaller than a typical car, the arms on this machinery to control the shovel come over the top from behind the cab.
Skid Steer Loaders — Generally driven on tracks, these machines get their name from the steering method.
Backhoe Loader — A different type of heavy equipment entirely, backhoes come with a front-loading device and a rear excavator tool.
The principle job of a wheel loader can be altered by equipping other attachments to the front lifting mechanism. Instead of a bucket scoop, these attachments give the machine a more specific purpose and different capabilities. With these additions, wheel loaders can be used to move other equipment, clear forests and landscapes, remove snow and ice, dig holes, and more.
- Lifting jibs
- Stump grinders
Where To Use Wheel Loaders
Wheel loaders are often used when a skid steer is too small, or the digger implemented on a backhoe is not needed. Wheel loaders come in different sizes as well, usually determined by the size of the bucket or scoop, leaving some variability (considering attachments as well) on which projects need which specific loaders. Here are some general guidelines.
Loaders are often seen on construction sites and excavation jobs as the large bucket is perfect for scooping and moving dirt and rocks away from an excavation site and loading it into trucks. Loaders can also help to transport such material around the site.
You’ll also see wheel loaders used in road-building projects as their tires make it essential whenever moving heavy loads is needed in the construction of city streets or interstate highways. Loaders are also seen in agriculture and landscaping projects and can prepare any job site or assist in cleanup after a project is completed.
Ready to grow with heavy equipment operator training? Plan with the right course.
PTS is the Wheel Loader Training School You Need
Performance Training Solutions provides accessible training to get you set up for a new career and meet all requirements quickly. We offer two, three-week, 120-hour courses in heavy equipment operations. Depending on the type of machinery you’re seeking certification for, you may need to take one or both of the courses.
Here’s a brief snapshot of the types of equipment covered in each course.
- Heavy Equipment Operator 1 is an entry-level course and covers the knowledge and skills required to obtain employment as a skid steer, wheel loader, compactor, backhoe, or articulated off-road dump truck operator.
- Heavy Equipment Operator 2 follows up on that initial training and opens the door to employment as an operator for bulldozers, scrapers, excavators, and motor graders.
If you are not prepared to pay tuition outright, several funding and finance options are available to you. For veterans, PTS gladly accepts the Post 9/11 GI Bill® as well as Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Program Chapter 31 benefits.
If you are not prepared to pay tuition outright, several funding and finance options are available to you. PTS serves many students who are funded by training grants through programs such as the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act and the Trade Adjustment/Readjustment Act. Depending on your circumstances, these training grants may include additional funds for lodging, transportation, and meals. Call 1-866-248-9958 now to learn more about how we serve unemployed or underemployed workers.
There are also different state and federal grants that individuals may be eligible for that can be used to pay for training. Examples of some of these programs are Tribal Education (BIA), WIOA Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Department of Workforce Development, and Displaced Workers, Displaced Farmers.