A backhoe loader is a heavy construction equipment that consists of a tractor-like unit fitted with a loader-style shovel/bucket on the front and a backhoe on the back. Backhoe loaders can tackle landscaping jobs of all sizes and types, such as digging up trees and moving them to new locations, even keeping the root ball intact. They can also be put to work moving boulders, rocks, and gravel, or moving dirt and pushing topsoil into place. Backhoes are also great for digging fence post holes or minor excavation jobs, such as digging small ponds and water features. They can even be used to dig trenches for irrigation lines to keep the landscape watered and healthy all year round.
Parts of a backhoe loader
Backhoe loader consists of a tractor, a loader and a backhoe. Each piece of equipment is suited to a particular sort of work. On a typical construction site, the backhoe operator usually uses all three components to get the job done.
The Tractor is the core structure of a backhoe loader is the tractor. It has a powerful, turbocharged diesel engine, large, rugged tires and a cab with basic steering controls (a steering wheel, brakes, etc.). Backhoe cabs are either completely enclosed or have an open canopy structure to give the operator protection.The loader is attached in the front and the backhoe is attached in the back. These two components serve very different functions.The loader can do several different things. In many applications, you can use it like a big, powerful dustpan or coffee scoop. The operator controls the loader while driving the tractor.
The backhoe is the main tool of the backhoe loader. It’s used to dig up hard, compact material, usually earth, or to lift heavy loads, such as a sewer box. It can lift this material and drop it in a pile to the side of the hole.The backhoe is a big, extremely powerful version of your arm or finger. It has three segments- The boom, The dipstick and The bucket.This arrangement is very similar to your arm. Your arm has three segments — your upper arm, forearm and hand. The backhoe can dig all sorts of holes, but is especially suited for digging ditches. To use the backhoe, the operator has to park the tractor and turn the seat around.
The boom is the long part of the backhoe arm that is closest to the cab where the operator sits. The boom can be raised or lowered and navigated from left to right, which is known as “swinging” the boom. The second part of the backhoe arm is called the dipstick. While the boom is attached to the operator’s cab, the dipstick is connected from the pivot to the bucket that scoops the earth. It serves as the fore-arm of the backhoe. The bucket is the final part of the backhoe and is the part that scoops the earth or debris that has to be moved. A pivot is provided between the dipper stick and the bucket to facilitate the movement of the bucket. To scoop up the earth, the bucket is moved towards the dipper stick.
The tractor component is for moving the other two components from place to place, and the operator also maneuvers it when using the loader. The loader and backhoe components are a natural combination for all sorts of jobs. The most common application for a backhoe loader is this basic job — digging a trench with the backhoe and then back-filling it with the loader.
The other common attachments in backhoe loaders are the two stabilizer legs just behind the rear wheels. These legs are crucial to backhoe operation because they take the brunt of the weight when a backhoe is digging. Without the stabilizer legs, the weight of a heavy load or the downward force of digging into the ground would strain the wheels and tires, and the whole tractor would bounce constantly. The stabilizers keep the tractor steady, minimizing the jostling effect of digging with the backhoe. They also secure the tractor so that it won’t slip into the ditch or hole.
The key to the power of the backhoe is hydraulic pressure. Hydraulic lines, a reservoir of hydraulic fluid, a pump, and a series of pistons allow the machine’s operator to extend its arm and cut through the soil with a toothed bucket. The pump exerts pressure on the hydraulic fluid, and operating the levers opens a valve that releases the oil into a piston. The piston expands to lift the arm, swing the bucket, press the bucket into the soil, and lift it out of the excavation. Reversing the valve causes the oil to flow out of the piston and return to the reservoir.
The backhoe’s standard equipment is a narrow bucket on the rear end and a loader on the front. The operator effectively makes either device the working end by simply rotating his chair and operating a different set of controls. Typically, if the bucket is being used, the flat front end of the loader is set down on the ground to stabilize the vehicle.
The newer types of backhoe loaders even offer you air conditioning, radios, and other accessories that make you feel like you are working with luxury.
The advantages of a backhoe loader
Backhoe Loaders are one of the most popular equipment in the earthmoving and construction equipment category as they are highly versatile machines and can be used for multiple purposes and can easily travel on roads. There are numerous advantages of backhoe loaders we have analysed a few important ones.
- Availability in various sizes
- Can cover several range of terrain types
- Attachment adjustment is easy
- Designed to move easily over the rough terrain
- Fitted for digging ditches, laying pipes, planting underground cables or laying the foundation for buildings and drainage systems
- Helps in decreasing labour cost
- Safer by design
- Operator friendly
Backhoe loader applications
Backhoe loaders are very common and can be used for a wide variety of tasks: construction, small demolitions, light transportation of building materials, powering building equipment, digging holes/excavation, landscaping, breaking asphalt, and paving roads. Often, the backhoe bucket can also be replaced with powered attachments such as a breaker, grapple, auger, or a stump grinder. Enhanced articulation of attachments can be achieved with intermediate attachments such as the tiltrotator. Many backhoes feature quick coupler (quick-attach) mounting systems and auxiliary hydraulic circuits for simplified attachment mounting, increasing the machine’s utilization on the job site. Some loader buckets have a retractable bottom or “clamshell”, enabling it to empty its load more quickly and efficiently. Retractable-bottom loader buckets are also often used for grading and scraping. The front assembly may be a removable attachment or permanently mounted.
Because digging while on tires intrinsically causes the machine to rock, and the swinging weight of the backhoe could cause the vehicle to tip, most backhoe loaders use hydraulic outriggers or stabilizers at the rear when digging and lower the loader bucket for additional stability. This means that the bucket must be raised and the outriggers retracted when the vehicle needs to change positions, reducing efficiency. For this reason many companies offer miniature tracked excavators, which sacrifice the loader function and ability to be driven from site to site, for increased digging efficiency.
Their relatively small frame and precise control make backhoe-loaders very useful and common in urban engineering projects such as construction and repairs in areas too small for larger equipment. Their versatility and compact size makes them one of the most popular urban construction vehicles. For larger projects, a tracked excavator is generally used.
The versatility feature makes the backhoe very popular piece of machinery which is commonly used at construction sites, in building roads and bridges and in different agricultural projects. Those contractors who are interested in purchasing a backhoe loader machine should look for companies selling this construction equipment. Some popular companies selling backhoe loaders are- JCB India, Case India, GMMCO India, ACE, Mahindra Construction equipment, Caterpillar, Escorts, Volvo, Komatsu, Terex, Bull construction equipment, to name a few.
With the development of technology, today’s backhoe loaders has adopted highly modified telematics system for a better track control and understanding the work done by a machine in a day. In the upcoming series we will discuss in detail about the telematics system.