Wide range of quick couplers
Every wheel loader works with a quick-change system for fittings. Especially when a user shifts, often it is convenient when this can be done hydraulically. Fittings can be switched within a matter of seconds without dismounting. Virtually every manufacturer has its own quick-connect coupler. Standardisation hardly exists. As certain brands have been in the market for a long time, some offer the competition's quick-connect coupler in addition to their own system. This allows the new owner to keep using the accessories of his previous shovel.
Safety requirements Rops and Fops
For mini-shovels safety requirements are regulated in the European Machine Directive 2006/42/EG. This directive states among other things that a machine, such as a tractor, must be equipped with a Roll Over Protective Structure (Rops), more commonly known as a rollbar. A wheel loader also must be equipped with a Falling Object Protective Structure (Fops); a roof which protects the driver when the shovel's load falls on top of the machine. Protection devices shouldn't be removed, but in order to enter low buildings, several manufacturers offer a safety frame which can be easily tipped backwards.
Points to consider when purchasing a used shovel
You can't judge a shovel by its appearance. First impressions play a role when acquiring a used wheel loader, but it is the technical state of the machine that counts. A good machine is leakproof and only has minimum play at the moving parts. The condition of the tyres are easy to check. The actual capacity of the hydraulics is difficult to monitor and only recognised in the case of warm oil and a heavy weight in the bucket. This also applies to the riding hydraulics, which work on a piston pump. This technique is reliable, yet expensive when worn. As with any machinery the availability of good service is of importance. What matters is not what you pay, but the value you get for your money. A number of points can make the difference in case of a possible purchase.
- The amount of available oil for external functions and the presence of an interface for external functions.
- The effective hydraulic lifting capacity of the shovel. Static tipping load (full turn) turns out to be a restriction more often than the power of the lifting cylinders.
- The shovel's own weight. It also depends on the connected equipment, fullness of the fuel tank and whether or not the driver is taken into account.
- Visibility to the loading arm. This is largely determined by the height of the steering column.
- The accuracy of the parallel guide. This varies per brand.
- Hydraulic motors per wheel or hydraulically driven cardan shafts.
- Measurements of the bracket, the safety frame or the protective roof. This comes as standard and is mandatory, but also determines the maximum workable height.
- Comfort and quality of the seat.
- The pump capacity. It also affects the speed of movement.
- The applied quick-action. That is of importance in case you wish to use existing attachments.
- Lift height doesn't say everything, what matters is the wheel loader's maximum dump height.
- Working pleasantly, but above all working safely. This is only possible when the shovel is slightly oversized and - literally and figuratively – not pushed to the limit.