The gamut of skid steer attachments available borders on an overwhelming amount: planers, breakers, grapples, saws, etc. But just because there are so many to choose from doesn't mean you won't find the one you want. If anything, having so many options allows a contractor to do more with only one skid steer.
"With a loader and planer attachment, bucket and vibratory roller attachment, the contractor can mill out the problem area of asphalt (planer), carry fresh asphalt (bucket) and compact the asphalt (vibratory roller) with one machine," says Justin Odegaard, attachment product specialist for Bobcat.
Not only can attachments help by allowing one machine to do multiple tasks, but they also allow workers to do smaller jobs and work in harder-to-reach places with smaller equipment instead of having to bring in a big machine, possibly risking tearing up the entire road or work area. Using a skid steer and attachment may also decrease the time it takes to complete a job, says Kelly Guthrie, marketing director for Coneqtec/Universal.
Along with the possibility of reduced job time comes the potential of a decrease in prep time because it is fairly easy to fit an attachment to a skid steer. It is common now for the front of a skid steer to be equipped with a universal attachment, or quick attach. (The mounting plate and universal mount hold the attachment on.) This allows contractors the versatility of using attachments on different skid steers no matter what company manufactured the skid steer or the attachment, Guthrie says.
"Basically, on the back of the attachments you have a mounting plate, and as long as the skid steer has a universal mount on it, then you can put just about any attachment on it," he says.
Once the attachment is connected to the loader arms, the next step is to use hoses to attach it to the skid steer's hydraulic system. Depending on the skid steer, the attachment may have an arm that reaches into the cab and allows the operator to control it from there. Some skid steers offer the option of electronic controls instead of hydraulic. The operator with electronic controls can use those skid steer controls to run the attachment rather than using the attachment's arm.
The versatility and accessibility of skid steer attachments make them a viable option for paving contractors. But with so many to choose from, how do you know what might be the most benefit to your business? The following attachments are just a few options that can be helpful to a contractor during a paving job or on pavement repair.
Odegaard says planers are a useful attachment and a popular choice for pavement maintenance contractors. Originally, small planer attachments were intended as supplementary units to use with large machines, but the role of planer attachments has increased on the jobsite.
"There are now attachments that can mill close to half a traffic lane, enabling skid-steer loaders to tackle jobs that would not have been possible in the past," Odegaard says. "The versatility of these units allows them to be used for enhanced pavement profiles and cross sections, removing bumps and ruts, curb recovery, pothole repair, manhole cover adjustments, drainage and traction control, and improved bonding, along with countless other applications."
Paladin Light Construction manufactures several models of cold planers between their Bradco and FFC brands. Bradco has a standard-flow model and five high-flow models, says Melani Moorman, marketing services manager for Paladin Light Construction. Features of these Bradco planers include: a planetary drive to deliver high torque, a high rear spoilage clearance to prevent the recirculation of material, and solid, hardened steel wheels with greaseable manifold pins that can withstand heavy-duty conditions.
The Bradco high-flow planer has an overall width of 65 in., and the standard-flow planer has an overall width of 52 in. The standard flow model has 37 carbide picks, which are the "teeth on the drum," while the high-flow models range from 43 to 89 carbide picks, Moorman says. Both planers come with a standard side-shift that moves from center to right.