Concrete buggies are tremendous labor-saving devices, effectively reducing the need for manpower in a range of applications from concrete pouring to landscaping and demolition projects. To maximize the potential these machines have to offer, you need to select the right model for your job.
There are basically two types of power buggies: walk-behind and stand-on, says Fred Russell, regional sales manager with Miller Spreader. Walk-behind models typically have 10- or 11-cu.-ft. buckets and are powered by 8-hp gas engines. The rear steering wheel is caster-mounted. The operator steers the buggy using the handles to control the direction of the caster wheel.
Stand-on buggies, on the other hand, are available with either 16- or 21-cu.-ft. buckets. The 16-cu.-ft. models usually are equipped with a 13-hp gas engine, while 21-cu.-ft. models usually have a 20-hp engine. As with the walk-behind unit, the rear tires do the steering. A steering handle controls the direction of the steering tires much like a handlebar on a tricycle.
Russell adds that two variations of the stand-on buggy are the all-wheel drive and tracked machines. The all-wheel-drive buggy has a hydraulic drive motor powering all three sets of tires. The track buggy uses the front-drive tires to drive the track. Steering in both variations is still the rear-tire assembly. Both varieties have 16-cu.-ft. buckets but use larger 18-hp engines.
According to Frank Wenzel, vice president of engineering at Stone Construction Equipment, the primary defining characteristic of a buggy is its hopper capacity. "They are offered in a variety of sizes with the most popular being 16 cu. ft.," he explains.
"There is also an emphasis on the ability of the unit to fit through a standard door frame."
Traditionally, buggies have been used in concrete transport and subsequent spreading or spot pouring. Today, however, buggies are considered a material mover and are being used in landscaping, demolition/site cleanup and nontraditional material transport.
What to look for
Wenzel notes there are several key points to consider when selecting a buggy. They include:
Hopper capacity — Buckets range from 10 to 21 cu. ft. "This is the most important consideration and requires some foresight into application," Wenzel says. "In a rental application for concrete material transport, size of the job and number of workers in the crew would be important. If material is being blended in a tow-behind mixer, a smaller machine would be in order. If it is a larger job utilizing a ready-mix truck, the larger-capacity machine would be more cost-effective."
Speed — In the traditional application of concrete transport, vehicle and dump speed are important because the purpose of the buggy is to move material from the source to the pad as quickly as possible. "These products are tremendous labor savers, from both an economical point of view and an ergonomic perspective," Wenzel says.
Safety — Design of hand controls, operator platform and braking system are very important. "Keeping the operator's hands on the control bar and their feet always on the platform is critical to maintaining safe control of a machine that can operate on uneven terrain," Wenzel says. "Location of brake and dump levers and pedals should not require an operator to step off the platform. Control of vehicle speed and direction should not require hands to be removed from the control bar."
Stability is also paramount to safe operation. Buggies should comply with the ASME B56.8-1993/B56.8a-1994 Standard for Lateral and Longitudinal Stability, Parking and Service Braking. Design elements such as frame thickness, braking system/type and balance address the stability issue.
Simplicity of design as well as easy access will facilitate proper maintenance and service of the machine. "Look for easily removable covers and an open architecture as features which address this issue," says Wenzel.