You’re less likely to see a site dumper in North America than in the United Kingdom, where you may see an entire fleet on a jobsite. However, contractors looking for compact equipment solutions that offer more for their investment are starting to take notice of the factors that make the equipment so popular overseas. With advanced safety features and a compact footprint, site dumpers offer outstanding efficiency and safety on all jobsites – especially those where space is at a premium.
Site Dumpers Here to Stay
While contractors in Europe, accustomed to compact jobsites, have long appreciated the benefits of the site dumper in industries ranging from construction to agriculture, aggregate, landscape and more, North America’s wide-open spaces invited and allowed larger equipment. Now, as urban sprawl continues and jobsites become smaller with heightened safety concerns, contractors across multiple industries are reconsidering the site dumper.
Site dumpers first gained acceptance in North America in the concrete market. With numerous jobs requiring the delivery of concrete in tight areas that simply won’t accommodate a large mixer truck or pump truck, site dumpers paired with an optional concrete chute accessory offer a viable and efficient solution. The chute provides the added benefit of precisely dumping the concrete where it’s needed without splashing, effectively minimizing any cleanup.
The popularity of the site dumper is growing beyond the concrete industry into landscaping applications. With the ability to move much more material than a skid steer without tearing up turf, the site dumpers offer an ideal solution for not only hardscaping applications but also mulching and maintenance. Along with landscaping, golf course developers purchase site dumpers to aid in the construction of new golf courses and find them a versatile tool for not only construction but also overall maintenance and management.
Cemeteries are perhaps one of the most often overlooked areas of growth for site dumpers. While few people like to spend much time reflecting on cemetery management, those in charge of managing large cemeteries recognize the challenges of tight spaces, sensitive turf, and even more delicate emotions. With so much on the line, it’s important to take extra precautions to be as careful, efficient and meticulous as possible. Many cemeteries find that by using a site dumper, they can quickly maneuver an excavator to dig a grave and load the spoils directly into the site dumper, leaving no mess or tarps for the family to navigate. Then as soon as the burial is complete, the site dumper backs up and easily and quickly unloads all the material directly into the grave quickly and cleanly, finishing the burial. High flotation, low-impact turf tires provide additional benefits in all these applications by limiting disruption to the ground and minimizing the time and cost associated with the repair of torn-up turf.
But as jobsites continue to get tighter, construction challenges are driving up demand in general construction applications.
Efficiency Drives Acceptance
The enhanced efficiency the machines offer over traditional equipment solutions is perhaps at the heart of expanding interest in site dumpers in North America. Some manufacturers offer 3-ton site dumper models with capacities of 1.3 cubic yards for liquid material such as concrete, 1.7 cubic yards for struck material such as aggregate and 2.5 cubic yards for heaped material like mulch. Though skid steers were once the standard on any jobsite for moving a variety of materials, contractors are finding that replacing a skid with a skip (site dumper) and mini excavator duo often results in three to four times the material handling capacity. In addition, site dumpers increase efficiency because material can be loaded directly into the skip — or bucket — and left there until maneuvered wherever needed, and dumped, instead of moving material multiple times with a skid steer.
A more compact design and tighter operating footprint further enhances efficiency. The forward and swivel tipping mechanisms of site dumpers allow contractors to maintain a small jobsite footprint and improve safety. Unlike skid steers, most site dumpers swivel and tip material out of the bucket without the need to reposition the entire machine. This allows operation in tighter spaces and minimizes additional maneuvering around an already tight jobsite, further benefitting site safety.
Dumper Decision Time
To realize the benefits of the site dumper, it is paramount that contractors not just choose any brand or model, but a high-quality one from a trusted manufacturer. Many features, though subtle to the eye, greatly affect safety, ease of operation and performance.
As sites get smaller and pressures increase to get more done, a keen focus on safety protects not only the operator but the entire jobsite and the company as a whole. Site dumpers designed with precise attention to detail, ensuring perfectly symmetrical wheels equal distance from the center articulation post of the machine, maximize safety and stability even while driving through heavily rutted areas in mud or other unstable terrain. This reduces the risk of tipping and provides a smooth ride, as the back wheels follow the same path as the front at all times.
With current skilled labor shortages, ease of use and intuitive controls present another key consideration. Contractors gravitate toward models with controls that are easy to learn and use, benefiting safety, and allowing for a lower barrier to entry for operators at any experience level.
Finally, some manufacturers produce site dumpers with engines rated under 75 horsepower. This helps avoid diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) related maintenance.
As the array of site dumper benefits — including capacity, efficiency, safety and reduced diesel maintenance — become more apparent in North America, the growth of the site dumper market will undoubtedly increase.