Posts Tagged With: Material Handling

How To Safely Operate a Backhoe Loader in 5 Simple Steps

Bobcat Skidsteer LoaderFor anyone working in construction, the versatile backhoe loader is one of the industry’s go-to machines, a popular choice that’s powerful enough to take on jobs where moving earth, loading and spreading materials, installing big equipment like septic tanks, and digging water, sewer and gas lines are what needs to get done.

1. Plan The Job Ahead of Time
Operating a backhoe loader safely using best practices starts with the person in the driver’s seat. Survey the job site well in advance of the work whistle, mapping out the safest routes for the backhoe in the least amount of time. Take a look at the condition of the ground around the dig site and decide what course of action to take.

If you’re the operator, the first thing you should do after you jump in and take your place is fasten the seat belt. A roll cage will only protect you in case of an overturn if you are buckled in. Make sure the parking brake is engaged, then get familiar with the controls. Make sure you can reach all of them easily while sitting in the seat and that they move freely. Below are a few more steps for operating a backhoe loader safely.

2. Take Control

Steady, even, level movement is the safest way to maintain control of a backhoe loader. Even though most of its weight is distributed towards the rear, some loads will change the center of gravity, affecting the machine’s stability. When in motion, keep the bucket low to the ground. Driving up sloped surfaces in reverse, i.e., with the backend first, can keep the front of the backhoe on the ground, especially if there’s no load in the bucket. Operating a backhoe on slopes is the most difficult to maintain stability. Keep the backhoe as level as possible when in motion, taking care when repositioning on a slope. Backhoe loaders are equipped with stabilizer legs. Spread them out to their full width, which will hold the machine in place while digging or lifting the bucket. If at any time the machine starts to feel unstable, stop everything to regain control.

3. Prepare for Excavation

Make sure to check the job site for any buried utilities such as telephone or natural gas lines and electrical transmission cables. Avoid cave-ins by knowing the soil conditions beforehand and placing excavated material at least three feet away from the dig site. The operator is responsible for the safety of all personnel around the dig site. Before moving the machine, sound the horn or the backup alarm to alert other workers. Before any heavy lifting, survey the area for people in the way and make sure the backhoe is as stable as possible.

4. Know Your Weight

It is the operator’s responsibility to know how much a load needs to weigh to pick it up safely at a given angle. This requires a study of the machine’s lifting capabilities; the heights and distances are found on its spec sheet. If in doubt, test the lift before any material is moved. Slow and steady wins the race here; transport excavated material with the bucket low to the ground, rather than too high in the air.

5. Shut Down for the Day Safely, Too
After work is finished for the day, park the backhoe on a level surface. Set the parking brake, lower the front and back attachments to the ground, put the engine in neutral gear and drop the hydraulic levers to release any pressure.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with excavation projects. From backhoe loaders to bulldozers, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Safely Operate and Maneuver a Bobcat® Skid-Steer Loader

Bobcat Skid-Steer LoaderSkid-steer loaders made by Bobcat® enjoy a 50-year reputation for performance and reliability. The company manufactures more than 12 skid-steer loader models and over 70 attachments to accommodate a number of outdoor projects that require a digging machine:

  • Great for ongoing or one-time jobs
  • Quick-change attachments and maintenance-free chain case help make the most of the work day
  • Efficient, dependable performance for maximum digs, lifts and dumps
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Machine shutdown protection, pressurized cabs with all-around visibility, heat and air conditioning keep operators comfortable and safe

A compact machine used for digging, the skid-steer loader also pushes, pulls and lifts material. Popular for use in building, construction, landscaping and farm work, the skid-steer loader is a lighter machine that can maneuver better than a typical tractor front loader, making quicker work of manual labor jobs that would take more time and effort without equipment. They also have a number of attachments, including different types and sizes of buckets, backhoes, forks, hammers, brooms, and augers that help with the machine’s versatility and performance.

Training and Safety

To safely operate a Bobcat® skid-steer loader, the company offers operator training and service safety courses, which review best practices for safe operation through video presentations, classroom exercises and hands-on operation. Although the training courses available through Bobcat give trainees an overall knowledge of safe and efficient operation, they are not designed to license or certify operators as skilled or factory authorized operators. However, here are a few tips on Bobcat safety:

  • Always clear the work area
  • Stand away from the front of the buckets as it is raised
  • Warn other workers before moving or raising the bucket
  • Keep all safety structures, cages and screens in place for operator protection in case of rollover
  • In case of an emergency, remove hands and feet from the controls until the machine stops moving

Tips for Driving a Bobcat

Learning how to maneuver properly in a Bobcat starts with examining the terrain, checking the work area for hazards overhead, like power lines. The trick is to not get stuck or roll the machine over. Do not drive over too-rough ground or into soft, soggy soil, and avoid creeks, ravines and steep banks. Make no sudden stops, starts or turns, and move along at a speed that is appropriate for the existing conditions and visibility. Drive up and down slopes with the bucket lowered. Drive across slopes, and you could tip the skid-steer loader over. Dump material by driving around a fence rather than dumping over one to avoid operator injury.

Tips for Loading a Bobcat

  • Drive the Bobcat into a pile of material
  • Raising the bucket after the machine is in position
  • Tilt a loaded bucket upwards
  • Back away from the pile slowly
  • Once far enough from the pile, lower the loaded bucket and drive to the dumping area
  • Raise the bucket just before positioning it over the truck or pile and dump
  • Always be ready to lower the bucket quickly in case the equipment feels unstable
  • The machine’s weight can cause trenches to collapse, so take care when backfilling
  • Abide by the manufacturer’s recommended maximum loads
  • Overloading makes the Bobcat steering front-heavy, erratic and unstable

Tips for Bobcat Balance

Aim for keeping a Bobcat skid-steer loader in a balanced position. A Bobcat carries two-thirds of its weight on the rear axles when empty. A full load transfers that weight and the machines balance to the front wheels. Always move with the arms and bucket lowered for maximum stability. When negotiating slopes, keep the heaviest end of the Bobcat pointing uphill to reduce the risk of turning the Bobcat over.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with moving projects. We rent the entire line of Bobcat® Skid-Steer Loaders and attachable buckets. If you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products, How-To's | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Everyone Ought to Know About Boom Lifts

Boom LiftsBoom lifts, also known as cherry pickers, help you reach heights easily. It’s articulating boom arms and extendable baskets allow a person to access normally out of reach work areas and also work in safety and comfort with their entire range of tools on hand.

Boom lifts are common equipment that serve multiple purposes. Below are some examples of how our customers use them:

  • Lifting workers to pick fruits from tall trees
  • Building maintenance workers use boom lifts for painting, cleaning windows and carrying out façade work in higher floors
  • Utility workers use boom lifts to service and repair telephones and electrical cables
  • Miners and workers in underground locations use boom lifts to descend to the ground and work in potentially unsafe locations
  • Boom lifts are in many places the only way to access high-standing billboards
  • Boom lifts are the best option to transport materials to elevated places from a distance

Most boom lifts are battery powered by hydraulic mechanism. The operator has the controls to move and adjust the height of the telescoping arm, as required. The operator in the bucket can control to adjust the position of the bucket. Automatic safety controls prevent tipping over.

Boom lifts makes for a more versatile alternative to scissor lifts for many jobs. Unlike the latter, it is possible to maneuver it both horizontally and vertically, in a wide range. Using the boom lift, workers operating from a restricted base can reach out to elevated positions a distance away from the base as well. Boom lifts also have strong stabilizer legs, making them more stable. When you expect to have to scale heights or drop down several feet, make sure you have a boom lift ready for use, so you can accomplish your task easily and efficiently.

Renting a boom lift offers significant cost-savings. You pay only for what you use. You do not have to use a significant amount of your capital on machinery. You are spared the hassle of storing and maintaining and also get to select the latest and the most relevant machine, rather than having to make do with a single machine that may not suit your purpose.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

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The Indispensable Benefits of Having a Forklift in Your Warehouse

Want to lift or transport heavy goods?  The obvious solution that comes to the mind is using a forklift. The fork-like prongs of a forklift slide underneath any load and scoop it up easily, ready to transport loads to a new location, regardless of the weight or bulk of the cargo. The weight at the rear of the forklift truck offsets the weight of the load lifted at the front.

ForkliftsThe utility of forklifts however, extends far beyond lifting weights. For instance, forklift trucks make a much cheaper alternative to hiring snow ploughs. Forklifts can clear parking lots, front yards and walkways of snow as well.

Forklifts have now become an indispensable requirement for construction sites, warehouses, dockyards, recycling centers and many other commercial and domestic operations. But not everyone requires forklifts on a regular basis, and even if they do, individuals, and for that matter most small and medium businesses cannot afford the huge investment it takes to purchase a forklift. Moreover, buying comes with the difficulty of regular maintenance, without which, the forklift becomes risky to operate.

Renting a forklift is often a more plausible solution for many individuals or small businesses. With forklift rentals, you can opt for the most appropriate type of forklift for each task – larger ones for heavier jobs and smaller ones for lighter jobs. Forklifts come in many types and sizes, ranging from small, pedestrian-operated machines to heavy-duty, driver-operated trucks. They are also distinguished as either compact or narrow trucks, which can navigate narrow aisles to shelf stackers that can store goods on racking systems at large heights.

Determining which type of forklift you need is the first step in getting the job done. Once you’ve determined which type you need, deciding to purchase or rent a forklift will make your moving and lifting jobs much simpler. Forklifts also require less manpower, saving you a substantial amount of money, as well as cutting down on the risks of injuring employees during heavy-lifting tasks.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

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