Making the right connection of machine and attachment can help maximize productivity on the jobsite.
First, select a machine that allows easy exit and entry of the machine and offers good visibility from the operator’s seat to the attachment. Its coupler configuration should allow an operator unobstructed access to the seat and a clear view to the attachment.
Second, determine the type of coupler the machine will need. The universal coupler interface and low profile side plates of mechanical quick couplers allow the most tools to match properly while keeping dirt and debris out. Two high-leverage handles serve to engage or disengage the tools.
Hydraulic quick couplers have a rocker switch in the cab that controls two hydraulic cylinders (that replace the manual handles of a mechanical coupler), allowing the operator to change tools while in the cab. Hydraulic cylinders control the vertical wedge pins that lock the tool in place.
Hydraulic power not only provides power to the wheels, but it also operates the loader to enable lifting and tilting, and runs the auxiliary circuit, which drives attachments.
The criteria for “high-flow” or “standard-flow” may differ from one manufacturer to another. Typically, high-flow circuits exceed 26 gallons per minute and 3,300 psi. Highflow machines designated “XPS” (33 gallons/minute at 4,050 psi) are capable of maintaining maximum pressure regardless of attachment speed or working conditions, at low or high idle. The typical flow for a standard-flow machine is 22 gallons per minute.
Attachments fall into two groups: fabricated and hydromechanical. Buckets and forks, which do not have moving parts controlled by the operator, are “fabricated” tools. Hydromechanical attachments include multi-purpose buckets, mulchers, hammers, augers, grapples, rakes and other attachments that are powered by the machine’s auxiliary hydraulics.
Fabricated attachments are the most universal and the machine from one manufacturer can attach the buckets or forks made by another manufacturer with very little trouble, as they do not require additional hydraulics to operate.
Hydromechanical attachments have more specific requirements. Therefore, most equipment manufacturers recommend that machines use the hydromechanical attachments from the same manufacturer. Why? Hydraulic hose hook-ups and fittings are of the same strength and brand, ensuring a proper match and tight fit to reduce leaks and loss of pressure. Machines and attachments are designed to work as a system, and these pairings are intended to maximize the horsepower and hydraulic capabilities.
Equipment manufacturers may offer a tool in a variety of configurations. Augers are a good example; direct drive or planetary drive augers are available for standard hydraulic flow machines. These configurations are designed to maximize the capabilities of the hydraulic circuit and are intended for medium-duty applications. A high-flow planetary-driven auger on a high-flow hydraulic machine would be appropriate for extreme-duty applications. The high-flow configuration is designed for maximum torque and the hydraulic hoses and seals are built to withstand the additional pressure and maintain a leak-free connection.
Additionally, some attachments are designed to accommodate (or compensate for) machines of a certain size. For instance, a landscape tiller model for machines up to 66 inches wide is offset to cover one set of the machine’s tire tracks.
Choosing attachments that can be operated by multiple machines may enhance flexibility and productivity on the jobsite. Two machines with similar hydraulic flow and horsepower, such as a large skid steer loader and a small wheel loader, can usually run most of the same hydromechanical attachments. Generally, a machine with high-flow hydraulics can operate attachments designed for standard-flow machines, but the reverse pairing (high-flow tools with a standard-flow machine) is not recommended. A standard-flow machine’s hydraulic system will be unable to supply the flow needed to properly operate the tool.
Ransome Rents can further advise you about a particular machine-attachment pairing.