Dump trucks are some of the most used and useful heavy work vehicles seen on the roads and at construction sites. Though their function is fairly simple, the number of different types of dump vehicles being used are numerous, specialized for many different jobs and materials. Before buying a new or used dump truck, be sure to determine if a standard type or more versatile articulated design will be the best choice for intended usage.
Articulated Dump Truck – Beginnings
Also known as an articulated hauler, this newer type of dump truck design arose out of necessity when the regular design of these vehicles failed to meet job needs on certain types of terrain. Construction companies were increasingly forced to redesign this useful work truck as it was found to be limited when it came to maneuvering around a construction site that consisted of deep or uneven ground contour, hills, mounds, or similar obstacles that prevented the normal use of a standard framed vehicle carrying tons of material.
A few preliminary versions of dump trucks were designed that were joined in the middle so the vehicle was not one complete, unyielding unit; then Volvo designed the first ADT that went into commercial production in 1959. The trucks were developed with the main drive axle re-positioned at the rear of the tractor to provide maximum traction as well as outstanding maneuverability. Steered by hydraulics with levers instead of a steering wheel, turning as well as moving over rough or hilly terrain became much easier with this particular axle placement – and a joined, two-part vehicle that was more stable and less rigid was the welcome result.
Articulated Dump Trucks – Current Design
With improvements in vehicle and equipment technology, the ADT has been transformed into a rugged, versatile, and powerful vehicle that is much easier to use than its predecessors – this dynamic working vehicle can get in, out, and over just about any type of terrain. Modern versions are built today by not just Volvo but by Terex, Caterpillar, John Deere, Moxy and some other dump truck manufacturers. These vehicles typically have all-wheel drive, manual or automatic shifts, and move around on large construction-ready knobby tires that can get through deep and slick surfaces. A drive shaft is used that articulates via joints provided with splines; newer models are made with either conventional or lever steering.
Having the greatest driving ability is not the only improvement seen with the ADT. They can be equipped with different types of dump beds from standard to side dumps, scraper beds, and other specialized types that will fit the different needs that must be handled by these trucks.
Articulated Dump Trucks – Main Usage Benefits
The practical benefits of an ADT as compared to conventional dump trucks with rigid frames are numerous. Even though conventional trucks can carry bigger and larger loads, doing so can be dangerous and inefficient if the vehicle cannot travel over the job site terrain. Preventing truck accidents, getting stuck, and being unable to maneuver around tight turns, corners, hills, valleys, and other obstacles with this style of drive train and design is indeed possible, taking much of the risk out of the work normally done by these vehicles as well as increasing job site efficiency. Although a typical ADT does not carry as much as conventional models, it is still more efficient when taking into account the possibility of the above listed issues as well as increased fuel usage in negotiating a larger, heavier truck through bad terrain job sites.
ADT’s may not be needed as much at smaller work sites or for hauling material over longer distances; however, those companies that face difficult working situations will stand to gain a great deal by adding an ADT to the work fleet. History has indeed taken an ordinary dump truck and yielded a hard-working, ground-covering articulated dump truck version!