Configuring Wheel Loaders to Tackle Your Workload

by New member CompactLoader on ‎01-17-2017 01:13 PM

BCP Blog_Configuring Wheel Loaders_Jan2017_WhiteBoarder.jpgWhen configuring a wheel loader for purchase or rental, the first thing to consider is the primary applications it will be performing. Will you be utilizing the machine for basic bucket and fork work? If so, how much weight will you be lifting and how high will you need to lift it? In this case, it’s important to take a look at the machine’s full turn static tip load (FTSTL) and lift height. Here’s how these configurations break down:


  • The FTSTL defines the amount of bucket material weight it will take for the machine to tip when the loader arms are level and the machine is fully articulated.
  • The rated load for a bucket is 50 percent of the FTSTL, and can be up to 80 percent of the FTSTL for a set of forks. It can guide you as to how much the machine can safely lift while in operation. Depending on the ground condition, you may be able to safely operate the machine at a reduced factor; however, using rated load as a guide is a good starting point. 
  • For example, if you need to be able to lift 6,000 pounds of material in the bucket, you want to select a machine with a 12,000 pound FTSTL and 6,000 pound rated load.
  • To properly size the bucket on your wheel loader, a simple rule of thumb is to use the rated load (FTSTL/2) divided by the material density. This will give you your target bucket size.
  • If your application requires loading a truck or hopper with a tall height, you may want to consider a machine with a high lift linkage option or purchasing a rollout bucket to help increase dump height.


Something to keep in mind—a machine with higher horsepower doesn’t translate to a higher FTSTL and vice versa.  If the loader is properly designed, horsepower will never translate into higher FTSTL.


If your application requires operation of hydro-mechanical attachments, such as brooms, snow blowers, power box rakes or cold planers, it is important to select a machine with the amount of hydraulic horsepower needed to operate that attachment at maximum performance. Features such as high flow hydraulics or four-valve hydraulics may be needed to run specialty tools. 


Dimensional requirements are also important factors to consider, especially if you are working on jobsites with limited space or if you need to transport the machine to multiple sites. For instance, if the jobsite has a tight turning area, a larger wheel loader may not be an option since they have a larger turning radius. Will you be using a trailer to transport the machine to each jobsite? If so, it’s critical to select a wheel loader that fits within the towing capacity of your truck and trailer.


Features That Help Save Time, Reduce Wear and Improve Operator Comfort


So far, we have provided tips on configuring the base wheel loader requirements to match the needs of your application. Additionally, many advanced wheel loaders have special features designed to help reduce owning and operating costs, maximize machine performance and improve operator comfort. These technologies include:

  • Ride Control – Uses the lift cylinders as shock absorbers for the payload to take bumps out of the road. This provides a more comfortable ride for the operator if your applications require a considerable amount of roading.
  • Cylinder SnubbingSlows down the implements before you reach the end of the cylinder stroke, creating a smoother operation and improving efficiency with better material retention.
  • Rimpull ControlHelps minimize tire spin by allowing you to adjust the torque to match your underfoot conditions.
  • Programmable Kickouts – Allows the operator to save lift and tilt positions and recall them with a simple motion of the joystick. On advanced wheel loaders this can be done done inside the cab to provide smooth, predictable loader arm movement.


As you can see, there are several base requirements, as well as enhanced features, to consider when configuring a wheel loader that can accomplish the requirements of your workload. To learn more, contact your local Cat® dealer or visit us online.


We’d like to hear about your workload and machine capability needs.  

  • Are you currently deciding between purchasing or renting a wheel loader? If so, which factors are weighing on your decision?
  • Which application(s) are you performing that require the use of a wheel loader?
  • Are there certain wheel loader features that you consider valuable to your operation? If so, which ones?
  • When configuring a machine for rental or purchase, are there certain aspects of the process that have proven to be difficult? Which ones?
  • What types of resources have you used in the past to configure your machines? Which ones have been most helpful?
  • What type of resources do you wish were available to you to help configure your machines?

by Ben Howard
on ‎06-27-2017 09:58 AM

I like to learn new infomation in regards to mining, heavy load machinery, mining equipment, wheel loaders etc. When I read your article It was very interesting with some new info on Configuring wheel loaders. Keep up the good work. This was another good article that I came across with some interesting infomation on service life of wheel loaders.

by New member ahlinyaobatherb
on ‎04-03-2018 09:47 PM

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About the Author
  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
  • I am an Industry and Application Rep for Caterpillar. I graduated from NC State with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a tobacco and beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
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  • I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day.  This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
  • I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
  • I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
  • I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
  • I’m a Telehandler Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North and South America. I have 13 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer service operations and technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. My telehandler passion and focus is working with dealers and customers to maximize the versatility of the product through machine and operator training.
  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
  • I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
  • I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.

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