The most commonly used backhoe within the United States tends to be the center mount backhoe with a bucket attachment on the end. This combination is typically attached to a tractor or machine that has hydraulic legs that drop on two or all corners that help to stabilize the entire unit during digging. Since most tractors have multiple functionalities, the most frequent companion to backhoes are front end loaders. These combos is often called a backhoe loader. This one-two punch allows for unparalleled efficiency on the job site for anyone looking to dig, deliver, or destroy virtual any material it will encounter.
Due to the never-ending types and amount of jobs to be done, a backhoe loaders diverse capacities are always being pushed and built upon. Not surprisingly, one of the fastest advancing technologies is centered around creating bigger, stronger, and more efficient machines. The biggest backhoe loader available on the market today is the John Deere 710G. With its backhoe this hoss of a machine can lift over one ton of material 31 feet into the air above its head before dropping it to the ground. The 710G reach is so long it can dig a max weight of 17,000 lbs at a max depth of 22.5 feet. On the front side of the machine can be found an intimidating 8 ft. bucket that is able to scoop well over 4 tons 9ft into the air. The 710G also has an astonishing bucket breakout force of 14,800 lbs! While most backhoe loaders understandably pride themselves on strength and lifting power, there typically is very little discussion about the speed of these manly machines. However, there is one builder that decides to take the need for speed to a whole new level in the world of tractors. In the 1980 JCB built the one-of-a-kind JCB GT. Sporting a supercharged 572 big block Chevrolet V8 with 1300hp this machine can rocket itself down a quarter mile track in 17 seconds! It acceleration is so quick that the GT backhoe loader even comes equipped with wheelie bars. At it highest peak, this speed demon can top 115 mph. While this tractor may not be the most equipped to help on the construction site or farm, much of it benefit stems from its more philanthropic attributes. The JCB GT regularly shows and races at charities to help raise money for non-profits that help children in need. Similarly, JCB has been known to help off-site by creating and designing unique backhoe loaders such as a Union Hack design that was sold in Great Britain and sold for $94,000, all which was donated to the Help For Heroes organization to support wounded servicemen and women around the world.
Because of their wide-ranging abilities, the backhoe loader is one of construction and agriculture best tools. While a bucket is the most common attachment, the articulated armend piece easily detaches to allow for an assortment of tools to be used on the backhoe. Many hay farmers attach bale spears to the booms to lift and transport hay from the field onto a trailer. In the logging industry, many backhoe are fitted with grapples that allow trees and logs to be seized between the mighty mouth of these monstrous buckets. While most backhoe attachments are used for maneuvering objects and materials, one type of end-piece is also used for destruction. The hammer drill attachment uses a metal peg that rapidly fires up in down against a hard surface to break it into pieces. Hammer drills are often used in quarries to dismantle rocks as well as in construction to break up roads and concrete surfaces. Additional to the types of attachments available, there are two different styles of arm attachment available in the backhoe market. The most popular style in the US is called center-pivot that, as the name suggests, pivots from the center of the back of the machine frame. Alternatively, the side shift is mounted closer to one of the backsides of the tractor. While there is debate among the heavy equipment community which is better, the only difference in preference appears to be geographically based. However, depending on how small an area may be, some prefer a side shifter to fit into certain corners of tight spaces.
Throughout each year folks in the construction and agriculture industries will host large events centered around heavy equipment. These events often include backhoe loaders. Next August Decatur, Illinois will host it annual Farm Progress Show. Considered the #1 internationally attended farm show, this event centers around bringing together the best products and brightest minds from industries relevant to heavy machinery and farming. The three day show includes hundreds of exhibitors including Caterpillar, John Deere, and JCB and many companies that manufacture backhoe loaders. It will also feature educational classes and activities to help anyone dive further into the business-end as well as the practical usage of backhoes. Farm Progress also has an mobile app that you can download called Farm Progress Show 2017 that will allow you to plan and map out your the event to make sure you are a part of every backhoe loader exhibit and experience.
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