For years, manufacturers of construction equipment have liked to compare multi-use equipment to the Swiss Army Knife, not only a knife but a combination of various tools in one compact package.
As attachment tools began to be developed for compact mini skid steer loaders, it was inevitable the Swiss Army Knife comparison was applied to this product category, also.
While the tool package also evolved to include more combinations of different tools, new attachments for skid steers seemed to be introduced every few months, outpacing the number of tools of any model and becoming mobile tool carriers able to perform nearly uncountable jobs.
Consider the 20-horsepower Ditch Witch SK350 and 25-horsepower SK750 mini skid steer track-mounted tool carriers that can accommodate multiple attachments. The operator rides comfortably on a platform at the rear of the machine.
These machines are used by plumbers, landscapers, fence builders, electricians, general contractors, and utility company crews, and are readily available for rent.
Among most-used attachments are the auger, powered rake, trencher, pallet fork, plate compactor, and vibratory plow. Typically, most users equip machines with one of several loader bucket options and have one or several attachments to fit their specific needs.
For example, a Texas landscape contractor has a SK350 with trencher, loader bucket, and auger attachments.
“We like the track machine, rather than one on wheels,” he said. “We can move it across rough terrain, finished lawns or paved surfaces. We use it to dig trench for irrigation pipe, use the bucket for loading and moving materials around job sites, loading into trucks, and grading and site preparation; and dig fence and post holes with the auger. The versatility of the machine has added production capacity for the crews who use it. It helps speed completion of many jobs by doing work that otherwise would require hand labor. This one machine is able to do most everything we need to do.”
A fence company in Connecticut uses a SK350 model with standard loader bucket to transport a variety of materials, including bags of concrete, mixed concrete and almost anything else that needs to be moved from one place to another on work sites. An auger attachment digs holes for fence posts.
A Minnesota utility contractor finds multiple uses for several of the larger SK models with vibratory plow, trencher, auger, hammer, concrete mixer, powered rake, grapple bucket, stump grinder, tiller, and snow blower attachments.
“Small footprints,” the company’s owner said, “allow the compact skid-steer machines to work in back yards, narrow easements, between buildings, and other areas where larger equipment can’t go. Each machine has its own trailer and basic attachments. That way they always are ready to go. For electrical installations, the vibratory plow attachment with a pull blade installs two-inch-diameter conduit to protect cable.”