Dump trucks are the basic workhorses for various construction projects, a vital tool for development by transporting material ranging from loose aggregate to massive boulders. Due to this important role in construction, the design of a used dump truck has been further developed to cater to different needs, making way for rigid and articulated dump trucks.
Rigid Dump Truck
The term rigid dump truck or RDT refers specifically to the rigidity of the chassis. As the name implies, RDTs have a stiff chassis similar to most commercial vehicles. All the components necessary to make the equipment operate is built around this one component that includes the engine, operator’s cab, bed, axles, and steering components. This type of design is the standard layout for most commercial vehicles because it has proven to be road reliable and effective.
While RDTs are effective in road maneuverability, there is a limitation in terms of its effectiveness to operate under extreme off-road conditions. While it can drive and operate off typical roadways, its components are not built to withstand extreme road conditions. For example, the steering system on commercial trucks is held by ordinary tie rods which could easily bend and break after prolonged use on harsh terrain. The suspension and ground clearance is quite low to traverse rocky and muddy surfaces. For this reason, an alternate design was developed specifically for extreme operating conditions.
Articulated Dump Trucks
Articulated dump trucks or ADTs have a two-piece chassis that is connected by a massive articulated joint that serves as the pivot point for front wheel steering and is powered via hydraulic rams on both sides for easy movement. Aside from the unique steering system, there are a myriad of other off-road specific features such as high ground clearance and suspension to allow for operation on steep slopes and rocky terrain.
The drive system also features an all wheel drive and automatic differential locking for optimum traction, even on loose and muddy surfaces. The wheels are built to be thick and massive in order to overcome the damage caused by sharp rocks and maintain the stability of the equipment’s body even on the bumpiest surfaces.
Although it is just the right vehicle for off-road operations, it is not an all-purpose vehicle. On public roadways, driving can be difficult due the steering configuration. It is even somewhat hazardous to be around such a vehicle on the road due to its sheer size and power, so it is basically considered suitable for use at a construction site and would have to be transported to another site of operation.
So the question arises – which of the two is a smarter choice? The answer to that depends on: operating conditions where it will be used; haul speed required; load capacity per haul; and operating area slope, all of which should be considered in making a decision.
If most work requires travel and the operating area slope s not more than 10%, then a rigid used dump truck would be a better choice. For primarily off-road use and a terrain slope of 30%, an ADT would be the better choice. The differences between a rigid and articulated dump truck are important to know in order to select the right vehicle for the job at hand!
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