What is a Front-End Loader Truck (FEL)?
Front-end loaders are efficient and mechanized garbage trucks. They have hydraulic forks on the front. The forks lift up a garbage bin using slots on the sides. They then tip the bin over so the lid opens, and its contents are dumped into the hopper of the truck. Once the bin is empty, it is lowered back down onto the ground. Inside the hopper, the truck may also compact the waste to make more space. When the box of the vehicle eventually fills up, the truck carries the waste to a designated disposal site or recycling facility.
The beauty of this equipment is the automation of the trash collection process. It creates an efficient and cost-effective way for anywhere from apartment buildings to businesses to dispose of their garbage. This truck, therefore, is especially useful in ares with denser population, like large cities.
The History of the FEL
During the post-World War II era, many industries were experiencing a big economic and technological boom. People moved in large numbers into cities for factory jobs, and handling the increase in waste became a necessity.
The front-end loaders came to market in the 1950s. They were the automated solution to waste collection that met the needs of the day. Initially, they only serviced residential areas, but were quickly recognized as useful in commercial applications as well.
“With an almost simultaneous creation on both sides of the country, the philosophy behind the front load design saw two schools of truck bodies emerge: East Coast and West Coast,” writes Zachary Geroux in an in-depth historical article about FELs in Waste Advantage magazine. “The stricter weight laws of the West Coast forced builders to develop creative ways to maximize the legal load while the East Coast focused on a higher compaction rate due to the bigger population ratio and less stringent weight restrictions.”
Over time, front-end loading truck technology has continued to advance.
Types of Front Loaders
Commercial Front-End Loaders
At Custom Truck, you can find commercial front-end loaders. Commercial businesses usually have a container, between 4-6 cubic yards, that they put all of their garbage into. The containers are most often stored in enclosed outdoor areas, blocked off with gates.
These are picked up by a commercial front-end loader when it drives on its trash collection route. It pulls into the commercial area and lines up with the container. The FEL then stabs the container so its forks go into the pockets on the container’s sides. It raised the container to dump the contents into a hopper, attached to the truck behind the cab. When the container is empty, the truck sets it back down. The front-end loader then compacts the trash within the hopper using a push blade and hauls the load to a transfer station or a landfill.
Residential Front-End Loaders
This type of front-end loader has some alterations that tailor it to make residential garbage pick-ups. They can do anywhere between 800-1,400 of these runs per day, depending on the density of their route.