Posted on: June 21, 2018 1:57 pm
Alban CAT has put together this step-by-step guide to grading using loader-type machines, such as Skid Steers or Wheel Loaders using a standard bucket. This guide does not replace the most important factor in using your construction equipment to grade, which is practice, practice, practice. If the time allows pair up your best operator with your new guys, so they can benefit from the older operators experience – treat grading as a valuable training opportunity that will benefit you in future projects.
Even if you are assisted by an electronic grading system the most important factor is visibility, if you cannot see the bucket edge you will encounter difficulty to properly grade. If possible your machine should have a low-profile bucket with an extended bottom so your operator can see the bucket edge. The edge of your bucket is the tool you use to assist you to grade correctly.
The trick to smooth grading is know your machine, and find the sweet spot to limit unnecessary movement. Start with your throttle set to 3/4 – any slower the hydraulics might be too slow to respond to your commands, although electronic controlled hydraulics will respond at lower throttle speeds just as well.
Grading isn’t a race, getting done right the first time around saves more time than running through the project at full throttle and having to do multiple passes. You can do this by tackling small sections at a time, ensuring the material is being placed in the right areas and limiting your bucket loads.
Running your machine as smooth as possible will also cut down on spinning and tire wear – which will cause you to work back over the spot you were just on. When you start out try to think at least one step ahead of your machine and then two steps, so you can position the equipment for the next pass with minimal disruption to the areas you just worked.
On established grades start at a level point and make passes about half-a-bucket wide, keep one set of your tires on level ground and match each pass with the existing grade. If the grade is not level after two to three passes try a diagonal pass.
If you are grading on for a foundation, or building/addition the ground must slope away depending on your local building codes.
Steps To Successfully Grading
- Remove any large rocks, roughly anything the size of a baseball or larger, if you have the attachment a skeleton bucket it makes short work of this task
- Start from the high point and fill in the ground until it is as level as possible before starting your grading passes
- If need calls for it build up the dirt next to buildings
- Keep your bucket flat, use the bucket tilt to make minor corrections to the grade until it matches the grading sticks
- Clean up the grade with a hand rake
- To check the accuracy of the grade, water the area, puddles will form in the depressions to give you a visual guide to the spots you need to fill
The Age Of Smart Iron
Grading is a task that takes a lot of practice and a little patience and as your skills grow you can can grade faster. We do live in an age of smart iron and you can now take advantage of various grading technologies that are now available for your machines from 2D to 3D grading – such as CAT® Grade Control or SITECH Construction Technology. These technologies are now being built into your loaders or can be easily attached to your machines. They allow you to grade faster and with even greater accuracy, saving your time and money.
For more information contact your Alban Equipment Rep, or call 1.888.492.6337 or use the contact form below .