Comparing All Articulated Dump Truck Brands: Who Makes The Best?
Articulated dump trucks (ADTs), also called rock trucks or articulating dump trucks, are one of the most popular pieces of heavy equipment on almost any job site. Used primarily in the land clearing and pre-construction phases, their ability to move large amounts of dirt, rock, and other materials puts them in high demand. According to reports from Equipment World, many dealers find it challenging to keep any inventory of ADTs in their rental fleets due to the overall demand within multiple industries like mining, construction, and quarrying.
Because of their increasing popularity, we wanted to take some time to write about each of the articulated dump truck OEMs and some of their features. This will help you in your search for finding high-quality products as well as determine which brand might be the best-articulated dump truck to rent or own in your fleet in the future. Other topics we will touch on include:
- The advantages of articulated dump trucks
- When to use articulated dump trucks
- What features matter most in articulating dump trucks
- Comparing all ADT brands and OEMs
The Advantages of Articulated Dump Trucks
Articulating dump trucks are great machines for projects that have tight corners and uneven terrain. The reason for this is that their chassis has two independent sections: the tractor component with the cab and the trailer component that holds the dumping body. There is a hydraulic pivot point between the cab and the back hauler allowing both sections to move independently of each other. This makes ADTs very flexible and maneuverable, allowing for more angles to dump as well as working in tight spaces, whereas traditional dump trucks are just one piece, making them much more rigid.
When To Use Articulating Dump Trucks
As mentioned before, articulated dump trucks are ideal for projects with space restrictions and uneven terrain. Often used in the early stages of a project to move dirt, tree debris, and other materials, most ADTs can be driven on city roads to be transported if needed. Beyond construction, articulated dump trucks are also extremely popular in the mining, quarrying, and material handling industries.
For mining, ADTs are used to transport either excavated dirt or other elements. Because many mines have limitations regarding space, the enhanced maneuverability of this machine makes them perfect. In quarrying, articulated dump trucks transport the excavated or loose rock. The unevenness of quarries makes ADTs popular for this function. Lastly, they are used for general material handling in large, bulk quantities which is a required task in most heavy-duty and labor industries.
What ADT Features Matter Most
When it comes to the features or specs of your articulating dump truck, it's important to know what the expectations and requirements of your project are. For some jobs, the payload will be the most important specification to consider. This is going to be especially true in the quarry industry as rocks weigh much more than dirt. For other kinds of jobs, the size of the ADT might be more critical since you'll have to move lots of material in a tighter space. Specific jobs or sites might require you to go for a smaller ADT with a lower operating weight. The overall landscape of the environment and site conditions will affect your decision as well as it might require you to use more suitable tires or features.
Other features to consider might be more about what the OEM or rental supplier provides over the actual specifications of the machine. This could include easy servicing and predictive maintenance, data visibility, vehicle safety, operator preference, cab comfortability, and more. Fortunately, most OEMs now prioritize or are working on delivering many of these features so what your decisions will most likely come down to are the specifications, performance, and brand preference.
Articulated Dump Truck Brands
Following up on the above, we wanted to give you an overview of each articulated dump truck manufacturer, the number of models they have in their portfolio, basic spec ranges, and what additional features they might include. The brands we are highlighting here are the biggest North American manufacturers of ADTs including Caterpillar, Rokbax, Volvo, Bell Trucks, John Deere, Komatsu, Hydrema, and Doosan.
With 12 models of articulating dump trucks available, Caterpillar has one of the widest ranges of selection of any ADT OEM. CAT has two options for truck models: articulated truck bare chassis and three-axle articulated trucks. The bare chassis are manufactured for specialized applications like water trucks, high-capacity haulers, and fuel trucks. Because this model doesn't come with the hauler attached, the increased customization can be a desirable feature for anyone who's looking to get the power of an ADT without the body limitations. The three-axle ADTs are used to haul wide ranges of materials and are designed to operate simply.
The lowest payload option in CAT's articulated dump truck portfolio is the 725 model with a payload of 26.5 tons, while the highest payload option is 55 tons which you would get from the 745 Bare Chassis model. The rest of the models fit somewhere in between and the three-axle trucks provide moving space between 19.6 cubic yards to 32.7 cubic yards.
Features that can help CAT ADTs stand out amongst their competition include the Cat Product Link. This feature allows you to connect wirelessly to your equipment and give you updates about fuel usage, idle time, productivity, and more with the goal of helping you maximize efficiency. They also have CAT Production Measurement that allows the operator to see the payload weight of any haul while in the cab. It would be a good idea to make sure that these features do come with the ADT model you're looking to rent or purchase as they may not be available on every model, especially if looking at an older version.
Formerly known as Terex and a part of the Volvo family, Rokbak is a completely rebranded articulated hauler. With only two models in their portfolio, Rokbak has limited options but what they lack in options they make up for in quality.
Their two articulated haulers, the RA30 and RA40, have payloads of 28 tons and 38 tons, respectively, and they're known for being easy to operate and maintain, and for their reliability. Their heaped capacities are 22.9 cubic yards and 30.3 cubic yards, respectively.
What makes Rokbak stand out from other companies would be its Haul Track feature. This is a telematics system that they developed that helps secure the equipment, plans preventative maintenance to prolong the machine's life, tracks the condition of the hauler in real-time, and more. Beyond that, Rokbak has industry-leading gear transmission that helps cut fuel costs, adaptable drivetrains, and great safety features like modulating transmission slower.
As for Volvo, despite owning Rokbak, they also manufacture and produce articulating dump trucks. A giant in both commercial and off-highway vehicles, Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) has more than 14,00 employees and exists across 180 markets. That being said, they currently have seven models in the articulating dump truck portfolio.
Despite only having seven models, the range of how heavy-duty Volvo's articulated haulers are is very wide. Their smallest model, the A25G has a hauling capacity of 20 cubic yards and a payload of 28 tons while the largest model, the A60H, has a capacity of 43.9 cubic yards and a payload of 61 tons.
Similar to Rokbak, Volvo has a hauling feature for ADTs called Haul Assist. This allows the operator to get access to how much the vehicle is hauling at any time and provides real-time information about tire pressure. Both of these features allow you to boost productivity, increase efficiency, and decrease overall operating costs.
Bell Trucks is the only competitor with the number of choices as Caterpillar with 12 models of articulated dump trucks in its portfolio. Bell Trucks specializes in specifically manufacturing ADTs with both the D series, which has 3 models, and the E series, which has 9 models. The E series is the newer, more innovative model while the D series is the older, more standard model with fewer features.
Bell's smallest ADT, the B20E LGP ADT, has a payload of just under 20 tons and a load capacity of up to 17 cubic yards, making it the smallest ADT on this list so far. Their largest model, the B60E ADT, has a payload of just over 60 tons and a load capacity of up to 55 cubic yards, making it the biggest hauler so far as well.
Features included with the newer E series models include tip safety data, better parking breaks, speed control for going downhill, weight data, and more. They also come with Fleetm@tics, Bell's very own fleet management software that helps you get data on things like weight moved, machine uptime, idle time, and more.
John Deere is another construction equipment brand that needs little introduction. With more than 180 years of manufacturing heavy equipment, John Deer continues to make top-quality products and their articulated dump trucks are no different.
While they only manufacture four ADTs, they have enough diversity in payload capabilities to serve most of the market. Adequately named after their rated payload potential, John Deere's 260E, 310E, 410E-11, and 460E-11, can haul 26, 31, 41, and 46 tons, respectively. Meanwhile, the heaping capacity of each is 19.6, 22.9, 30, and 32.9 cubic yards, respectively. Despite having fewer options than some other brands on this list, John Deere's articulating dump trucks will serve most small and medium-sized projects. This is fine as their markets focus on construction, landscaping, and forestry, not mining and quarrying, which often have lower payload demands.
John Deere ADTs have some great features including in-cab diagnostics, tire-pressure monitoring, onboard payload weighing, and more. They also have exceptional power and torque giving them the capability to drive through any type of terrain including steep grades, deep holes, and slippery environments.
Supporting industries like construction and mining, Komatsu products are well-known as great equipment options for heavy lifting. Founded in Japan in 1921, Komatsu has been powering infrastructure development for more than a century. As their manufacturing processes have continued to develop, their dantotsu approach, meaning best of the best, has not changed. This shows in their articulating dump trucks.
Despite only having two ADTs in their product portfolio, the HM300-5 and HM400-5, Komatsu's articulating dump trucks are capable of any job. These models have payload and heaping capabilities of 30.9 tons and 22.4 cubic yards, and 44.1 tons and 31.4 cubic yards, respectively. This makes them capable of competing with most other brands on this list.
What can make Komatsu stand out over other articulating dump truck brands is its focus on innovation and comfort. For example, Komatsu Traction Control System (KTCS), makes its machines operate excellently in muddy or slick environments without affecting steering and control. They also ensure that operators have excellent control going downhill, easy loading processes, and a comfortable cab.
A family-owned group based out of Denmark, Hydrema has three sizes of articulating dump truck models, all 22 tons or less that show they serve the smaller construction and mining project industries.
Hydrema's smallest models, the 707G and 707G Power+, are compact versions of the standard ADT. At only 7 tons, they don't have the same payload capacity but have the same maneuverability and benefits as a standard articulating dump truck. Being so small has its benefits though, as these models have all-around visibility and are very effective on smaller job sites.
Their medium-sized ADTs, the 912G, 912GS, and 912HM, are all 11-ton ADTs. These models focus on efficiency and operator comfort but are still small enough for easy movement and stability. They also have efficient tipping, precise unloading, and one-step entry, making them very easy to use and navigate for any operator.
Lastly, Hydrema also manufactures 20-ton model ADTs, the 922G, 922HM, 922G 2.55, and 920HM. While still on the smaller side of most other OEMs on this list, they are still able to get the job done. Working great in rough terrains, with amazing cab comfort and visibility, and quick tipping features, these larger models are perfect for any medium-sized project.
The last company to be highlighted on this list is Doosan, a company with a rich history based in South Korea. With ADTs applicable for construction sites, mining projects, quarrying, and simple excavation, Doosan has two models that might interest you for your next project: the DA30-5 and DA45-5.
With a payload of just over 30 tons and a hauling capacity of 22 cubic yards, the DA30-5 is Doosan's smaller articulating dump truck. The DA45-5 is the bigger model with a payload of 45 tons and a hauling capacity of 31.9 cubic yards. With industry-leading power-to-weight ratios, this allows Doosan ADTs to get more out of their performance. For example, with this power-to-weight ratio, the torque system is able to transfer power to the right tires to reduce slips making them great for difficult terrains and overall reliable performance.
Whether you're looking to rent an articulated dump truck or are navigating your thoughts about adding one to your fleet, we hope this has been helpful in comparing different brands. The main differences are which OEMs manufacture the size of machine you're looking to utilize. While some have features like telematics, real-time data, and cab visibility, most companies provide some level of these applications or at least are on their way to doing so, making these features important but not really the deciding factor. It will really come down to the level of performance these extra features bring to the articulating dump truck. We recommend reaching out to test different pieces of equipment from each manufacturer in the process of making your decision. Or, if you want to rent a 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60-ton articulating dump truck, we recommend heading over to the DOZR Marketplace to find an ADT near you.