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The Rock Truck: Everything You Need To Know About the Articulated Dump Truck
8 Minute Read
Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
December 10, 2021

Everything You Need To Know About the Articulated Dump Truck

Also known as an articulated hauler, dump hauler, or articulated dump truck, a rock truck was made for moving large amounts of heavy material around or off of a job site. These machines are great for transporting materials over rough terrain and do not require a flat or smooth road to drive on. There are so many ways to use a rock truck

Two rented construction rock trucks parked on a construction site

What Is A Rock Truck?

A rock truck, or articulated dump truck (ADT), is made up of two parts – the front tractor section and the back hauler or trailer section. The two pieces are connected by hydraulic cylinders. This allows the back trailer section to move horizontally in relation to the front tractor. This creates a more dynamic movement for the trailer to dump at angles or in corners.

Articulated dump trucks are ideal for uneven terrain and driving over an unfinished construction site. An articulated dump truck can drive on city roads to transport materials if needed.  Articulated dump trucks are available for rent on DOZR with payloads ranging from 25 – 45 tons.

rock truck rental being loaded by excavator on construction site

What Can an Articulated Dump Truck Be Used For?

Articulated dump trucks are used for hauling, moving and dumping materials. While this is the main function of an articulated dump truck, the dump on the trailer can be replaced with a water tank to haul water to, from and around a site. This could be a helpful job in the summertime or on dry days when dust is a safety hazard and a worksite needs to be sprayed with water.

Rock truck with a water tank attachment
Image borrowed from For Construction Pros.

Which Payload of Articulated Dump Truck is Best?

The weight and size of an articulated dump truck that is needed for a project is determined by the load weight that needs to be hauled or moved. These machines are categorized by their payload capacity and hauling ability.

Articulated dump trucks are created to haul, move, transport and dump rocks, soil, materials and debris. The different sizes of articulated dump trucks available are relative to the maximum payload capacity.

Current Popular Manufacturers of Articulated Dump and Rock Trucks

These are some of the most popular manufacturers and rock trucks and articulated dump trucks. 


Caterpillar was founded in 1925 when C. L. Best Tractor Company joined with Holt Manufacturing Company. The name Caterpillar was conceptualized by Benjamin Holt himself before 1925.

Holt was responsible for the invention of the continual tracked system and he named his newly invented machine “caterpillar” for how it crawled along the ground. The name followed him when Holt Manufacturing merged with C.L. Best and the company of Caterpillar (also known as CAT) was born.

Caterpillar is one of the most recognized brands of heavy equipment and machinery. With over 110 manufacturing facilities worldwide and almost 24 different types of vehicles, CAT now offers two types of rock trucks: the articulated truck with a bare chassis and the three-axle articulated dump truck.

They offer seven different models of articulated dump trucks ranging from 26.5 ton to a 45.2 ton payload.


A global corporation of both lifts and heavy equipment, Terex Corporation is a group of companies including Terex, Genie, Powerscreen and Demag. Terex is the brand name under which the rock truck is manufactured. 

Terex Trucks started in 1934 with the invention of the first off-road dump truck. Although not quite the same as an articulated dump truck, it was this invention that had the butterfly effect on the creation of Terex. In 1968 General Motors named an earth-moving division of manufacturing Terex. The name came from the Latin words “terra” meaning earth and “rex” meaning king. 

The very first Terex articulated dump truck was launched in 1982 from Motherwell, Scotland. The product line of Terex Trucks and Terex Corporation was purchased by Volvo group in 2014. Today, Terex manufactures 7 different models of articulated dump trucks. 

A Terex articulating dump truck driving over dirt on the construction site
Image borrowed from Terex Trucks.


Johan Theron Munktell of Eskilstuna, Sweden established what would become Volvo Construction Equipment in 1832. The city of Eskilstuna asked him to help grow the local mechanical industry by building an engineering workshop. In 1853 Johan created Sweden’s first locomotive.

At the same time, two brothers named Jean Bolinder and Carl Gherard returned to Sweden from England after studying engineering technology to start their own business.

100 years later the engineering workshop created by Johan merged with the company created by the Swedish brothers to form AB Bolinder-Munktell. It was this company that was purchased by Volvo in 1950. 

Today Volvo continues to push the boundaries of construction equipment manufacturing and owns a number of other manufacturing businesses and equipment corporations. Volvo also produces 7 different models of articulated dump trucks with a payload capacity ranging from 27.6 to 60.6 tons. 

volvo construction rock truck driving over piles of dirt
Image borrowed from McClung-Logan Equipment Company.

Popular Models of Rock Truck

CAT 740 GC

A re-introduced 40-ton articulated dump truck (ADT), the CAT 740 GC incorporates both new controls, hoist-assist system and fuel-saving ECO mode with the class features and performance models of old CAT ADTs. With the latest automatic retarder-control system the efficiency of this machine is better than ever. 

With 425 horsepower and the CAT C15 ACERT engine, the CAT 740 GC is a great addition to their lineup of articulated dump trucks.

CAT 740 GC articulating dump truck
Image borrowed from For Construction Pros.

Terex Trucks TA300 

With tough applications and proven higher performance the TA300 is a powerful ADT for quarries, commercial construction projects and infrastructure development projects. With excellent traction control and independent front suspension, this piece of equipment was made with productivity in mind. 

The TA300 features a max payload of 31 tons and a 370 horsepower engine. A high-performance and fuel-efficient engine help to make this machine strong and sustainable.

Terex TA300 construction articulating dump truck
Image borrowed from Terex Trucks.

Volvo A45G ADT

Added to the Volvo ADT group in 2017 this machine is smaller, lighter and more agile than the traditional 45-ton truck. The 469 horsepower Volvo D16 engine powers this machine to be productive, safe and have a lower cost per ton than their previous models. 

A part of the G series, the Volvo A45G has added features like Hill Assist to hold the truck in place on steep slopes and the Dump Support System which projects the truck’s side inclination percentage to the operator to allow for smoother and safer material dumping. Backed by Volvo’s Fuel Efficiency Guarantee, this machine is built for a tough but long life.

Volvo A45G Articulating dump truck
Image borrowed from Construction Equipment.

Potential Hazards & Safety Protocols for Rock Trucks and Articulated Dump Trucks

There are a number of hazards associated with the operation of articulated dump trucks and dump trucks in general. Like with any piece of heavy equipment, never operate a piece of machinery without first receiving proper training.

Survey the worksite and secure the load before transporting materials. There are a variety of hazards to be aware of for dump trucks, listed below.

A rock truck whos back end has tipped over
Image borrowed from Australia’s Mining Monthly.

Backover Incidents Involving People or Other Equipment 

Dump trucks are big and heavy equipment that can have many blind spots and lower visibility than other machines. Check all blind spots and utilize spotters when reversing. Use audio and visual signals to indicate a reversing truck and avoid taking corners at high speeds.  

Slips, Trips and Falls While Climbing Into and Out Of a Truck

Use the three-point contact method whenever climbing in or out of a truck. Three limbs – either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand – should be on the equipment at all times when climbing ladders or getting in and out of a truck. Be aware of weather conditions and check steps for snow, ice or mud that could make steps slippery. Always wear a seatbelt when operating a dump truck 

Dumping on Uneven Ground

Dumping on an up or down terrain grade can impact the center of gravity and weight distribution in an articulated dump truck, causing it to tip. Be aware of how much weight is in the dump box and operate the machinery accordingly. 

The History of the Articulated Dump Truck

The articulated dump truck did not get its start with a truck not a dumpster or dump box of any kind. The concept of the articulated dump truck dates back to the 1950s in Essex, England when a farmer named Ernest Doe took two Fordson tractors, removed the front axles and connected the front end of one tractor to the back end of another.

By using a hydraulic turntable Doe created a double-powered tractor. It was dubbed the Doe Dual Drive – Doe Triple D – tractor.

It was the hydraulic connection joint that truly made the difference. This model was also used in 1957 when a company called Northfield designed a hauler that could swing 180 degrees due to mid-body using hydraulic cylinders. Despite the innovative design, their machine didn’t have a key feature needed for the success of a dump truck: four-wheel drive.

rock truck dumping dirt on a construction site
Volvo was the first company to introduce a four-wheel-drive articulated hauler. The DR 631 was conceptualized in 1966 and entered the market two years later. The market exploded from this point on and a variety of other manufacturers started releasing their own version of the articulated dump.

In 1970 a company called Moxy from Norway prototyped a 22-ton articulated dump truck followed shortly by the 17-ton D15. Moxy continued to make a number of ADT models under a variety of company names.

Moxy themselves were passed around to a few different brands including Komatsu and in 2008 Doosan. Doosan boasts 40 years of manufacturing articulating dump trucks that incorporate Moxy into their company history. In 2011 Moxy disappeared for good. By the end of its life, the company contributed many different models of these trucks to the market.

Through the years articulated dump trucks and rock trucks have continued to grow in weight capacity, size and strength. The 30-ton market dominated for years but the 40-ton trucks have begun to grow in popularity.

The Rock Truck: FAQ

What is the difference between a rock truck and an articulated dump truck?

A rock truck is the same as an articulated dump truck. The same way a skid steer is also called a compact track loader, a rock truck and articulated dump truck are the same type of machine. 

Can I rent a rock truck?

You can rent an articulated dump truck on DOZR. DOZR offers a variety of ADT sizes ranging from 25 to 45 tons. Rock trucks can be rented for a day, week, or month all at different prices. 

What is an articulated dump truck used for?

An articulated dump truck (ADT) or articulated hauler is considered a very large and heavy-duty dump truck used to transport materials over rough terrain. They are sometimes used on public roads but are more often used mainly on-site.

What is the difference between an articulated dump truck and a rigid dump truck?

An articulated dump truck is broken into two parts – the truck cab and the rear dumping body – that are joined by an articulation point. A rigid dump truck is a single machine with a fixed connection and a dump body.

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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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