A Front loader is also known as: bucket loader, loader, front end loader, pay loader, scoop loader, shovel, skip loader, and/or wheel loader.
Front Loader is a heavy equipment machine often used in construction, primarily used to load material (such as asphalt, demolition debris, dirt, snow, feed, gravel, logs, raw minerals, recycled material, rock, sand, and woodchips) into or onto another type of machinery (such as a dump truck, conveyor belt, feed-hopper, or railcar).
In construction areas loaders are also used to transport building materials – such as bricks, pipe, metal bars, and digging tools – over short distances.
A loader is usually wheeled, sometimes on tracks, that has a front mounted square wide bucket connected to the end of two booms (arms) to scoop up loose material from the ground, such as dirt, sand or gravel, and move it from one place to another without pushing the material across the ground. A loader is commonly used to move a stockpiled material from ground level and deposit it into an awaiting dump truck or into an open trench excavation. (Photo above: Volvo wheel loader; author MathKnight; available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
The loader assembly may be a removable attachment or permanently mounted. Often the bucket can be replaced with other devices or tools—for example, forks can be mounted to lift heavy pallets or shipping containers, and a hydraulically-opening “clamshell” bucket allows a loader to act as a light dozer or scraper. The bucket can also be augmented with devices like a bale grappler for handling large bales of hay or straw. (Photo on the left: Caterpillar 988 adopted for log handling: author Rvannatta ;available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)
Large loaders, such as the Kawasaki 95ZV-2, John Deere 844K, Caterpillar 950H, Volvo L120E,Case 921E, or Hitachi ZW310 usually have only a front bucket and are called Front Loaders, whereas small loader tractors are often also equipped with a small backhoe and are called backhoe loaders or loader backhoes or JCBs, after the company that first invented them.
A loader is not the most efficient machine for digging as it cannot dig very deep below the level of its wheels, like a backhoe can. The capacity of a loader bucket can be anywhere from 0.5 to 36 m³ depending upon the size of the machine and its application.
Unlike most bulldozers, most loaders are wheeled and not tracked, although track loaders are common. They are successful where sharp edged materials in construction debris would damage rubber wheels, or where the ground is soft and muddy. Wheels provide better mobility and speed and do not damage paved roads as much as tracks, but provide less traction.
(Photo: Track Loader: author btr ; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license)