When it comes to heavy machinery, many people have a basic understanding of what a dump truck is, but they may not be aware of the various types available. From the standard end dump to the side dump, each type of dump truck serves a specific purpose and has unique capabilities.
In general, there are 9 types of dump trucks, namely:
- Standard dump truck
- Super dump truck
- Winter weather dump truck
- Transfer dump truck
- Tri-axle dump truck
- Side dump truck
- Off-highway dump trucks
- Semi-truck trailer end dump truck
- Semi-truck trailer bottom dump truck
Whether you’re a construction worker, a landscaper, or just a curious individual, understanding the different types of dump trucks is essential in order to choosing the right one for the job. So, let’s delve into the world of dump trucks and discover the various forms this useful machine can take.
Types of Dump Trucks
1. Standard dump truck
A standard dump truck is a versatile and widely used vehicle in various industrial settings. It has a standard truck suspension and is equipped with a dump box mounted on top of a freight-carrying bed.
The dumping mechanism is powered by a hydraulic piston located near the cab, which raises the front of the dump box and lowers the rear, allowing the load to slide out. Alternatively, the dump box can be lifted and lowered by a hydraulic piston on either side. The tailgate of the dump box can be top-hinged, bottom-hinged, or equipped with a hydraulic system.
Standard dump trucks are roadworthy and can travel on standard roads and highways, but are not designed for rough terrain. They are typically used for residential construction sites, street building, and farming applications.
2. Super dump truck
A super dump truck is a type of semi-truck trailer dump truck that has an extra trailing axle at the end of the trailer. This extra axle can be lifted off the road when the truck is empty, reducing taxes for vehicles with a certain number of axles on the road.
When the truck is fully loaded, the trailing axle is put into place by a hydraulic system, extending it further to the back of the trailer and making contact with the road. This spreads the load over a larger area, increasing the legal carrying capacity of the truck. The added carrying capacity has led to the term “super dump truck,” as it allows for a higher payload per trip and improved profitability.
3. Winter weather dump truck
A winter weather dump truck is a type of dump truck specifically designed for clearing snow in areas that experience heavy snowfall. It is a standard, heavy dump truck that has been modified for this purpose.
A snowplow blade is attached to the front of the truck to move snow off the road. The dump box is used to balance the truck when pushing a heavy load of snow at the front, and can also be used to carry salt, which is spread on the roadways to prevent ice formation. These dump trucks are essential for maintaining safe road conditions during winter months.
4. Transfer dump truck
A transfer dump truck is a type of dump truck that consists of a standard dump truck base and a separate, movable cargo container on a trailer. The trailer can be pulled within the body of the main truck, providing greater capacity without sacrificing maneuverability.
Transfer dump trucks are capable of carrying a variety of common construction materials, such as gravel, sand, asphalt, snow, wood chips, construction aggregate, and dirt. They are widely used throughout the United States for various transportation and construction needs. The key advantage of transfer dump trucks is their versatility and ability to transport a large amount of material in a single trip.
5. Tri-axle dump truck
A tri-axle dump truck is a type of hauling truck that is designed for smaller loads and short distances. It is popular in more urban or suburban areas due to its ability to maneuver in tight quarters or busy city streets.
As its name suggests, tri-axle dump trucks have three axles, making them lightweight and cost-effective compared to other types of dump trucks. However, the load capacity of a tri-axle dump truck is smaller, making it unsuitable for carrying heavy construction aggregates such as sand, gravel, and dirt. These trucks are commonly used for hauling lighter materials like topsoil, mulch, or asphalt for smaller projects or for short distances.
6. Side dump truck
A side dump truck is a type of hauling truck equipped with a hydraulic system that enables it to tilt to the right or left side, allowing the contents to unload. It is ideal for transporting semi-liquids, fine materials, and building roads.
Side dump trailers are considered generally safe and easy to operate, and they can unload on soft or uneven ground without needing to back up. However, they have a smaller cubic capacity and limited maneuverability for unloading in confined areas. These trucks are commonly used in the Midwest and West Coast where a dump site must be configured specifically for side dumps.
7. Off-highway dump trucks
Off-highway dump trucks, also known as haul trucks or articulated haulers, are heavy construction vehicles used for off-road tasks such as mining and hauling heavy dirt. They are different from standard dump trucks and are not meant to be driven on highways.
These trucks are specifically designed for rough terrain and challenging working conditions. There are two main types of off-highway dump trucks: haul trucks and articulated haulers. These trucks are crucial for many industries as they are used to transport large amounts of material in remote areas where road access is limited. With their impressive size and flexible dumping capabilities, they are an essential tool for keeping up with the increasing demands for faster turnaround times
8. Semi-truck trailer end dump truck
A semi-truck trailer end dump truck is a combination of a standard semi-truck and a modified trailer with dumping capability. The cargo is dumped from the rear end of the trailer, and a powerful hydraulic piston is used to lift the front end and expel the load. The hydraulic piston is prone to damage if the dump box is overloaded, has an unevenly distributed load, or is offloaded on uneven ground, which can result in the bending of the lifting mechanism. If the truck is unbalanced during offloading, it can also overturn.
The semi-truck dump truck is useful for transporting large loads and can navigate normal roads and highways. However, it is not suitable for rough terrain or soft ground construction sites since the trailer does not have drive wheels. Operators need to exercise caution and carefully manage the offloading process to avoid damaging the hydraulic piston.
9. Semi-truck trailer bottom dump truck
A semi-truck trailer bottom dump truck is a combination of a standard semi-truck and a trailer with a clamshell design dump box. The cargo is dumped from the bottom or belly of the dump box and the entire load is dumped without any cargo remaining inside. The clamshell design allows the truck to drive forward, depositing the load in a line where it is needed.
These trucks are often used to transport cereal grains for agriculture or food production and can also distribute sand for construction. They can have multiple bottom dump trailers, up to 3, but reversing them can be difficult and requires highly skilled drivers. Some locations may require the load to be spread over multiple trailers to minimize wear and tear on the roadways from the heavy loads, up to 52 tons.