The articulated dump truck is probably the toughest commercial vehicle ever built. This hard-working vehicle is specifically designed to run on muddy and rocky terrains while carrying a load that is larger than what could be carried with a conventional dump truck. Its articulated frame is ideal for such working conditions as it moves with greater ease and is separated from the cab by an oscillating hitch which allows the cab and the body to move separately from each other. This in turn reduces the stress on the truck's frame and allows the wheels to remain on the ground.
One of the unique features of the ADT is the moveable chassis. While conventional dump trucks are built on a one-piece chassis that holds both the cab and the bed, the ADT is quite different. It is actually made up of two major parts: the cab and the body that holds the dump bed. These two components are linked together via a massive oscillating or moveable hinge which allows the body with the cab and the body with the dump bed to move separately from each other.
The vehicle's steering system is also different. To steer it, two massive hydraulic rams are attached to the cab and bed. This moves the cab and points it in the proper direction, allowing for tighter turns and better movement.
Unlike the rack-and-pinion steering system used on conventional commercial vehicles, the artic hinge steering system used on ADT's is far more flexible so it can tackle any terrain with all wheels on the ground. The massive joint also makes it possible for the vehicle to have higher capacity limits than conventional dump trucks.
Differential Lock System
The ADT typically comes in 4X4, 6X6, or 6X4 drive configurations. Each tire on the truck generates power to move the vehicle via a differential lock system that is designed to divide the drive-train torque between the front and rear drives. Along with wider and lower tires, this gives the truck superior traction as needed to handle steep grades or poor terrains with more power instead of speed. The ADT's engine and transmission are designed this way due to the fact that ADT's are typically used for hauling short distances, under conditions that more traditional dump trucks would be unable to handle efficiently if at all.
Even the ADT's cab is built with practicality in mind. The cab only has enough room for one person. The driver is located centrally inside the cab with great outside visibility. The driver's seat is surrounded with different controls in a good, easy-to-use configuration.
Despite its many advantage, ADT's will not be replacing the conventional dump trucks just yet. Despite its many advantages, it also has its limitations, the main one being that the design is conducive for a particular driving condition which is not found on every job. It is certainly not conducive to extended normal road driving. Also, these articulating dump trucks come with a pretty hefty price tag.
The articulated dump truck established itself as being very useful for extreme hauling on harsh terrains. Most of the businesses that make use of the services of an ADT are mining companies and construction companies. For them, the ADT has proven to be the ideal vehicle that can provide the reliability and efficiency they need and it truly has become love at first sight' for every company that owns them!