Articulated Haul Trucks: A Brief History

Updated: Feb 23

In an articulated dump truck the cab is mounted onto the front with the dump body mounted onto the back of the chassis. The two pieces move independently of one another using an articulation joint. The ability of these trucks to take tighter turns enables operators to navigate tough job sites with ease. It wasn’t always such a smooth ride, though. Read on to find out how articulated haul trucks were developed.


It was the late 1950’s when manufacturers began to introduce the idea of articulating configurations. Ernest Doe got creative when their primary customer, the farmers, created the demand for a more powerful tractor to work the heavier terrain. The Doe Dual Drive (also known as the Doe Triple D) was born in response to this need. Two Fordson Super Major tractor units sans front wheels, were joined by a turntable affording a 100 HP beast that was twice as powerful as other tractors and offered four wheel drive.


While Ernest Doe was creating in England, a company by the name of Livab was creating in Sweden. Livab developed a tractor trailer machine with front and rear power. They continued on in developing the unit, working with Volvo’s tractor division, and soon made strides bringing a four wheel drive articulated hauler to market, with tractor connected to trailer via hydraulic powered steering linkage.

By the late 60’s there was more competition for the market, with Kockum Landsverk also starting to offer a 4x4 ADT. Volvo would go on to acquire both Livab and Kockum in the coming decades and successfully position itself as market leader despite growing competition from Doosan, Deere, CAT, Bell & others that have entered the race.


Early articulated haul trucks were built for the job, not necessarily for the comfort of the operator. These machines were tough, but presented challenges when operated on the rough terrain. No suspension, manual transmissions, and an unimpressive pace of 15-20 mph left much to be desired, not to mention the 10 ton max capacity. Volvo continued to make improvements to the design. The next model added introduced an undercarriage that allowed the wheels to move up and down without disturbing the dump body. Additional advances brought about automatic transmissions and an overhaul of the cab creating a better experience for the operator.


In what is now more than half a century of building, Volvo Construction Equipment has been able to leverage the knowledge and experience that make it the market leader in the ADT segment. This heavy duty machine has proved a key player for far more applications than the early purpose of soil and aggregate transport.



Highway Equipment & Supply Co. is proud to represent the standard setting Volvo CE line of articulating haul trucks.

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