Excavator buckets have a tough job – they’re digging all day and often left out in the elements when not in use. For this reason, you’ll find that your machine will go through a number of buckets over its lifetime. It’s important to recognise that just like you would take care of your tools in the shed, so should you take care of your buckets that are outdoors!
Get the most of your excavator bucket by treating it right – maintenance is key.
These are our top tips for having a healthy bucket, and as a result, increased productivity and cost-saving.
1. Check your bucket before every use
It seems simple enough, and it is! But checking your buckets before each use is essential for ensuring you do a good job. Not only that, a damaged bucket is a risk to the health and safety of everyone on your site.
Make sure you check your bucket for:
- Visual cracking
- Loose, broken or missing ground engaging tools (GET) or wear plates
- Areas which have excessive wear (including weld wash around wear plates)
- Working grease systems that are ejecting grease efficiently from each pin
- Covers in place for pins and grease lines
- Bushes are not walking out of bores
- If a face shovel, ensure door and jaw are correctly aligned and cylinders are not leaking
TIP – If you’re finding that dirt cakes onto your bucket, it might be worth giving it a good clean and then coating it with something like WD-40. You’ll have to reapply regularly.
2. Don’t use it incorrectly
If the health of your machine and bucket is important to you, don’t be silly with your machine! The most common reason for excessive bucket wear is walking. Walking puts undue stress on the bucket – you’re putting a lot of weight on it if you walk. But tricks such as whirling a water skier around a lake probably won’t be that helpful to your buckets either.
Photo: Daily Mail
3. Make sure you’re using the right bucket for the job
It’s really important that you’re using the right bucket for the job. A common mistake is using a bigger bucket, thinking it will get the job done faster. It may get the job done, but it will do so at greater expense and less efficiency. The best job is done with a bucket the right size, not too small and not too big. You can’t always use a specialised bucket, but you should always try and get the best possible fit for the job.
4. Don’t forget to change your bucket teeth regularly
Sharp bucket teeth will ensure easier penetration through the ground and more efficient digging. Bucket teeth are relatively inexpensive compared to poor digging ability. Blunt and rounded teeth will use more fuel and take more operator time in the digging process. Also remember to take care when replacing your teeth as well.
5. Choose the best bucket
The easiest way to have a healthy bucket is to buy a good one in the first place! If you choose the cheapest bucket, it really is a case of getting what you’ve paid for – poor, inefficient design and low-quality metal. If you invest in a better bucket (for only a little bit more), you will immediately be rewarded with better performance and fuel efficiency. A better bucket will also be more durable because its design puts the bucket under less stress.
Maintaining your bucket isn’t difficult, it’s just about keeping an eye on it and use it properly. If you have a good bucket and take care of it, you’ll be rewarded with increased productivity and efficiency.