The primary step to using your bucket to the best of its capacity is ensuring you have the right components to for bucket wear protection. What are a bucket’s wear parts?
- How is the cutting edge? Does it project in front of the moldboard, keeping it from wearing off? Is the cutting edge wearing off as a result of flotation from the loader? Or is the wear seen only on the front portion of the bucket, showing that it is run with an elevated bucket? Using a new cutting edge enhances the effectiveness of a bucket.
- How are the heel plates? Are they part of the bucket? In most cases, buckets are often rebuilt because they have been in use for extended periods without heel plates, causing the bolt holes to wear off. Most times, bucket levelling systems are calibrated by a loader manufacturer to work effectively when new heel plates are mounted on the bucket.
- Is the moldboard good? Are there traces of scalloped wear between its bolts? Is it warped as a result of hard facing? It is normal to see buckets warped by heat from welding or hard facing. Their end blades will rest on the floor, but the centre of the bucket will still be at 1.5 inches or more. In such cases, the cutting edges will erode unevenly. The end blades will diminish quickly while the centre blades will be unaffected.
One major problem to look into is the realisation that the point where there is welding between the vertical wall and moldboard is the area with the highest stress in a bucket. If this point is weak, the whole bucket is weak.
To ensure the bucket lasts long, you have to protect this area. How can these issues be prevented? How can you extend a front end loader’s bucket? Covering the bucket with a combination of wear parts that can be replaced is a good option. Size is not a problem in protecting buckets.
Replaceable wear parts that can extend bucket life include:
- A high-quality cutting edge. This is generally done using quality heat-treated steel. If wear tendency is higher, then use Tungsten carbide Impregnated cutting edge.
- Moldboard base edge cap systems can be used to prevent wear on moldboards due to scalloping. They can easily be replaced and mounted with just the cutting edge bolt.
- Vertical wall side cutters make up an essential aspect of a bucket’s arsenal. These side cutters extend in front of a vertical wall, and across it, preventing thinning and weakness of the wall.
- Sidewall wear plates are designed to fit each bucket. Therefore they prevent cutting or replacement of bucket sidewalls.
- Bucket liners. They are not present in all environments, but they prevent holes that cause wear in vital bucket areas.
How can you extend the shelf-life of your bucket?
One quick and easy way to extend a bucket’s life is by replacing worn-out parts when you notice them. A wear part is a sacrificial component of a bucket, wearing off instead of its base. Let it do its job. However, replace them early enough to protect other bucket components.
- Protect your bucket when it is new and in the best conditions to ensure it remains strong.
- Avoid hard facing your bucket. The heat introduced during this process weakens your bucket and may warp your moldboard.
- Use an automatic levelling system if you have one.
- Get an ultrasonic thickness for your bucket to measure the life span of its components.