Choose the right bucket to help increase productivity, meet daily production target
A wheel loader’s bucket is typically its biggest revenue generator. But with many types to choose from, how do you know what type of bucket is best suited for your application?
Before performing tasks like loading, carrying and stockpiling, test the bucket weight, capacity and expected material density. You should know the four most common bucket designs — general purpose, light material, multi-purpose and rock buckets. Also, consider ground engaging tools. By specifying the right bucket, you can better meet your daily production targets and help maintain machine performance.
Determine Material Density
When sizing a bucket to your wheel loader, evaluate the bucket weight and capacity first. Calculate the average density of the material being moved and then compare that to the tipping load and lifting capacity.
Also, consider that you may be working with many densities — sand one day, rock the next — so spec the bucket based on the heaviest material it will handle. For instance, sand that absorbs moisture will be heavier wet than dry. Clean, washed aggregate densities can also vary from base fill densities.
Wheel loaders are designed to handle a predetermined loading cycle profile and working payload. Pushing a machine beyond its limits can speed up the wear and affect machine durability. And it can lower your return on investment.
Match Bucket to Application
A wheel loader’s bucket matters more than you may think. In fact, a bucket properly matched to its material could decrease the number of passes needed to fill trucks.
The most common bucket design is a general-purpose bucket for maximum filling and material retention. This design works best in day-to-day material handling or when working with a wide range of material densities.
If you are looking to move larger loads with smaller densities, a light material bucket may be an economical solution for you. Light material buckets offer higher capacities than general-purpose buckets. They are ideal for lifting snow, mulch or other light materials. Light material buckets are usually available with a pin-on or hydraulic quick coupler mounting. Some are available with a bolt-on cutting edge for enhanced digging capabilities.
Multi-purpose buckets can allow for improved digging and bucket filling. They can load, carry and dump granular materials; grab objects; and doze, level, or spread soil and fill. Multi-purpose buckets with reinforced mounting plates provide longer service life and reduced maintenance.
For more abrasive applications, consider a spade-nose-style rock bucket. Typically, they are designed to move higher-density materials such as those found in larger road work and site development projects. Many manufacturers offer this bucket as a pin-on-only option with standard weld-on teeth to improve its durability.
To help make the best decision when selecting a wheel loader bucket, visit your local dealer. They have formulas available to calculate size and material density and volume and compare it to the size of the bucket to provide the best solution for your application.
Utilize Ground Engaging Tools
Cutting through the material can be easier with ground engaging tools, such as rugged bucket teeth. Many manufacturers offer a vast number of interchangeable bolt-on bucket teeth options. Weld-on teeth are offered on heavier-duty buckets, such as rock buckets, to reduce wear.
Add replaceable cutting edges and extra guarding to protect and to promote productivity.
Rapidly Change Buckets
To help get the most productivity from your wheel loader, consider investing in a quality attachment quick-change mechanism — which is optional on most manufacturers’ machines — to easily change general purpose, light material and multi-purpose buckets.
Many more efficiencies can be gained from being able to rapidly change buckets or other attachments with a hydraulic quick coupler from the comfort and security of a cab. Additionally, some coupler systems have been designed to eliminate greasing, requiring less maintenance and fewer replacement parts.
There is more to selecting the best wheel loader bucket than meets the eye. Evaluate the bucket weight and capacity first, then select the bucket design that best matches your application.
Aaron Kleingartner is the product and dealer marketing manager for Doosan Infracore North America, LLC, headquartered in Suwanee, Georgia. Kleingartner has 17 years of product development, analytics and strategic marketing experience with Doosan. Doosan is a NUCA Sustaining National Partner.
Know Your Load
A new option is available for wheel loader operators. The Trimble LOADRITE L3180 SmartScale is an option on Doosan wheel loaders. The LOADRITE L3180 SmartScale uses weighing intelligence and solid-state sensors for more accurate, precise and faster loading. It also connects machines and devices for the collection and syncing of data via the built-in WiFi to InsightHQ reporting portal. The LOADRITE L3180 offers more precise weighing in a wide range of conditions including adjusting for rough terrain, operator technique and machine movement using new weighing intelligence. The system also features digital CAN-bus sensors for noise immunity and ground slope compensation as standard.