Let’s Face It… You Need More Than a Drop in The Bucket!

by New member apeyton ‎05-08-2017 04:21 PM - edited ‎05-08-2017 04:44 PM

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What would (construction) life be like without buckets? Hard to imagine, right? Fortunately, today there are certain buckets available on the market that make life even easier. That said, there are features and advancements to be aware of when choosing the right bucket for your machine and application. In this blog, we are going to talk about buckets for two machine groups in particular: loaders and mini excavators.


Loader Buckets – Features and Advancements:

In production-oriented applications, such as truck loading, stockpiling or load-and-carry, material retention is crucial to getting the job done in an efficient manner. Therefore, it is important to use buckets with design elements specifically geared to gaining optimal material retention, such as:

  • Wide throat openings create more space between the cutting edge and the spill guard to improve heap size and fill factor.
  • Long bucket floors provide more surface for entering material before encountering the radius at the back of the bucket to allow the bucket to take a bigger bite of the pile.
  • Curved side bars add surface area to the side of the bucket to help funnel more material into the bucket and better contain that material.
  • Strike planes are a geometric aspect between the machine linkage and bucket and an aggressive rack angle of a bucket in its carry position improves load retention.
  • Spill guards funnel material away from critical components such as linkage pins, hydraulic cylinders and sensors for improved longevity.

Some advanced equipment manufacturers are engineering these features on a variety of loader bucket styles, including general-purpose, light-material, sand/gravel, and material-handling buckets. These buckets offer improved performance, providing increased productivity and fuel efficiency for a large range of applications, including:

  • Easier, faster loading resulting in much faster cycle times;
  • Optimal containment of material during transport;
  • Significantly increased fill factors, resulting in fewer passes per truck and more truck loads per day;
  • And enhanced sight lines to the pile and into the bucket, allowing operators to easily determine when the bucket is full.

Mini Excavator Buckets – Features and Advancements:

With mini excavators, breakout force is key since many applications involve—you guessed it—digging. Whether you are digging a trench to put in piping or digging out a house foundation, you have to have enough power between the machine and the bucket to penetrate the ground. With this in mind, there are several considerations to make when choosing the right bucket for the application, including:

  • Bucket capacity and width: Some advanced manufacturers are now engineering heavy duty capacity buckets to help operators complete digging applications at much faster rates. It is important to consider the mini excavator’s size and lift capacity before selecting this type of bucket. Additionally, buckets with smooth moldboards will help you load more material in each pass—this is especially helpful when cleaning out trenches.
  • Bucket strength and thickness: This is especially important in applications that involve digging in rocky terrain. Look for a bucket with extra wear plates attached to the sides and bottom—these will provide added protection and help extend the life of the attachment.
  • Strength of the bucket teeth: For heavier duty applications and/or digging in tough terrain, look for a bucket with weld-on teeth versus bolted.
  • Side cutters: This optional feature attaches to the front of the bucket and allows operators to straighten the sides of a trench, without the disturbing the trench bottom.
  • Quick couplers: Allow operators to spend more time on the tasks at hand and less time changing out attachments. Some advanced manufacturers offer tilt couplers, which provide 180 degree rotation and give operators the ability to get in places they usually couldn’t with a normal coupler or pin-on arrangement.

As you can see, there is a lot to evaluate when choosing the right bucket for the job. Hopefully this blog helped you prioritize the features to look for in your next loader or mini excavator bucket purchase. To learn more about bucket features and advancements, contact your local Cat® dealer and/or research options at Cat Mini Excavator Buckets or Cat Loader Buckets.

We’d like to hear about the features you look for in buckets and how you utilize them on the jobsite.  

  • Do you currently face material retention or handling challenges in your applications? If so, what type of challenges?
  • Which type of buckets do you most often utilize on the jobsite? On your mini excavator? On your loader?
  • What measures do you take to help extend the life of your buckets and other attachments?
  • Do you look for design elements that improve the durability of your attachments?
  • Which bucket features do you typically look for to help improve material retention?
  • Are there certain bucket features or configurations that you wish were available on the market today to help improve material retention and/or other job related tasks?

by New member Kawser
on ‎05-14-2017 06:45 AM

Thanks, Apeyton!

by Brent Pope
on ‎05-23-2017 04:44 PM

We dig a lot of footings that are required to have a smooth, clean bottom.  Does CAT offer buckets with bolt on cutting edges instead of teeth?

by New member apeyton
on ‎05-26-2017 04:14 PM

Hello Brent.  Yes, Caterpillar does offer smooth edge grading buckets and ditch cleaning buckets that have bolt on cutting edge options. Our heavy duty buckets only offer the weld on teeth, but we have several customers that weld a plate across the teeth in order to achieve a smooth edge, while still maintaining the strength and durability of the teeth.

About the Author
  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
  • I am an Industry and Application Rep for Caterpillar. I graduated from NC State with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a tobacco and beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
  • My passion is in storytelling and thought leadership, helping people connect with the brands they love and helping brands connect with their audiences. At Caterpillar, I get to work with a variety of industries and customer solutions, supporting our customers who are making huge impacts in our world every day. It's not just about the yellow iron - it's about understanding the problems our customers face, and being a part of the total solution.
  • I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day.  This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
  • I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
  • I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
  • I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
  • I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
  • I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
  • I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
  • I’m a Telehandler Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North and South America. I have 13 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer service operations and technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. My telehandler passion and focus is working with dealers and customers to maximize the versatility of the product through machine and operator training.
  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
  • I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
  • I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
  • I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.

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