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ONTRAC displays curved engineering excellence


XMOR® buckets are redefining productivity and efficiency within the extractive industry. Quarry spoke to the brains behind their development to gain an insight into their unique design.

Something as simple as changing the shape and design of an excavator bucket from the ground up might seem to have little relevance on broader levels of productivity. But this is far from the case with XMOR high productivity buckets.

Featuring a curved design and unique patented keel and heel segments, the XMOR buckets have been designed with the express intention of reducing the total number of passes needed to fill a truck, while simultaneously keeping suspended load at manageable levels for the excavators to which the buckets are attached.

Brian Coulson, lead engineer of the XMOR buckets, spoke to Quarry about the design process and out-of-the box thinking that went into designing these buckets.

“We wanted it to be possible for operations to skip a weight class when it came to their buckets,” Coulson said. 

“As in, moving the same amount of product each pass as you would with a 90-tonne machine, but using an 80-tonne machine instead.”

The core mission behind XMOR is the ability to excavate more material per bucket scoop, moving material more quickly onsite, either through increased production from an existing excavator or similar levels of production with a smaller excavator.

 To that end, because XMOR is made out of the latest Hardox®️ Wear Steel and Strenx®️ Performance Steel, the overall weight of the bucket was decreased giving flexibility where flexibility is needed in certain areas, whilst compromising nothing from a wear standpoint.

XMOR buckets are designed to reduce the total number of passes needed to fill a truck.

Benefits of the design

The main benefit of the XMOR design is the ability to fill more trucks with fewer passes.

“It would be easy to look at the design for the XMOR and say that the steel is less thick, therefore it will wear more quickly,” Coulson said. “But that’s not the case at all.

“The bucket might have a shorter life between refurbishments than a heavy duty bucket, however this is outweighed by the extra production figures.”

“Even when the buckets do wear, because of the design of the heel segment – in that they are mechanically fitted plates – they are easier to replace in the field than traditional cast heel corners.”

The lower corners of the XMOR bucket comes with replaceable mechanical heel segments, which significantly reduces change out times.

Additionally, the curved cutting edge and the curved tops on the bucket help spread stress over a larger area, providing a resilient bucket that also has an improved digging performance.

The curved shape serves to spread the stressors of the bucket around rather than focus them in one point, which, when applied in conjunction with the STRENX steel, allows for a resilient bucket that can be lighter than traditional excavator buckets.

This works to give the XMOR buckets the ability to lower the total cost of ownership of not just the bucket itself but also other equipment on-site by reducing the number or size of excavators needed to perform the same amount of work and allowing operations to “skip a weight class” to achieve the productivity of a higher-tonne machine without purchasing a new excavator. 

For example, swapping a 90 tonne excavator with an 80 tonne excavator to achieve the same productivity outcome.

“Some sites have five machines loading trucks all feeding into the same crusher for their project they want,” Coulson said.

“If they fit the XMOR bucket, they could run the same job, with the same production with less excavators.

“Customers have come to us and described the extra material they can move as ‘free material’. Everything still has a cost; they are simply reducing the cost of fuel per tonne of material excavated.”

The main idea behind XMOR is the ability to fit more material per bucket.

Development of the XMOR

Having been involved with excavators for a large portion of his career, Coulson had the experience and knowledge to recognise the opportunity to reinvent the traditional design.

“Through my previous work, I was using HARDOX material in repairs and I thought to myself, ‘We could make a bigger pocket with the same suspended load, so we’re not over pressurising the excavator’,” Coulson said.

The production of the XMOR bucket uses some unique and complex design elements, but does so to accommodate for a lower-weight and increased capacity bucket. Ensuring the low weight and the distribution of material within the bucket was essential for the design, as it ensured the suspended load of the bucket when compared to the excavator was appropriate, while allowing the bucket to hold the biggest capacity possible. 

“One of the most difficult shapes we struggled with was taking all the wear parts off the bottom of the bucket,” Coulson said.

“And that’s how we innovated the inverted keel design, which takes the bottom of the bucket away from the materials that you are digging, and adds strength back into the bucket.”

Exclusive partners

Owing to the unique design of the bucket, only a select number of global partners have been chosen to manufacture the XMOR bucket.

Ontrac Group is one of those businesses, having built a strong reputation due to the company’s attention to detail and overall production of the XMOR design.

“We are a global concept, but we’re not looking to add numerous partners,” Coulson said.

“We are very selective in which partners we choose to collaborate with. By extension, the partners or manufacturers that would be associated with us are high quality as well.

“The battle that our partners take on is that they have a unique design that is more complicated to manufacture and requires specific skill sets.”

The XMOR buckets are designed for optimal efficiency, while taking into consideration the constraints of working within the safe-working-load of the excavator..

“At the end of the day, we want one less pass when loading trucks,” Coulson said.

“If it’s taking five passes to fill a truck, we can get it done in four with the XMOR.”

For more information, visit the ONTRAC Group website here.

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