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Milbrae is on track to success


Moving material from point A to Point B is an over-simplification of many elements of the quarrying process, but it remains crucial to high levels of efficiency down the supply chain.

Whether it’s unplanned downtime, fuel prices or wear and tear from operating equipment for extended periods of time, quarrying equipment can come with hidden costs.

Managing these costs can be a contributor to the success of an operation, which is why Milbrae Quarries has turned to ONTRAC Group for excavator buckets.

As part of a growing partnership, Milbrae Quarries has recently acquired one of the powerful XMOR® buckets, manufactured in Australia.

Mounted on a 48-tonne Volvo excavator, the XMOR bucket has exceeded expectations, according to Milbrae Quarries operations manager for mining and mobile services Tyson Afford.

“We’re very distinctly seeing shorter cycle times from the equipment using the XMOR bucket,” he said.

The bucket has seen over 500 working hours of operation and the benefits of the design have been “obvious on a lot of different fronts”, Afford said.

The excavator now uses less fuel when using the XMOR, for the amount of rock it moves in regular operation.

Afford said the lighter bucket and its ability to dig more easily, enabling the excavator to have a fuller bucket, contributes to fewer cycle times with fewer overall cycles.

“With all that combined, it would make sense that things are being done more quickly while burning much less fuel,” he said.

XMOR buckets are made to face highly abrasive conditions.


The highly abrasive conditions the XMOR buckets face are made workable with replaceable wear parts.

The bucket can be maintained in the field, thanks to the mechanically connected heel segments and wing shrouds. This eliminates the need to weld, making the replacement of these parts faster and safer for maintenance teams.

“When it is due for maintenance it is going to be quite simple,” Afford said. “ONTRAC has already made sure we have the replacement plates in our hands and the repairs can be done onsite, due to the design of the XMOR.

“Plus, the way that the plates are built into the bucket itself mean that it’s not going to be out of action for long when the time comes that it does have to be maintained.”

The primary use for the XMOR bucket at Milbrae Quarries is in production digging – feeding crushers with blasted rock.

Operating primarily at the working face, Afford is confident that the strength of the XMOR bucket means it will stand the test of time.

“Everything the XMOR has moved to date has just been blasted rock,” Afford said, “which you can appreciate is not an easy material for any equipment to deal with.

“And it has done that with no issues, handling whatever we throw at it at the face of our operation with no issue.”

The XMOR bucket has exceeded expectations at Milbrae Quarries.

Qualities of the XMOR

Being built from high-strength steel and with a unique patented shape that enables the bucket to be lighter while also moving more material in a single pass, there are different variations of the bucket for different applications.

These differences are represented in the distinct BHB and BHC bucket types.

The XMOR BHB is the bucket more commonly used for bulk excavation, due to its superior volume versus weight ratio. The BHC bucket is designed for more aggressive applications and is fitted with a flat cutting edge and head beam, which helps with robustness in extreme applications.

Both buckets are made and designed with the Strenx® Performance steel and Hardox® Wear steel. 

“Unlike traditional buckets, we haven’t yet come across an issue of teeth coming loose and falling off, as they would previously,” Afford said.

“We’re saving time we would otherwise be losing and it’s these benefits of the XMOR which have really shone for us, in terms of performance and limiting the amount of unplanned downtime we experience.”

Connection within the industry

Milbrae Quarries has a long history as a family-owned business, with both a mining and quarry division in addition to a concrete creation business for local projects.

The company helps local council hard rock quarries extract and crush concrete aggregates, road base and ballast.

“We, as all quarries do, turn big rocks into little rocks,” Afford said. 

“But there is also a whole concrete division of Millbrae, with concrete plants around the Riverina.

“The relationship we’ve had with the ONTRAC team has been a really positive one, as they’ve always gone above and beyond for anything we’ve ever needed,” Afford said.

“It can be difficult working with manufacturers, especially if you are a remote operation, but with ONTRAC, it’s been easy to get on top of any issues that we’ve had.” •

To learn more, visit the ONTRAC Group website here.

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