Quarry sat down with Andrew Rankin, manager at Boral’s Wollert quarry, to learn how a new excavator bucket is boosting productivity.
Victoria’s Big Build shows no sign of stopping, leading to an ever-increasing need for stone, aggregate, and concrete.
Boral’s Wollert Quarry, located about 30km from Melbourne’s CBD, was looking for ways to improve its productivity to keep up with the demand.
Andrew Rankin, the quarry manager and Brendon McNeilly, the quarry supervisor were searching for something that could increase efficiency.
“We had a 65-tonne digger that we were using for loading a haul truck, but we needed to get more efficiency out of it,” Rankin told Quarry.
“The simple answer would be to get a bigger machine, but that didn’t stack up with the rest of the operation.”
The XMOR bucket, featuring a unique inverted tub and heel segment design, reduces the total number of passes required to fill a truck, while keeping a suspended load at manageable levels. This allows the buckets to excavate more material per bucket scoop, filling more trucks with fewer passes.
“The keel design – I really love that,” Rankin said. “Rather than have the surface contact across the whole base of the bucket, you have it in two areas.”
The wear is directed to the prominent sections of the bucket, so the bolt on heel segments can be replaced quickly and easily on site. These heel segments are, like the majority of the bucket, constructed from Hardox 500 Tuf – which wears 450 per cent better when compared to mild steel, and 47 per cent better than Hardox 450.
After installing the bucket, Wollert saw almost a 45 per cent increase in bucket capacity in cubic metres and a 40 per cent increase in tonnes per hour output.
This led to a 35 per cent increase in overall tonnage output per day, and a 25 per cent increase in truck loads out – with no extra costs to the operation.
Rankin said it would previously take about nine passes per truck. But the XMOR bucket allowed operators to reduce that number by 30 per cent.
“Our permanent operator, Anthony Atkinson, has been using the bucket and loves it. It’s cut down on the amount of passes he needs to do, meaning he can get more production with less effort,” Rankin said.
The XMOR bucket is made from high-performance steel, which decreases the overall weight and provides flexibility where needed.
Rankin said although the bucket is lighter, it can handle the intense wear conditions.
“We’ve been using it for a couple of hundred hours so far and it has handled the wear well,” he said.
Another feature that stood out to Rankin was the full parts list, which allows him to buy the wear parts he needs to minimise downtime. Better yet, the parts can be replaced without welding and can be done at the quarry.
Rankin said the buckets also have even wear, which is ideal for the operation.
“As soon as wear parts go on a bucket, they direct the stone in a certain way that wears certain areas faster than others, depending on the rock size. We haven’t seen that yet, which is a great thing,” he said.
“The lack of washing can be attributed to the curves in the bucket. They increase the structural capacity as well.
“Steel is expensive. Anything steel or that wears, is one of your costs for fixed plant maintenance. It’s important to reduce those costs as much as possible.”
ONTRAC is a specialised manufacturer of the excavator buckets and the exclusive distributor of XMOR’s proprietary buckets in Australia. It has spent the past year working with Wollert Quarry.
While excavator buckets represent just one part of the whole quarry operation, Rankin said the collaboration between the teams has led to significant productivity improvements.
“I’ve had interest from other quarry managers in Victoria and interstate. The bucket is suited for the bench and its all-around better productivity.
“What more can you really ask for?”
For more information visit ontracgroup.com.au