One Bucket and Lip Combo to Rule Them All

CR is pleased to announce the results of a collaborative development with Jaws of a new bucket, lip, and GET combination for 800 tonne excavators at Maules Creek that has resulted in a 2.6% increase in bucket payload.

CR is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to innovate with the world’s best miners and suppliers to find the next breakthrough in mining productivity and they believe they’ve found it.

Working with the world-renowned design, engineering, and fabrication company Jaws, CR was able to integrate their expertise to find a solution for a NSW coal mine, Whitehaven Coal at Maules Creek.

Whitehaven Coal found the excavator bucket for their 800-tonne class machines was not achieving optimum productivity results. After careful, in-depth analysis of the bucket, lip, and GET performance using CR’s Titan 3330 payload management system, CR was able to collect performance data and work with Jaws to design a bucket, lip, and GET combination that would offer an improved bucket payload of up to 2.6%.

CR’s newly designed SR7046 Stingray cast lip is part of their famous, high-production suite of cast lips compatible with 500-1000 tonne excavator machines. Stingray cast lips are designed to deliver a smoother material entrance and better penetration for an optimum payload which greatly contributes to the uplift in productivity.

This project has resulted in a new bucket and lip standard for 800-tonne class machines across the globe.

General Manager of Maules Creek Mine, Jorge Moraga, explains the challenge they faced, “Our problem was we have a low fill factor, and for that reason we are doing more than four passes to load an ultra-class truck.”

CR was among multiple OEMs who were approached with the challenge, but only CR and Jaws were willing to work closely with Whitehaven Coal, Maules Creek Mine to find a collaborative solution.

After careful review, CR found that there weren’t any existing products that would fix the problem. CR’s GM of Product Management, Quintin Nienaber, explained that “the current lips in the market and the current buckets in the market don’t allow for that optimisation to happen. So, we worked with Jaws to come up with a scale testing protocol using three or four different bucket sizes combined with the equivalent lips.”

CR used scale testing to simulate scaled-down, real-world scenarios validating and testing designs in a way that’s time and cost-efficient. CR can get results quickly and confidently without putting mine site operations at risk.

The results clearly identified the optimum bucket design and lip design to suit this particular application with the hope of mirroring the results in the field.

CR and Jaws’s hopes were realized when the new bucket and lip combination was applied to Maules Creek Mine’s EX8000 backhoe excavator, immediately boosted productivity just by switching the buckets.

Not only did the bucket and lip combo deliver increased payload as intended, but another surprising outcome produced added benefits for the NSW coal miner.

“The interesting part about this particular comparison of the old bucket vs the new was that the fill energy for the new lip actually reduced by 14% per tonne,” says David Polkinghorne, CR’s Mining Analytics Manager.

Mark Irwin, Maules Creek Mines Maintenance Manager, agrees and says that when we minimize the energy during bucket fills, “…the maintenance in the bucket is the same but where we will see a benefit is most definitely in the fatigue up through the front of the machine.”

Maules Creek has been so pleased with the outcome that they have now fitted the new bucket and lip combination across the rest of their full EX8000 fleet.

CR, Jaws, and Whitehaven Coal, Maules Creek Mine will continue to monitor bucket and lip performance across all machines, discovering new benefits. For instance, calculating emission reductions as a result of the reduced fill energy and more sustainable design.

Working collaboratively – with CR as the GET specialist, Jaws as the bucket specialist, and Maules Creek Mine as the mining specialists – a new industry standard bucket and lip design has been achieved, forever changing the landscape of 800-tonne excavator machine productivity, now and into the future.