Bucket Ground Engaging Tools: Selection, Changeouts, and Maintenance

Bucket ground engaging tools (GET) have a significant impact on equipment longevity, productivity, fuel consumption, and maintenance costs, which makes choosing the right GET and properly maintaining them two of the most important machine-related decisions owners and operators face.

While bucket GET include base edges, adapters, edges, and sidebars, tips are among the most popular and frequently used and changed. They’re examined in more detail below.

Tip Selection

Choosing the right tip begins with first evaluating what type of work the bucket will be performing, and then selecting the tip best-suited for that job. For example, the tip types listed below range from maximum penetration to maximum wear resistance.

  • Double Spike – used in corner positions for hard-to-penetrate, fracturable materials
  • Spike – used in cohesive materials, remain sharp throughout tip life, achieve maximum penetration
  • Penetration – ideal for densely compacted material, maximum penetration, center rib self-sharpens as it wears
  • Penetration Plus – feature 25 percent more wear material and self-sharpen as they wear
  • Wide – used to maintain smooth trench floors and in low-abrasion, easy-to-penetrate materials
  • General Purpose Excavator – symmetrical, and the baseline for other tip styles, including wear comparisons
  • Heavy Duty – 60 percent more wear material in the tip body

Tip Changeouts

Switching tips is easier, safer, and faster now with Cat’s Advansys™ tip and adapter system. The system improves jobsite safety with easier tip removal and installation by using an innovative retainer lock that requires no hammering or special tools. Simply make a 180-degree turn of the retainer that’s built into the tip to lock or unlock it.

The system also features 13 different tip shapes for multiple applications – including an extreme abrasion rock tip designed to be used in the most aggressive quarry applications –  while delivering longer tip life and better penetration for optimum fuel efficiency.

Using the Advansys system, changing teeth is much faster, easier, and safer, and tips can last approximately 25 percent longer for some users, saving money in the long run.

Preventive Maintenance

Establishing and following a GET preventive maintenance plan can help reduce unplanned downtime due to machine failure. Regularly scheduled GET maintenance begins with inspecting the tools, looking specifically for the following conditions:

  • Base edge cracks  – look for damage on the top and bottom of the rear weld
  • Excessive bucket tip wear – replace the tip if worn through on the bottom, or cracked in the pocket area
  • Damaged or missing retainer pins – tap pin lightly, and if it moves easily, replace the retainer
  • Bucket tip adapter damage – replace bottom straps that have worn into the bottom cavity
  • Loose, damaged, or missing retainer bolts

Next Steps

Carter Machinery can help you choose the right tips that are best-suited for specific jobsite conditions, and at the same time help keep your GET and attachments in optimal working condition. Contact your nearest location or sales representative today to find out how we help you get to work.