A new upgrade to the ground engaging tools (GET) for underground loaders from Atlas Copco has been scooping up praise in Sweden following a recent field test. The GET bucket was tested for a period of 18 months at the Lovisa mine, a zinc and lead operation in the mineral-rich Bergslagen region. Johannes Turesson, product manager-parts and kits, Atlas Copco, explains that it was the ideal testing ground due to the narrow 3.5-m-wide drifts and steep, winding ramps with tight cornering.

The big advantage of GET is that removable wear parts bolted onto the lip of the bucket can be easily replaced when worn. “During the trial we confirmed all of our objectives with this new GET system,” Turesson said. “These include improved penetration of the muck pile, extended service life, easy maintenance, reduced downtime and total cost of ownership.” Loader buckets must be able to withstand heavy punishment during mucking out operations. Following extensive research, an upgraded, more robust steel composition has resulted in reduced wear and tear and 30–40% longer service life. The wear pattern is also more even than before.

“The edges wore down faster on our previous bucket and the action slowed down at the muck pile. The new GET system, to our surprise, showed hardly any wear and tear at all after six months. It has lasted much longer,” said Peter Johansson, Scooptram operator, Lovisa mine.

When servicing the new GET system, replacing parts, such as corner shrouds, can now be done in a fraction of the time compared with the welded wear parts of conventional buckets. Reduced downtime and cost saving were also achieved during the test.

“Maintenance is now a question of hours instead of days. We can change side cutters on the bucket and get the loader back up and running in less than an hour. This is a big relief,” says Lovisa mine operator Stefan Nordqvist, who has more than 20 years of loading experience.

GET gives better penetration meaning that less force is needed when attacking the muck pile. This cuts energy consumption, reduces wear on tires and improves the working environment. The GET bucket can be matched with Scooptram ST7 and Scooptram ST1030 loaders and will be successively available to all Scooptram models during 2016.