Tough tool meets challenge of hitting rock bottom
The custom backhoe bucket weighs in at 17 tonnes and has been purpose designed for excavating hard rock.
Hall Contracting chief executive officer Cameron Hall said it had been manufactured for use on Hall’s 65m-long backhoe dredge, Woomera, which is currently tasked with widening the Clinton Channel at Port of Gladstone.
“It’s possible we may encounter hard rock while undertaking these works, so the new bucket ensures we’re well-equipped to manage this material if required,” he said.
“What sets the bucket apart is not so much its size, but its strength.
“Most buckets used in the civil and mining sectors would be unable to withstand the extreme forces this one will be subjected to. It is by far the strongest bucket we own and undoubtedly one of the more robust in Australia.”
Mr Hall said the company had been eager to engage an Australian supplier to undertake the specialised build rather than taking the project offshore.
“Typically, buckets of this nature are made in Europe and Asia, but we really pushed for it to be made here in Queensland for a range of different reasons,” Mr Hall said.
“First and foremost, we wanted to support a local business, and we trusted that the product would be produced to high quality standards.
“Having the bucket manufactured so close to our headquarters in Queensland also provided us with an element of control over the build. We were able to visit Atlas’ workshop (at Narangba on Brisbane’s north) on regular basis to view the progress and provide feedback, which was invaluable.
Atlas Heavy Engineering sales and marketing manager Andrew Moir said the Atlas team had jumped at the opportunity to put their skills to the test on the project.
“We’d manufactured countless excavator and loader buckets previously but had never produced a dredge bucket or any that could withstand such extreme force, so we relished the challenge,” Mr Moir said.
“The build took approximately four months, with around seven team members contributing to the project.”