Guide to ripper shanks and ripper boots (teeth and tips)

Rippers are commonly used at the rear of the bulldozer to break up the ground and allow it to be moved more easily by other machinery, or to loosen the ground to encourage agriculture to grow.

If you are digging into hard ground that is likely to damage your excavator or bucket, ripping and breaking up the ground prior to digging will greatly reduce the load and forces on that machine, and increase productivity.

However, ensuring you have the right ripping setup, components and parts profiles for your digging conditions is essential to leverage the productivity benefits this process offers.

Single-shank ripper vs multi-shank ripper

Ripper shanks are mounted to the dozer’s ripper frame and are adjustable to suit the depth of ripping required. Rippers can come as a single shank ripper (also known as a giant ripper), or as multi shank rippers in groups of two or more.

  • Single shank rippers are used primarily for deep ripping, or heavy ripping when the digging conditions are tougher and require greater breakout forces. This is because using a single shank will concentrate the machine’s maximum ripping force into a single focal point, delivering maximum penetration.
  • Multi-shank rippers are more commonly used in looser material or if a shallower ripping depth is required. They can also be used when a larger area is required to be ripped, when you are pre-ripping for other machines such as scrapers, or when ripping adjacent to highwalls where clearance is an issue.

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Ripper boots (tips and teeth):

Ripper boots – also known as ripper tips or ripper teeth – are vital components that are fitted to the ripper shank using a pin retention system and designed to penetrate the ground.

When matched to the operating and digging conditions, ripper boots will maximise the groundpenetrating performance of your machine, while also keeping the ripper shank protected from abrasion and impact.

Ripper boots are available in short, medium, or long lengths, most commonly in a symmetrical centreline design, or in a penetration style for more aggressive ripping.

  • Short tips are designed for use in extreme digging condition and sacrifice some wear material for strength.
  • Intermediate tips are a good general purpose ripper boots used in more moderate impact and abrasion conditions.
  • Long tips are best suited to low impact but abrasive conditions. They offer more wear material and represent the best value for money when the potential for breakage is lower.

The importance of correct ripper boot selection

Selecting the correct ripper boot has a major flow-on effect to the performance of your entire machine, as well as the productivity of your operation and output.

If you are using the wrong ripper boot for the application or digging conditions, you face reduced material penetration, ripper tip and shank breakage, and damage to the ripper frame including pins and bushes.

Increased resistance will also significantly affect areas such as fuel consumption and increase the wear on the drivetrain and track components.

This premature wear and associated breakages will result in downtime spent replacing parts outside of regular service windows, which can cost hundreds of dollars per hour.

In fact, the cost of replacement parts and components is often minimal in comparison to the cost of scheduling time and resources for fitters to perform the extra work, in conjunction with production downtime of the machine and other dependent equipment.

And, if your parts are breaking, supply chains and logistics can also be impacted if you are required to carry extra stock of replacement parts to support operations.

Common Causes for Ripper Shank or Ripper Boot Breakage:

If your ripper boots are breaking, there can be a few common causes.

  • The boot tip or tooth you are using might be too long if you are operating in hard digging conditions.
  • Wear or movement between the shank nose and the tip. If a new boot is physically loose after being fitted, this is an indication that the shank nose is worn and will need replacement. Excessive movement in this area can cause accelerated wear or possible breakage of both the nose and boot.
  • The operation angle of the shank and ripper boot tip can also affect the potential for shank or boot damage.

Multi Shank Ripper

Ideal Operation Angles:

The angle and position of the shank and boot during ripping is extremely important to achieve the best results and minimal breakages.

Generally, the ripper boot should be just below the heel of the shank to achieve maximum effectiveness and reduce the profile of the boot as it is pulled through the material.

For initial penetration, it is generally best to start with the shank angled back past the vertical position, but this is also dependent on the style of boot being used.

If the shank is angled too far forward this can expose a greater surface area of the boot to the material and creates a greater potential for breakage by dragging the boot through the material rather than penetrating with the leading edge of the boot.

In contrast, operating with the shank angled too far back can cause loss of penetration and premature wear of the shank heel behind the nose area.

Ripper shanks can also be affected by operational factors such as turning or sideloading the shank while ripping, or using a badly worn shank.

When to replace ripper boots:

Ripper boots will need replacing when they are visually blunt or showing signs of mushrooming, Visual inspection of all wear parts should be conducted by the machine operator prior to operation, in addition to existing set inspection and maintenance cycles.

Consider also that centreline tips are self-sharpening and extra wear life can be gained by rotating the ripper tips periodically between different shanks or machines.

Cutting Edges Ripper Parts

Cutting Edges offers an extensive range of ripper parts, boots, tips, teeth and components for all makes and models of dozers, graders, loaders and excavators, including Caterpillar, Komatsu, other brands, as well as custom orders.

Ripping attachments are cast from alloy steels specifically designed to meet the toughest operating conditions to maximise impact and wear resistance while specialised heat treatment ensures uniform through-hardness to deliver excellent strength, wear protection and maximum service life.