Selecting the right bucket teeth requires matching the tooth profile with the machine, adaptors and digging conditions before deciding on the solution that drives maximum return on investment (ROI).
Bucket teeth profiles that easily penetrate the ground and drive productivity will usually not last as long as general purpose or heavy-duty teeth. And penetration profiles are more likely to be lost, broken, worn and require replacing more often if used in the wrong digging conditions leading to machinery downtime and increased maintenance costs.
Balancing the sweet spot between productivity and maintenance by selecting the best bucket teeth for your unique situation should be the priority, and this guide is designed to help you achieve that.
Matching the Tooth Profile
Bucket teeth selection depends largely on the machine you are using and the material you are digging in – today, tomorrow and next month.
Bucket tooth attributes to consider include the size of the tooth, the tooth profile, its hardness rating, the adaptors they will be fitted to and the locking pin system in place.
Tooth Size and Breakout Force
Bucket teeth sizes need to be matched to the machine and bucket they are intended for. Generally, the bigger the machine, the bigger the bucket tooth system that will be required to meet the breakout force – which is the measurement of force going through the bucket. The bigger the breakout force, the bigger the tooth and adaptor that is required to handle those stresses.
However, bigger is not always best in bucket teeth. If a tooth is too big for the bucket it will struggle to penetrate and increase friction, resulting in poor digging, reduced productivity and increased breakout forces. And if your bucket tooth is too small, you will see increased tooth loss and tooth breakage.
What are the different types of bucket teeth?
Loader bucket teeth generally face greater wear on the underside of the teeth due to the way the loader operates in service.
Loader Abrasion Teeth: The most common bucket tooth used in loaders, loader abrasion teeth have extra material strategically positioned on the bottom of the tooth to deal with the increased abrasion they face.
General Purpose Loader Bucket Teeth: These teeth have a combination of features making them good all-rounders. They penetrate fairly well, are not too heavy and have decent abrasion resistance making them a popular choice.
There are a larger range of excavator teeth profiles available than loader teeth, to suit the more varied nature of the work they perform.
Excavator Abrasion Teeth: With extra wear material to accommodate extreme digging conditions, excavator abrasion teeth are designed specifically for digging into abrasive material such as sand, limestone, and possibly rock – although a short tooth may be better suited to rock to minimise breakages.
General Purpose Excavator Bucket Teeth: With a combination of features making them good all-rounders, these teeth penetrate well, are not too heavy and can tolerate abrasive conditions. If your digging conditions are changing often, this is the best tooth for you. However, if your digging conditions will remain static, a more specialised bucket tooth profile will be a better option.
Excavator Penetration Teeth: A longer, thinner style of bucket tooth that is excellent for digging into compacted dirt. Penetration teeth will also dig easily through rock and other abrasive material, however, are generally not recommended for this application as breakages will be common.
Excavator Chisel Teeth: Sitting between penetration and general purpose, chisel teeth are generally narrow at the tip to assist with penetration however have more material through the casting to increase their lifespan in tougher conditions.
Heavy Duty Excavator Teeth: Designed for hard digging, including into rock, heavy duty teeth have more wear material in the areas where you need it to keep you digging longer.
Twin Tiger Excavator Teeth: These two-pronged bucket teeth are good for penetration and popular for digging ditches and trenches. However, given the two-pronged profile, they are susceptible to breakages if they hit rock at the front.
CAT J-series Bucket Teeth Design: Designed originally in the 1980s the Caterpillar J-series bucket teeth design has stood the test of time and is Cutting Edges’ best-selling range of bucket teeth.
Bucket Teeth Hardness
The harder a bucket tooth, the better it will wear, however, this must be balanced against impact resistance as harder bucket teeth will be more brittle and susceptible to breaking.
Cutting Edges bucket teeth are designed, and have been proven over many years, to have the right balance of hardness versus impact strength to meet all digging conditions. However, tooth hardness can also be refined through the addition of hard-face tungsten long-life coatings (TLC) in specific patterns and areas to optimise the wear characteristics of teeth and prolong their service life.
Self-sharpening Bucket Teeth
Good quality bucket teeth should self-sharpen as they wear so their profile is retained. Cutting Edges Bucket Teeth are designed with scallops on the top or bottom so they do not wear back into a blunt, blocky tooth that doesn’t penetrate the dirt properly.
Locking Pin Reliability
Bucket teeth pin locking systems are responsible for holding bucket teeth in place on the adaptor. Using an unreliable pin system is a primary cause of bucket tooth loss and the consequences can be dire. A bucket tooth going through a plant can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
Ensure you use a reliable pin locking system that allows for quick changeouts, removals and fittings, but ensure you also balance that with reliability, cost and supply chain availability.
Recommended bucket teeth pin locking systems are Cutting Edges’ R-Lock system or the widely available and proven J-Series pin and retainer system.
Easily Identify Your Bucket Teeth
If you are unsure which bucket teeth you are currently using, simply click through and fill in the form on the following page and Cutting Edges will quickly identify them for you.Identify Your Bucket Teeth