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True workhorses of any concrete or aggregate operation, wheel loaders may log more productive time than any other equipment. Even so, the concrete producer can still improve the efficiency and operational cost-effectiveness of a loader. Bucket size is a key factor in loader efficiency and low-cost operation. A couple of bucket-sizing methods are available.Gary Bell, vice president and general manager at Kawasaki Loaders, mentions three bucket-sizing criteria. "The criteria are the capacity of the loading vessel, the operation's production capacity and the physical size of the vessel, which affects the dump height and width of the bucket," he says. Four steps are required in a mathematical bucket-sizing approach.

  • Determine required or desired production.
  • Determine loader cycle time and cycles per hour.
  • Calculate the required payload per cycle.
  • Determine the per-cycle cubic yardage, or bucket size, required.
Many construction equipment dealers have software that accounts for operational variables and expedites bucket-sizing calculations. Among other factors, these programs calculate cycle time and cost of material handled per ton.Optimal sizing of the wheel loader bucket not only minimizes cycle time, it can contribute to reduced repair costs.

Keywords: wheel, loader, bucket, size, corner bucket loading, cycle, Gallup Sand & Gravel, aggregate, capacity, fill factor, Production Estimating Program (PEP), Fleet Production & Cost Analysis, software, Caterpillar, Deere, Kawasaki, Hyundai, Kubota