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How to Prolong the Service Life of an Excavator Skeleton Bucket


Excavator Skeleton Bucket
How to Prolong the Service Life of an Excavator Skeleton Bucket 7

Excavator skeleton buckets, sometimes referred to as skeleton buckets or skelly buckets, are heavy-duty attachments used with excavators for handling loose materials. Made of hardened steel, these buckets are extremely durable and ideal for mining, quarrying, construction sites, landscaping, waste management, forestry, and more.

To get the most value out of your investment in an excavator skeleton bucket, following proper care and maintenance procedures is crucial. This article outlines key tips and best practices that can significantly prolong the service life of your skeleton bucket.

Regular Inspections and Preventative Maintenance

Carrying out thorough inspections and routine preventative maintenance is essential for maximizing skeleton bucket longevity. Experts recommend full inspections at least every 100 hours of operation. Check for signs of wear, cracks, or damage. Address any issues promptly to avoid bigger problems down the road.

In particular, watch for wear around the digging edge, sides, bottom, pins, and other high-stress areas. Replace teeth and other components as needed before extensive wear can spread to the main bucket structure. Lubricate fittings and pins regularly per the manufacturer’s specifications. Proper, proactive maintenance makes a big difference.

Proper Operation Techniques

How you operate an excavator skeleton bucket also affects its lifespan. Following these operation best practices can prevent unnecessary stress and damage:

  • Avoid overloading beyond the rated capacity
  • Use smooth, controlled bucket movements rather than jerky motions
  • Limit shock loading by not slamming or dropping the loaded bucket
  • Choose the right bucket for the material to avoid slipping and abrasion
  • Use extreme care around potentially hazardous materials like rebar
  • Allow seasoned operators to use the skeleton bucket whenever possible

Taking the time to operate the bucket correctly protects your investment and avoids early replacement.

Proper Operation TechniqueDescription
Avoid overloading beyond the rated capacityExceeding the skeleton bucket’s rated capacity places excessive strain on the materials leading to accelerated wear and structural issues.
Use smooth, controlled bucket movementsJerky, sudden bucket movements during operation introduce unnecessary forces and fatigue on bucket components. Smooth operation promotes longevity.
Limit shock loadingDropping or slamming the loaded bucket transfers destructive energy into the bucket structure. Carefully place each load to prevent shock loads.
Choose the right bucket for the materialUsing too large or small of a bucket leads to slipping, loss of control, and excess abrasion during handling. Select optimal sizing.
Use extreme care around hazardsExercising additional caution around potential hazards like rebar prevents costly damage if contacting the bucket.
Allow experienced operatorsWhenever possible, allow only properly trained and experienced excavator operators to handle your valuable skeleton bucket asset to prevent misuse.

Descaling and Surface Care

Over time, excavator skeleton buckets exposed to certain environmental conditions and abrasive materials may develop rust, scale, or surface buildup. Allowing significant rust or scale to accumulate damages the finish and steel underneath over the long run.

Experts recommend descaling or refinishing the bucket periodically to protect the base material. Media blasting and chemical cleaners both work well for removing scale, rust, old paint and coatings to reveal the fresh steel below.

Properly preparing the surface and applying quality industrial coatings helps control corrosion as well. Regular descaling and refinishing maintains bucket integrity.

Proper Storage and Handling

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How to Prolong the Service Life of an Excavator Skeleton Bucket 8

How you handle and store an excavator skeleton bucket also plays a key role in prolonging its usable life. When not in use:

  • Store the bucket with the teeth off the ground using blocking or stands
  • Avoid letting it sit outside long-term if possible
  • Wash off any concrete, dirt, or debris before extended storage
  • Lubricate and grease fittings and pins
  • Inspect closely and perform any needed repairs

Carefully lifting and rigging the bucket with properly rated slings, shackles, and equipment avoids damage from shifting loads or drops. Don’t lift loads in the bucket itself. Proper techniques preserve the bucket’s structure.

Conclusion: Excavator Skeleton Bucket

While excavator skeleton buckets are extremely rugged by design, following unreliable practices shortens useful life considerably. By conducting thorough inspections, staying on top of preventative maintenance, operating skillfully, controlling corrosion and buildup, and properly handling the equipment, you can keep your bucket in service much longer.

The relatively small investments of time and effort in proper care pay off exponentially with years of prolonged productivity. Safeguard bucket longevity through conscientious maintenance and operation.


Q: How often should you inspect an excavator skeleton bucket?

A: Experts recommend a full inspection every 100 hours of operation to check for wear, cracks, and other damage. Address any issues promptly.

Q: What are signs that the excavator teeth need to be replaced?

A: Teeth need replacement when the wear extends over halfway up the tooth, the tooth loosens significantly in the adapter, or cracks or breaks are visible.

Q: Can you extend bucket life by adding wear plates?

A: Yes, welded wear plates along the bottom and sides protect the bucket in high abrasion areas. They wear down instead of the bucket floor and sides.

Q: What type of coating works best for refinishing excavator buckets?

A: Abrasion-resistant epoxy or urethane coatings provide excellent corrosion control and stand up well to material impacts over time.

Q: Does bucket capacity affect excavator skeleton bucket lifespan?

A: Yes, consistently overloading beyond the rated capacity strains the materials and structure leading to quicker fatigue and decreased service life.

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Shandong Qilu Industrial Co., Ltd. is a professional manufacturer and exporter integrating the development and production of excavators, loaders and tractors. We provide the best service, absolutely.

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