Review: Attach2 Elite tilt excavator bucket
New Zealand-based Attach2 manufactures and supplies a large range of attachments for the earthmoving industry. TIM DITTMER takes a look at its latest Elite tilt bucket, paired with a Dromone hydraulic quick-coupler.
ATTACH2'S Elite tilt bucket range features a twin ram design that gives 45 degrees of angle in both directions. The unique positioning of these rams provides good holding power allowing the excavator to lift the front of the machine off the ground with the tilted bucket.
The rams are mounted in close to the bucket ears, with the spheres sloping in under the hitch plate. This gives great visibility behind the bucket and, more importantly, provides excellent protection for the rams.
Traditional tilt bucket designs have one or two rams mounted horizontally across the top of the bucket. The cylinders on these are more prone to damage as unobservant operators don’t notice soil or rocks building up under the rams, which results in bent spheres.
This type of positioning also gives little protection to the rams and hoses, therefore extra guards are needed which add to the weight of the bucket.
Full displacement cylinders are used on the Elite tilt buckets. There are two main benefits with these types of rams:
First, because they are single-acting and oppose each other to tilt the bucket, there is always positive pressure holding the bucket firmly in position.
When wear eventually occurs in the pins and bushes/spherical bearings, thanks to the positive pressure system the bucket remains tightly held without chattering or backlash.
Second, the simple construction of displacement cylinders means there are no piston, piston seals or end caps. It is literally just a steel cylinder with seals in one end and a chrome sphere slid in.
Thanks to this clever basic design, replacing seals is a fast and easy job. Should some clown manage to destroy one, the ram replacement costs won’t make your eyes water.
All pivot points feature greasable spherical bearings for a longer lifespan, and maintenance is reduced due to the geometry of the tilt rams. The top ram mounts are Teflon-type plastic blocks that do not require greasing.
The bucket is constructed using Bizalloy 400 grade steel in crucial areas, including the cutting edge and side cutters, wear strips and the bucket skin. These provide exceptional strength and wear resistance giving a longer lasting bucket. There is an option of having only one rib or no ribs fitted depending on application and operator preference.
The sides of the bucket are tapered ensuring the back corners don’t interfere with the ground when digging water tables, batters and the like.
When disconnected from the machine the Elite tilt bucket sits flat on the ground without the urge to roll back dangerously.
On this test we paired the Attach2 Elite tilt bucket with a Dromone hydraulic quick-coupler, part of a range manufactured to high standards in Ireland.
These hitches focus heavily on safety and have features that meet and exceed all current industry standards.
Depending on the size of the excavator they’re paired with the hitches have either a fabricated or cast main body, but all feature the same safety locking mechanisms.
This consists of a spring loaded front latch that automatically locks the attachment pin in position as soon as it is engaged, so operators who like to pick and place buckets without fitting them properly won’t be able to accidently drop them.
Once the first pin has been engaged, a ram with a hydraulic burst valve slides back a jaw, locking the second pin in position. Finally, a second small ram hydraulically locks this pin to the jaw.
To unlock the attachment, the excavator is simply positioned with the arm pulled in and hitch crowded around, so that the attachment pins are almost horizontal. This allows gravity to do its part and engage the arm that activates the first lock.
The operator then just has to push the power button on the in-cab controller followed by the confirm button. They then pressure the hydraulics and crowd the hitch out of the attachment.
The bottom line
I had the opportunity to test out both the Elite tilt bucket and Dromone hydraulic hitch fitted to two brand-new Kobelcos — an SK210 and an SK135 — at Attach2’s complex at Masterton in New Zealand’s Wellington region.
I was impressed by the Elite tilt buckets. They had great holding and tilting power, with the geometry of the bucket allowing a heaped load of soil to be held at full reach as well as at a high load-out height.
They are very well designed, particularly in the tilt department, and are constructed from quality high-grade steel.
I think the way the tilt rams are mounted is an excellent concept, and stands out compared to other tilt buckets on the market. The Elite range certainly has a lot to offer and should definitely be considered.
The Dromone multi-lock coupler, on the other hand, is ideal for the safety conscious customer who needs to comply with ever-increasing requirements.
Its low height delivers high breakout force to the bucket tip, and its double locks means that there is no way an attachment will drop off. It requires only the two hydraulic hoses that most excavators come with so it is easy to fit. Both bucket and hitch have lifting eyes fitted with the SWL stamped on them.
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