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The real cost of cheap ground engaging tools

Do you know what your ground engaging tools cost? If your answer is the same as the purchase price, then you probably don’t, writes Keech Australia territory and export manager MARK ADAMS

Accepting the cheapest price for a critical operational consumable is a false economy. The total cost per machine hour is a much more relevant benchmark – and initial cost is just one part of that figure.

Lowest ‘real’ cost is highest value

The strength of wear parts and ground engaging tools is directly related to the component’s useful life – and, in the big picture, to the value you get from your high-investment equipment. So how do you choose components that deliver the best value?

    • Understand your business needs and your site conditions. You can’t get value if you choose the wrong product.
    • Good design and high manufacturing standards minimise the chances of failure and costly unscheduled maintenance on a key production machine. Choose products from an ISO9001 accredited manufacturer.
    • Look for products that can be used with electronic GET tracking software. Tracking is a critical part of whole of life management. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
    • Choose a manufacturer that has a big-picture approach to product development that starts with field research then goes through a rigorous process of conception, design, testing, manufacture, implementation, performance tracking and evaluation.
    • Regular inspections are the key to whole-of-life management. Don’t be tempted to ‘set and forget’.
    • Proper procedures make changeovers more efficient, reducing production loss to downtime.


Getting the procedures right

Problems in the field can often be traced to the use of incorrect procedures or tools. You need to be sure you’re accurately measuring wear, changing teeth properly — including correct installation —and actively managing your wear parts program.

A quality supplier will be able to offer expert advice and clear product instruction and will have staff available to work through any issues.

      • Choose ground engaging tools that come supplied with fitting instructions, a support manual and data sheets.
      • Data sheets should include field instructions for using the gauges to measure wear, and determining when to replace ground engaging tools.

The aim is to maximise the life of your ground engaging tools without adversely affecting performance and fuel consumption, causing wear to other parts or risking failure. In some applications, high quality ground engaging tools can be designed to have up to 65 percent of their mass lost in wear before replacement.

Keech Australia has been designing and manufacturing high integrity steel castings, ground engaging tools, wear parts and mining buckets for 80 years. For more information visit


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