New custom bucket for backhoe dredge Woomera

Two Australian companies – Hall Contracting and Atlas Heavy Engineering – have recently banded together to build one of the toughest marine digging buckets in the country.

The custom backhoe bucket has been purpose designed for excavating hard rock.

Hall Contracting CEO Cameron Hall said that the company had been eager to engage an Australian supplier to undertake the specialised build rather than taking the project offshore.

“Typically, buckets of this nature are made in Europe and Asia, but we really pushed for it to be made here in Queensland for a range of different reasons,” Mr Hall said.

“First and foremost, we wanted to support a local business, and we trusted that the product would be produced to high quality standards. Having the bucket manufactured so close to our headquarters in Queensland also provided us with an element of control over the build,” Mr Hall added.

The new bucket – weighing in at a whopping 17 tonnes and measuring seven cubic metres in size – had been designed for use on Hall’s 65-metre-long backhoe dredge, Woomera, which is currently tasked with widening the Clinton Channel in Gladstone, Australia as part of the Clinton Vessel Interaction project.

“It’s possible we may encounter hard rock while undertaking these works, so the new bucket ensures we’re well-equipped to manage this material if required,” Mr Hall said.

According to Mr Hall, what sets the bucket apart is not so much its size, but its strength. Most buckets used in the civil and mining sectors would be unable to withstand the extreme forces this one will be subjected to.

Hall Contracting photo

Atlas Heavy Engineering Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Moir said that the Atlas team had jumped at the opportunity to put their skills to the test on the project.

“We’d manufactured countless excavator and loader buckets previously but had never produced a dredge bucket or any that could withstand such extreme force, so we relished the challenge,” Mr Moir said.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has shown many Australian businesses are heavily reliant on China and other countries for manufacturing, I think this project highlights that we do have the capability within Australia to take on a wide range of manufacturing projects.”

The new backhoe bucket is now complete and ready for use in Gladstone.

Photo: Hall Contracting

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