• Short case studies of solutions delivered across a range of industries


Reclaimer Wheel Buckets





Bucket wheel reclaimers used in stockyards of large iron ore mines are essential for transporting ore from stockyards to the silos, before being loaded onto conveyor belts. They are vital in keeping downstream operations running through a constant supply of material. Due to their design and operating conditions, the reclaimer buckets are subject to extreme wear conditions, including moderate impact and intense mineral abrasion on a daily basis.
For over 30 years, our technical experts have delivered engineered wear protection to the mining industry through a footprint reaching every major mining region globally.

When Welding Alloys South Africa was approached by a prospective mining customer experiencing significant bucket wear on their reclaimers, they told us they were in the process of inviting proposals from a number of potential suppliers to undertake the work.


For the initial meeting, the customer included a number of their company experts, including production, maintenance, and procurement and provided valuable input to our team right from the start. It was clear that the customer required a long-term solution to reduce the very high cost of maintaining the bucket wheel reclaimers and that the service lifetime of the buckets was simply not meeting expectations due to the inevitable effects of excessive wear.  Upon initial inspection, our technical team conducted a detailed investigation of the buckets, the surrounding areas, and the general working environment and spent significant time on-site for purposes of observation and data gathering.

Once analysis of the data and findings had been completed, the local Integra team reviewed details of similar projects undertaken elsewhere in the world. The focus then shifted towards finding a solution that would best address the unique challenges faced by the customer. Our experienced technical wear specialists approach every new project as unique and work closely with customers through every phase to find and deliver optimal solutions.

Customer records showed that the buckets underwent significant and costly maintenance every couple of months to repair damage caused by mineral abrasion. Additionally, the need for frequent maintenance resulted in regular interruptions to operations, thereby diminishing plant productivity and increasing the total cost of ownership.

Welding Alloys South Africa’s technical experts moved swiftly in identifying two viable solutions aimed at improving productivity and decreasing the risk of downtime and associated maintenance cost. The options were discussed with the customer in detail and after further consultation, our preferred solution was accepted, and we were awarded the contract.


Excessive maintenance costs due to repairing of the bucket wheel reclaimers


Tailored bucket liners fabricated using Welding Alloys composite wear plates


Increased lifetime by 400% and drastic reduction in total cost of ownership

The proposal specified repairing the buckets with Hardplate, one of our market leading composite wear plates to improve the bucket’s resistance to wear and increase its service lifetime significantly. The chromium carbide-based product offers a hardness of between HRC 60 – 64 and is designed to withstand moderate impact, intense abrasion, and fair corrosion resistance. Our Integra Services team took full advantage of the versatility offered by Hardplate by cutting and welding it to create liners for the buckets, in order to improve wear resistance to mineral abrasion and impact.

Upon delivery and installation of the tailored bucket liners, the customer noted that the quality and overall impression of the bucket liners exceeded expectations. The real test of the bucket liners’ quality could, however, only be determined much later. Two months on, in our follow-up visit, the customer was extremely satisfied with the liners’ performance. Not only have they already outlived the lifespan of the previous buckets but after two months of being fully operational, they showed very little evidence of wear.

Based on the performance of the initial items, the customer decided to order and hold stock of the Welding Alloys bucket liners produced from our Hardplate to reduce lead times. Only after 10 months of daily use did the bucket liners require replacement, thereby increasing the lifetime by 400% and, in turn, drastically reducing the maintenance, downtime, and total cost of ownership.

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