Stockton, CA – By the time his customer signed off on their new 20-yard clamshell, Brandon Baumann was pretty pleased with the end results. Pleased enough, in fact, that he ordered another bucket just like it for his own operation at Stevedoring Services of America (SSA-Pacific).
Baumann had coordinated the design and purchase of the first bucket from Mack Manufacturing on behalf of Yara Fertilizer’s Stockton Gateway Terminal. The Yara terminal is co-located at the SSA loading facility, where Baumann and his team provide the fertilizer company’s stevedoring services.
“Yara receives a wide range of agricultural products at this dock,” Baumann explains. “They wanted a new bucket that would adapt to the different loads, moving maximum weights of materials with very different densities. That’s the challenge we presented to Mack.”
One bucket, multiple sizes
Mack responded with a remote-controlled, diesel powered bucket with spill plates to provide optional capacities at 20 yards, 18 yards and 16 yards. The size was a good match to the facility’s 30-ton crane, and its weight would be enough to dig well into denser materials to grab a full load.
But Baumann asked Mack to go back to the drawing board. “For Yara’s heaviest materials, such as urea, the optimum size would really be in the 9.5-yard range. So we asked Mack to take another look.”
Matt Davidson, VP of Sales at Mack, took the problem to his General Manager, Nevin McElderry. As a third-generation owner of the family-run business, McElderry has a lifetime of experience solving problems for crane attachments. Working with his engineering team he was able to bring back the solution needed.
Building a better bucket
According to Davidson, “the challenge for us was to maintain the structural integrity of the bucket, while still being able to open up the structure to offer a wide range of capacities. We also had to account for the variable heaping characteristics of that range of materials, and the different operating modes of the cranes.”
Mack met Baumann’s targets through the use of circular openings of the spill plates, instead of longitudinal openings that run the width of the bucket. This approach preserved enough metal throughout the structure to maintain the integrity of the bucket in any configuration. “The change in the weight with or without the spill plates is minimal,” says Davidson. “So the bucket still has enough mass to dig into the load. Moving urea really needs that impact – especially if the load’s been wet and gets hardened in the hold.”
The range of material that Baumann handles with SSA’s bucket is even greater. From one ship to the next, bulk loads can range from rice and corn to garnet sand. The versatility built into the bucket would also be ideal matching SSA’s crane to the material of the day. With the arrival of the second bucket, identical to the first, Baumann looks forward to years of highly productive service.
“I took the order to Mack in the first place because I know their bucket will hold up better, with less maintenance.” With 16 years of port experience behind him, Baumann, Assistant Plant Manager, says he’s seen most bucket brands in service.
SSA’s Stockton facility also has a 22-yard single-line Mack bucket in its equipment fleet. Baumann prefers the diesel models for their longer times between service intervals. The facility operates two shifts per day and, with the remote-operated diesel bucket, the 20-yard bucket bypasses the routine wire replacements required by the single line model.
“I’ve learned to rely on Mack. I’ve been using them for years. They’re the most dependable make in the industry. We even have a smaller Mack bucket here, 9 yards, that’s been in service for 30 years now, and it’s still operational.”
About Mack Manufacturing
Mack Manufacturing is a global leader in industrial material handling attachments, specializing in heavy-duty hydraulic grapples and buckets for overhead cranes and mobile equipment. Established in 1942, Mack continues to operate as a family-owned business committed to the development of highly-skilled welders, fabricators and support staff. Mack’s head office facility in Theodore, Alabama, is fully equipped to complete every step of attachment manufacturing and remanufacturing tasks under one roof, from engineering to precision machining to final finish.
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