With supporting local more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, two Queensland companies – Hall Contracting and Atlas Heavy Engineering – have recently banded together to build one of the toughest marine digging buckets in Australia.
Hall Contracting deckhand Graeme Higgins with rock bucket
The custom backhoe bucket has been purpose designed for excavating hard rock.
Cameron Hall, CEO of Sunshine Coast-based business Hall Contracting, said the company had been eager to engage a local supplier to undertake the specialised build rather than taking the project offshore.
Typically, buckets of this nature are made in Europe and Asia
“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 home also provided us with an element of control over the build. We were able to visit Atlas’ workshop in Narangba on a regular basis to view the progress and provide feedback, which was invaluable.”
Mr Hall said the 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 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.
“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. It is by far the strongest bucket we own and undoubtedly one of the more robust in Australia.”
Atlas Heavy Engineering Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Moir said 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.
“The build took approximately four months, with around seven team members contributing to the project.
“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.
“We were very appreciative of the opportunity to get involved in the build and encourage other Australian businesses to look to local suppliers in their industry too.”
The new backhoe bucket is now complete and ready for use in Gladstone.
To find out more about Hall Contracting, please visit www.hallcontracting.com.au.