Many jobs across construction, mining, roadwork and agriculture call for tools that pierce through the ground. These tools make many types of work possible, from tearing out frozen ground to moving loads around. Of course, these tools need to be built for that environment, with long-lasting characteristics and productivity-boosting designs. That’s where ground engaging tools excel. They’re built tough, with the right design for the work at hand and the necessary protections for components that face excessive wear.
Let’s dig a little deeper into ground engaging tools and what they mean for heavy equipment users.
What Are Ground Engaging Tools?
Ground engaging tools, also called GET, are the metal components that come in contact with the ground during equipment use. They often require extremely wear-resistant materials that add extensive durability due to the nature of the tools. After all, you don’t want to be replacing tools every week in a high-productivity environment.
GET includes many large machines, along with attachments that can be linked up with excavators, loaders, dozers, graders, and more. These tools include protective edges for existing components and penetrating equipment to dig into the ground. They come in a variety of styles to meet the needs of different materials and environments, whether you’re working with soil, limestone, rocks, ice or something else.
Types of Ground Engaging Tools
Many types of ground engaging tools are available to fit the needs of various projects. The majority of GET are used on excavators and wheel loaders. Some examples include:
- Blades and buckets: For pushing and shaping earth across the worksite, dozer blades provide long-lasting performance in a variety of styles. Excavator and loader buckets are also a key part of digging through the ground. They can be combined with cutting edges to improve durability.
- Tips and adapters: Tips and adapters can take on high-production environments with minimal installation time. They’re great for loaders and excavators and come in a wide range of styles such as heavy abrasion, heavy penetration and spikes.
- Ripper systems and protectors: Ripper shanks are used in some of the toughest worksites and need to achieve fast penetration and strong impact resistance. Hammerless designs enable easy removal and installation. This component comes in an array of configurations and sizes to suit various jobs. You can also add on a ripper shank protector to lower the ripping effort and reduce wear.
- Sidecutters: Improve the penetration capabilities of a bucket with sidecutters, which attach to the sides of the bucket and boost its performance while adding protection.
- Cutting edges and end bits: These components can protect the buckets and blades of your dozers, loaders, excavators and motor graders from damage while they’re dealing with dirt and debris day in and day out. They allow you to better match your cutting edge wear rate to your work for longer maintenance intervals and lower operating costs. Common environments that call for cutting edges and end bits include those with sand, gravel and other abrasive material.
Why Are Ground Engaging Tools Important?
Ground engaging tools are the point of contact between your heavy equipment and the materials you’re trying to move. Those materials are often rough, abrasive or hard to penetrate. The tools you use to tackle them need to be up for the challenge — which means they require a high degree of abrasion resistance, corrosion resistance and penetrating power, as well as a build that resists wear and tear.
Without these critical characteristics, equipment will break down, slow down your work rate and cost you in the long run. If your GET isn’t built for the job, it will require more frequent maintenance and replacements. It may also increase your operating costs through the purchase prices of new components and the reduced productivity of worn-out tools. Many types of GET allow for low-cost protection that minimizes these effects and can improve the cost-effectiveness of your entire operation.
What Are My Options for Obtaining Ground Engaging Tools?
While there are, of course, many equipment manufacturers, there are only a few that offer the quality and durability required for GET. Fortunately, Caterpillar builds with quality first to keep you productive and maximize the value of your tools. Cat products include a wide selection of all of the tools mentioned above, built with unique design features for long-lasting performance.
Here’s how the Cat touch adds to some common ground engaging tools:
- Cutting edges and end bits: With a special steel alloy, Cat dozer cutting edges can handle twice the heat and pressure of products that use traditional blade steel. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with options for finish dozing, high-abrasion applications, extended-wear needs and many others. You can also find sidebar protectors for the sides of the bucket. For motor graders, you’ll find through-hardened steel for high impact resistance and tungsten-carbide edges for high-abrasion, low-impact jobs. These tools come in a range of styles for tackling ice, packed gravel and other materials.
- Rippers: Similarly, Cat steel alloy ripper tips can handle high operating temperatures and offer a self-sharpening design. Options include penetration tips, with an aggressive angle for strong breaking power, and centerline tips, which reverse for sharper, longer-lasting results. Shank protectors are also available for rippers to increase longevity.
- Tips and adapters: Excavators and dozers can take advantage of the various tips available, spanning a range of abrasion and impact resistance. From heavy-duty to double-spiked tips, you can find one that’s appropriate from this innovative line of products. Choose from the Advansys, K-Series and J-Series collections of tips and adapters to find versatility, durability and productivity where you need it most.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — the dealers at Stowers Cat can help you get access to the entire catalog of new equipment for purchase. We also have a selection of used products and can provide rentals for rippers, adapters and other GET items.
Find the Right Equipment at Stowers Cat
When your work takes you past the ground’s surface, Stowers Cat has the ground engaging tools to help you get there. Quality and customer support come first for us, and we’ve been bringing those values to clients throughout eastern Tennessee for over 60 years. Our knowledgeable sales staff can help you find the right product for your work, and our skilled technicians can keep it running for years to come. Remember, Cat GET products are backed by an industry-leading warranty for a more reliable investment.
To learn more about the ground engaging tools available at Stowers Cat, reach out to a team member today!