Customer case

How heavy-duty buckets in Hardox® 500 Tuf make the toughest jobs easier

October 04, 2021 6 min read

A severe duty bucket for excavators built in Hardox® 500 Tuf steel.

Case details

Country Sweden
Company Fronteq
Industry Raw material handling
Brand program Hardox® In My Body

Excavator buckets from Fronteq (formerly Götene Ufo) in Hardox® 500 Tuf break new ground for contractors looking for maximum capacity, volume and durability in the most severe environments – and gain up to 8% in weight savings.

Case details

Country Sweden
Company Fronteq
Industry Raw material handling
Brand program Hardox® In My Body

Hard-working buckets for high productivity with Hardox® 500 Tuf

“When SSAB visited us to present Hardox® 500 Tuf, we quickly realized it had great potential for our products,” says Fronteq’s CEO Birgitta Boström. “The timing was great since we were just about to develop Granit, a bucket that’s primarily focused on heavy work in quarries. We worked closely with SSAB during its development so that we utilized the material in the best way.”

Virtually all buckets from the company are adapted to the customer’s needs. This holds true for Granit, a new series of deep buckets for rocks like granite, with a capacity between 2 and 5 m3 (2.6–6.5 yd3). The company’s customers are demanding and expect high quality, so it’s only natural to use groundbreaking materials. Although Hardox® 450 and Hardox® 500 still play an important role, Hardox® 500 Tuf provides a unique combination of their best features.

Photo of Götene Ufo’s CEO Birgitta Boström stands next to an excavator bucket.

"The Granit heavy-duty bucket is our first bucket from Fronteq. It really lives up to our expectations in this very tough environment. The fact that it's a Hardox® In My Body certified bucket is even more proof that it's a strong and durable product."

— Steve Wright at D.A Mattsson in Sweden

Thinner and stronger excavator buckets with Hardox® 500 Tuf

The steel in a bucket must meet requirements that can be hard to find in a single material. It needs to have high hardness to cope with wear and tear even in the toughest jobs. Yet it’s got to be tough enough to bend to the bucket’s shape. Traditionally, this has required several different steel grades for different parts of the bucket. Some parts needed to be harder, others tougher.

Hardox® 500 Tuf turns that tradition on its head. The toughness is at the same level as Hardox® 450 and the hardness is as high as Hardox® 500. Two steel grades can therefore be replaced by one.

Fronteq could reduce the plate thickness by 1 mm (0.394”) by upgrading from Hardox® 450 to Hardox® 500 Tuf. Thinner plate provides better welding economy, and the contractor gets a lighter bucket with a higher load capacity. The extra hardness of 50 HBW for Hardox® 500 Tuf provides a wear margin that ensures long life.

“The unique thing about Hardox® 500 Tuf is that it is so easy to bend even though it’s so hard,” says Magnus Asking, designer at Fronteq. “It gives us completely new opportunities when we design our buckets. It has a higher hardness than Hardox® 450 but otherwise has equally good properties for welding and cutting.”

Welding of Hardox® wear steel on an excavator at Götene Ufo’s manufacturing facility.
Operator working on a bent plate of Hardox® 500 Tuf.

Smarter logistics and production

Fronteq sees great opportunities to simplify purchasing, handling and manufacturing by increasing the amount of Hardox® 500 Tuf in its buckets. The fewer variants of steel, the better the production economy. The company had extensive experience of Hardox® wear steel and was early to upgrade from Hardox® 400 to Hardox® 450. Fronteq’s site manager, Marco Lundahl, explains why they are now stepping up to Hardox® 500 Tuf.

"We expect to be able to reduce the number of steel variants to almost half when the transition to Hardox® 500 Tuf is completed."

— Lundahl says

“This gives us several benefits. We get better purchasing economy and reduce the risk of having too large an inventory. The production also benefits from making more parts in the same material because we get shorter set-up times in the machines. We also get a better utilization rate of the plates – there will always be waste pieces that can be used for other details.”

Photo of Götene Ufo’s site manager Marco Lundahl in front of buckets made with Hardox® wear steel.

Cutting-edge quality with Hardox® In My Body

Fronteq has been a qualified member of SSAB’s Hardox® In My Body program since 2004. Its Granit heavy-duty excavator buckets are certified under the program, along with other attachments like grading buckets, cable buckets and trench buckets. Hardox® In My Body represents a sign of quality that customers know well and ask for when ordering new buckets.

“It’s a great advantage to have SSAB as a partner. They are very professional and give us good support when we develop new products,” Birgitta Boström says.

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A black and white Hardox® In My Body logo attached to certified equipment.

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Hard and tough Hardox® 500 Tuf steel in a wheel loader bucket against a dramatic gray sky.

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