Customer case

A lifetime of building better buckets leads to Hardox® 500 Tuf

September 16, 2022 6 min read

Case details

Country Poland
Company Dekpol Steel
Industry Raw material handling
Brand program Hardox® In My Body

Read the story of a young man in his garage who dreamed of building better excavator buckets and became a devoted fan of Hardox® 500 Tuf steel.

When Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO was young, he loved to tinker around. He even built a small bucket for a mini-excavator in his garage, which to his dismay turned out to be more putty than actual steel. And then it hit him – it sure wasn’t easy to build a good bucket.

Fast forward a few decades and the equipment operators Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO talks to are still discussing the quality and payload efficiency of their own buckets. After 20 years in the construction equipment industry, Andrzej Kuchtyk, CEO of Dekpol Steel, still looks for better ways to give his customers the most efficient, high-quality excavator buckets on the market. That’s one reason why Dekpol Steel became a qualified member of the Hardox® In My Body program and decided to upgrade from lower Hardox® grades to Hardox® 500 Tuf.  

Case details

Country Poland
Company Dekpol Steel
Industry Raw material handling
Brand program Hardox® In My Body

How to get a competitive edge in a tough market

Industry has seen plenty of upheaval in the last few years: a global pandemic, shaky supply chains and component shortages. And attachments like buckets are the last component on a production line. So how can manufacturers stay ahead and equipment operators stay productive?

“The main challenges for our industry at the moment are also in finding a niche for product groups that we can produce for our customers,” Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO says. “So we are looking for the specialized attachments that our customers want.” This is where Hardox® 500 Tuf, SSAB’s extra-tough, high-strength AR steel, steps in.

“From the outset I’ve been setting clear targets for the company, such as top quality and using the best materials available on the market. So, naturally, Hardox steel was a frontrunner in our choice of material to produce standout buckets.”

- Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO says.

Abrasion-resistant steel takes the punches: 5,000 hours and near-zero wear

“We test our bucket attachments in granite mines both in Poland and abroad. When Hardox® 500 Tuf became available, we applied it to a cubic-meter bucket for a long excavator that was digging aggregate from under the water. We later inspected this bucket for wear and tear. Imagine, at that moment the bucket had done more than 5,000 hours. This machine is working non-stop to extract aggregate, and the bottom of the bucket was intact. In terms of front-edge scuffing, there was less than a millimeter of this type of wear. With other materials, this bucket would surely already need replacing. This is the most abrasive material – the combination of abrasive aggregates plus a wet environment. So I know the customer is getting a top brand and top-quality product with Hardox® 500 Tuf and the technology we employ at Dekpol Steel.” 

Lower environmental impact with a 15% lighter bucket

“You can reduce a bucket’s weight by 15% when using Hardox 500® Tuf, resulting in lower fuel consumption in both the loading and unloading cycles,” Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO says. “This also helps to lower environmental impact in the form of reduced CO2 emissions.” 

This is because buckets in milder steel use extra parts for wear protection, adding weight and making production more complicated. But in a bucket whose main components are made of both hard and tough steel, you can reduce the amount of liners and the otherwise necessary wear packages. Fewer parts need to be manufactured, less welding saves time and costs, and the bucket is lighter. Thinner material reduces the bucket’s weight, which then reduces the wear and tear on the hydraulic system and couplings, as well as fuel consumption. 

Easier welding and fabrication

For Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO, Hardox® 500 Tuf combines the best features of Hardox® 450 and Hardox® 500.

“The process of cutting a 25 mm plate does not require pre-heating. Also, the welding process itself is much faster than with the 450 and 500 grades. For me, the ductility of this material is crucial, especially when it comes to rolling and press bending. Hardox 500 Tuf is a great testament to all the work done by SSAB’s engineers, who succeeded in creating a product that the market needs.”

Hardox® In My Body sign on equipment opens new markets

Andrzej Kuchtyk CEO was eager to become a qualified member of the Hardox® In My Body program early on as the company built up the Dekpol Steel brand. As a member, they get priority access to trial materials, personal tech and marketing support, and the potential to gain more business in key export markets that put a premium on quality equipment.

“Without SSAB’s collaboration, and without the support of their expert technical teams who help significantly in the right choice of material, I can’t imagine meeting the expectations of our customers in these very demanding markets.” 

“I make no secret of the fact that the Hardox® In My Body brand alone has opened many doors for us. That sign on a bucket attests to the highest quality in buckets and bucket production in the world.” 

About Dekpol Steel

Dekpol Steel is a leading Polish manufacturer of a wide range of buckets for mini- and midi-excavators, backhoe loaders and wheel loaders as well as rippers, grabs, forks, quick couplers and other attachments for nearly any digging job. Dekpol Steel is a supplier to leading construction equipment manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Volvo and Komatsu. Their products are used in more than 24 countries in quarries, mines and gravel pits and for construction and agriculture.

HOW DEKPOL STEEL BENEFITS

 

  • Delivers superior performance in highly abrasive environments
  • Bucket wear slashed and service life extended
  • Customers get a high-quality niche product with a strong brand 
  • New markets opened for Dekpol’s Steel buckets
  • Less steel used in production, so end product weighs less and has a smaller environmental footprint
  • Easy to work – no tooling changes needed during fabrication compared with Hardox® 450





 

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