Our industry constantly debates the benefits of local vs imported pieces of equipment. So with almost half (46%) of Australians saying that making local purchases will be the most important thing we can do to strengthen the economy, we have to consider what imported pieces truly cost.
The market is changing for Australian excavator operators. For some time we’ve had the good fortune of using high quality Australian-made excavator buckets and attachments but some local suppliers are starting to import cheaper excavator attachments thanks to lower overseas manufacturing costs.
You shouldn’t compromise the quality of your excavator attachments simply by opting for the cheapest available product. While we're not saying all imported products are of low quality, the number of substandard excavator buckets and attachments is increasing. So are they a real value to your business as a plant operator? Does the quality stack up?
We recently caught up with Pete Theron, Owner of Australia's leading manufacturer of excavator attachments, OZ Excavator Buckets, who shed some light on the factors you should consider when looking at imported excavator or backhoe attachments.
1. Quality of excavator attachment materials
How does the quality of steel used in an imported bucket or attachment measure up? As an Australian manufacturer, OZ Excavator Buckets use high quality steel to manufacture our excavator attachments. Can a cheaper imported version compete?
Blades, side cutters and all other cutting edges on excavator attachments need to be manufactured from Grade 400 or similar hard steel, while other attachment parts can be made from Grade 250 or similar mild steel.
Imported buckets with ground engaging parts made from a lesser grade steel simply won’t last very long – and may even fail under load. So it’s important to be certain an imported bucket is manufactured with the correct grade of steel.
The different parts of an excavator attachment all have different minimum steel thickness requirements. Can you be sure all the steel parts of an imported attachment are the correct thickness?
2. Weld quality
Poor welding is a sure sign of the overall poor quality of an excavator attachment. You don’t have to be an expert to judge welding quality – but if you’re in doubt, it’s a good idea to have a qualified welder check the workmanship for you.
3. Excavator attachment design
Perhaps the most important factor affecting the overall strength and durability of an excavator attachment is its design. Different working conditions call for different design criteria – so is a cheap imported attachment designed to cope with Australian conditions?
Poorly designed bucket profiles will result in inefficient digging, in turn having a negative effect on production and increasing your operating costs.
And can you be sure the attachment profile – its shape and/or capacity – matches your other attachments? If it doesn’t, you could face problems trying to fit your buckets into each other for transport.
4. Who’s making your excavator attachment?
When you’re thinking about sourcing excavator attachments from overseas, Theron recommends three questions to ask yourself:
- Does the imported attachment supplier provide an acceptable product warranty?
- Can the supplier replace or repair a damaged attachment in a short turnaround time?
- Can the imported bucket supplier guarantee short turnaround times for new custom-made excavator attachments, or do they simply supply standard size attachments?
… or would you be better off with a local excavator attachment manufacturer such as OZ Excavator Buckets, who offer fast turnaround, local support, and expert advice?
5. Assess the true price
When you’re weighing up the cost of an imported attachment, consider: is the cheap, imported, low quality attachment really more cost-effective than a quality Australian manufactured excavator bucket?
For example, ongoing downtime costs due to failure of low quality attachments can quickly outweigh the initial savings.
And if you're buying a good quality new excavator or backhoe, why would you accept a cheap, low quality imported attachment? The difference in price between a new earthmoving machine with quality attachments, and the same machine purchased with imported excavator attachments, is negligible.
"Always remember that the ongoing problems and disappointment caused by poor quality excavator attachments will long outlast the initial satisfaction of a bargain price attachment" says Theron.
Want to see the difference yourself?
Get a quick quote now or contact OZ Excavator Buckets on 1300 246 009. If you have any questions – we’re confident their 17 years experience of supplying the highest quality excavator attachments will be able to answer any queries you may have.
You should know that this post is sponsored by OZ Excavator Buckets, however all opinions are our own.