The Challenge of Continual Bush Failures in Caterpillar Excavators

Geographe was approached by two prominent Western Australian miners with the challenges observed in the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) standard set-up for excavator bushings.

Current Issues Faced by Miners with Caterpillar Bushings

Created from bronze with a small diameter flanged thrust face, the OEM’s bushings structure can be insufficient for the loading conditions in certain environments, resulting in accelerated wear on the thrust face, and posing concerns for durability and longevity.

The solution offered by the OEM was adding a thrust ring to the bush flange's outer diameter. The attempted fix did not yield the desired results, leaving the mining companies grappling with ongoing wear and maintenance issues. Additionally, the lack of seals in the standard arrangement exposed the bushings to contaminants and abrasive materials, exacerbating the wear rate and decreasing the longevity of the components.


Leveraging Our Solutions for Increased Asset Life Within Caterpillar 6020B Excavators

We understood the challenge and immediately started exploring alternatives to enhance the specifications to create a longer-lasting alternative. This led our metallurgic team to review a solution we designed in 2010 to solve the issues related to the thrust plate failures of Hitachi excavators – the Geographe EP Top Hat Bush.

Leveraging the success behind creating the Geographe Enhanced Performance™ (EP) Top Hat Bush for the Hitachi Excavator, we upgraded the standard bronze bushes to case-hardened steel to suit Caterpillar 6020B excavators and by incorporating a larger thrust face for improved contact surface area.

The Geographe EP Top Hat Bush is also sealed with a split seal at the thrust face which can be changed out without disassembly, allowing for optimal bush performance, solving premature wear challenges and resulting in reduced downtime and increased productivity.

PI Caterpillar Top Hat Bush

Improvement Factors of the Geographe Enhanced Performance™ Top Hat Bush

  • Retrofittable, allowing for compatibility with standard bore diameters.
  • Case-hardened steel for increased durability.
  • Cross-hatching to provide superior lubrication.
  • Larger flange diameter for a greater thrust surface area.
  • Incorporated seal in the bush bore to retain grease in the work zone.

Benefits of the EP Top Hat Bush to the Caterpillar 6020B Excavator Fleet

  • Increased ease of fitment, reducing maintenance times and associated labour costs.
  • No hot work is required, eliminating high-risk work and reducing machine downtime associated with gouging, welding, and line boring.
  • Manufactured from one piece of material, the part is significantly stronger and not prone to movement under dynamic load conditions.
  • Incorporated flange OD split O-Ring for contaminant exclusion and grease retention.
Group 1971

Used by Tier 1 Miners and Off-site Repairers Around the World

With over 100 Ball Stud Removal Tools present in mine site operations around the world, including Africa, Australia, North & South America, Southeast Asia, and New Zealand, our customers have saved thousands of labour hours, reduced downtime and, most importantly, provided safer working practices for their maintenance teams.

Companies like BHP, Newcrest, Thiess Mongolia, and Peabody have embraced Geographe's BSRT, witnessing transformative improvements in their maintenance operations.

Download our Case Studies to learn more about how Geographe can help with challenges on your mine site through enhanced performance solutions.

'The Caterpillar Haul Truck Ball Stud Removal Tool has reduced the time to remove ball studs from 12 hours per truck to just 1 hour.'

The risk of damaging jacks throughout the process has also been removed. This initiative represents a significant cost and time reduction while also improving safety for our maintainers.

Truck Maintenance Superintendent
- Fortescue Metals Group

BP 2024 Produce 001

'We are now looking to extend our bucket change-out period by an additional 2000-4000 hours.'

For us, machine-up time is a priority. Once the thrust plates fail, we would normally swap out to a spare bucket to keep the machine running. The downside to this is some of our buckets were only achieving 60-75% of life before being sent to an offsite repairer. With the Geographe Top Hat bushes, we are now looking to extend our bucket change-out period by an additional 2000-4000 hours.

HME Supervisor
- Pilbara Iron Pilbara, Western Australia

OT Hitachi in colour

When equipment failure is not an option, partner with us.

From existing products available for all type of OEM Mining Equipment to solving your unique challenges through custom design and trials, we can help.