AMM AWARDS

Whisler-Style Evolution: Hammerless Hydraulic Technology

The innovative solution ended the persistent challenges with loose adapters.

CR Powered by Epiroc
Whisler-Style Evolution: Hammerless Hydraulic Technology

Refreshing an established lip

Since the 1950s, Whisler-style lips have been a staple lip on rope shovels.

The original lips used mechanically attached adapters secured by hammer-type locks. Despite the hammer-type locks working well to retain the adapters, they risked injury during installation from metal fragments breaking off and striking users. This concern led to the evolution of screw-type locks to secure the adapters.

A new challenge presented itself, with the adapters becoming loose, requiring ongoing lip maintenance and retightening of the adapter during operations. A solution was to weld additional steel pieces to the lip to stabilize the adapters. This solution created extra work and extended the maintenance requirements during the bucket repair.

In the end, the challenges were evident: adapter wear, high maintenance requirements, and safety concerns with hammer usage.

Enter innovative thinking

A well-known GET manufacturer based in California accepted the challenge. Berkeley Forge & Tools had a longstanding history of supplying mining equipment components since 1948. After years of research and development, they designed the ultimate Whisler-style lip that would eliminate those issues through the hammerless lip system SaberEdgeTM.

The SaberEdge range uses universal GET across all machine models, simplifying the ordering process
The SaberEdge range uses universal GET across all machine models, simplifying the ordering process

In a world-first, SaberEdge's unique retention system uses hydraulic pressure to install adapters tightly, eliminating the need for retightening. Its integrated stabilization technology, allied with its hydraulic attachment systems, significantly reduces maintenance on the lip.

The system quickly established itself as a leader in the market, digging in copper mines from Chile to Canada, as well as in iron ore.

Michael Meidow, CR Vice President of Technical Support, explains why this longevity is no surprise, "the SaberEdge lips are easy to maintain and don't require special tools to install the GET. The advanced hydraulic adapter attachment system is one of a kind. Once the adapter is installed, you won't need to touch it again until it's time to be replaced."

"We frequently get positive feedback from bucket shops that they can focus on the bucket without needing work on the lip, reducing turnaround time. The labour shortage in the mines is a big issue; by saving an average of 400 hours of lip maintenance labour per bucket rebuild, buckets are back digging earlier." 

SaberEdge's hydraulic attachment systems reduce maintenance on the lip.
SaberEdge's hydraulic attachment systems reduce maintenance on the lip.

Berkeley Forge was acquired in 2019 by CR Powered by Epiroc, a global supplier of lips, GET, wear products, and digital solutions. CR brings decades of expertise and innovation, from developing industry-standard HurricaneTM dragline buckets to introducing the world's first cast lip for wheel loaders, DecaEdgeTM. Combining these two mining powerhouses allows the business to continue on its natural path of innovation.

Looking ahead

SaberEdge's resilience in extreme digging conditions has led to its integration into the oil sands, an environment notorious for high abrasion.

Joe Lindekugel, CR Vice President - North America, sees this expansion as a natural progression, remarking, "customers notably experience an increase in machine reliability and reduced maintenance due to SaberEdge's adapter stabilization being built into the lip instead of welded on, eliminating the cracks at welds in the adapter lock keyholes. Combined with machined, close tolerance fits and hydraulic locks, movement between the adapter and lip is eliminated, and maintenance is drastically reduced, resulting in less rebuild time, lower cost, and higher dipper availability."

SaberEdge's CNC machined lip with integrated stabilization system eliminates the need for hot work.
SaberEdge's CNC machined lip with integrated stabilization system eliminates the need for hot work.

With over two decades of experience working with SaberEdge lips, Regional Sales Manager Bob Kriss noted, "when customers hear about SaberEdge's value for money, they are amazed. One iron ore mine said they were particularly impressed by SaberEdge's reliability compared with a conventional Whisler-style lip. In fact, they are in the process of converting their entire fleet to SaberEdge."

CR's legacy of innovation and pursuit of pioneering solutions resonates with its commitment to improving results through enhancing operational efficiencies and reducing cost and emissions. SaberEdge stands as a testament to CR's dedication to these principles.

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