Buckets, Buckets and attachments, Case Study, Earthmoving Attachments, General Purpose Buckets, Miller NGDF, Sorting Buckets, Victoria

Customer service, reinforced: Miller | NGDF

Following the recent acquisition of Victorian fabrication business NGDF, Miller is strengthening its offering in Australia, across both its bespoke bucket manufacturing and repair operations. EEM spends a day on the road with the Miller | NGDF team to learn more.


Pairing reliable machinery with durable, well-made attachments is a no-brainer for any business that can’t afford extended downtime. And just like any excavator or loader, even the toughest bucket requires regular upkeep to maximise performance.

Miller | NGDF General Manager David Aldridge (left), with O’Connor Contracts Managing Director Cathal O’Connor.
Miller | NGDF General Manager David Aldridge (left), with O’Connor Contracts Managing Director Cathal O’Connor.

This is particularly important for mobile crushing and screening business O’Connor Contracts, which requires machinery and attachments that can handle some seriously rough material. And when it comes to keeping its range of buckets performing at their very best, for the past five years, O’Connor Contracts has relied on the team at Miller | NGDF.

EEM was invited to a busy quarry site in Melbourne’s west to check out what O’Connor Contracts does, and learn what makes its partnership with Miller | NGDF valuable.

“We specialise in contract crushing, concrete recycling, asphalt recycling, and soil remediation,” says Managing Director Cathal O’Connor.

“The buckets we use are digging hard rock all the time. Anything from limestone to granite to hornfels – it’s highly abrasive stuff.”

Miller | NGDF modified O’Connor Contracts’ sorting bucket to improve material flow through, without compromising its structural integrity.

Cathal has been in the earthmoving game since he was a teenager in Ireland, and has more than a decade of experience in contract crushing. He says compared to applications such as general civil works, rock crushing can really wear down attachments.

“Our buckets are constantly impacting into the rock. And they’re often working 11-and-a-half hours a day, five-and-a-half days a week,” Cathal says.

“It can really take its toll. So, for all our buckets and attachments, we use Miller | NGDF to reweld them and fabricate them.”

O’Connor Contracts has been putting a few Miller-modified buckets to work on its quarry site. A 39-tonne Kobelco excavator alternates between a general-purpose (GP) bucket, and a bespoke modified sorting bucket. Meanwhile, a Komatsu wheel loader pushes around another large bucket – one Cathal says can often move up to 1500 tonnes of material per day.

Miller | NGDF General Manager David Aldridge says these buckets have all recently visited the local workshop for various fixes and upgrades.

Miller | NGDF can arrange to have refurbished buckets delivered direct to site.

“On the GP bucket, the top of the bucket was all damaged, and the hitch had actually been smashed into the top of the bucket,” David says. “So, we replaced all the ears, replaced the top shoulder, and all the pins and bushes as well.

“For the sorting bucket, we cut open and widened the ribs, but without impacting the overall strength of the bucket itself. This allows the operator to get greater flow through, so that the bucket won’t clog up as the weather deteriorates.”

Maintaining an edge

From the dusty mountains of the quarry site, the Miller team invites EEM to visit its newly established Melbourne headquarters in Tullamarine. Here, the team is hard at work – welding in one corner, machining in another – and with a constant rotation of products coming and going on forklifts.

According to David, NGDF allows Miller to enhance its offering on a local and national level with the backing of global expertise.

This new facility is intended as the first of many similar planned sites around Australia, which will enable Miller | NGDF to provide high-quality products and efficient service to customers in more places.

David says the range of services now on offer from this site shows what made Miller’s acquisition of NGDF so valuable.

“We now have the ability to rejuvenate and bring life back into old buckets,” he says.

“At this facility, we’re able to take out old floors, put in new rolled floors, remove and replace cutting edges, supply bolt-on edges, cut off and reapply new teeth and adapters, and fix up all aspects of the buckets from lead edges and the like up to the ears and pickup details.

“We also have the ability with our CNC mill to modify hitches. We can modify steel parts, and do line boring as well. We can do pretty much any aspect of the works that customers might need. That’s what made NGDF so attractive to the Miller business. It was what we were missing. Yes, we want to supply hitches and buckets, but service back to the customers has to be our number one focus.”

David says Miller NGDF aims to be a one-stop-shop for its customers.

The Melbourne site is overseen by Miller veteran Sean Congo, who has relocated from the UK for the role. David says with his knowledge and breadth of experience in the mining industry, Sean was the clear choice to head up the Melbourne branch.

“Sean has a wealth of knowledge in bucket design, development, and repair – and also in the Miller hitches,” David says. “He’s able to quickly spot problems for customers, either on their machines on site, or as they come into our workshop.

“That helps us more quickly get onto the repair, make the modifications, do what needs to be done, and get it back onto the site.”

David says Miller | NGDF is also able to arrange on-site delivery for customers, saving them the trouble of working out the logistics themselves, and minimising unnecessary downtime.

“We like to think we can do pretty much everything to support our customers,” he says. “We want to be the one-stop-shop.”

For more information, visit: www.miller-ngdf.com.au

The Miller | NGDF team outside the new Tullamarine facility.
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