Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds puts the Cat® GraderBit2™ System for Motor Graders to the test.
Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds (SHPG) is a global leader in winter testing facilities for automotive, component, and tyre manufacturers. So, the team knows a thing or two about tough conditions for motor graders.
Located in Wanaka, on the South Island of New Zealand, it’s fair to say that lives depend on SHPG’s work, and the quality and performance of its machines.
“During the snow season, we run a 24/7 operation, maintaining snow and ice test circuits for vehicle testing,” says John Weir, Machinery Maintenance Supervisor at SHPG. “The snow flats are graded up to three times every 24 hours and the snow/ice test tracks twice every 24 hours.”
SHPG’s fleet is predominantly Cat® equipment, with three 140 graders, a 938K and 980 wheel loader, 312 and 330 excavators, a D400 dump truck, and a range of Cat gensets.
The Cat GraderBit2™ System adds extra bite to a grader’s cutting edge board. And it’s perfect for the unforgiving conditions you’d find at a place like SHPG. It’s a snap ring system, so bits are installed and replaced effortlessly with no tools required, thanks to the pull-ring pin that inserts into the shaft and locks over the bit.
Standard Ground Engaging Tools (GETs) are comprised of large, hardened steel cutting edges, and in harsh conditions, they can wear down quicker which means more costs in terms of product, labour, and downtime.
But the Cat GraderBit2 System can add to the potency and performance of these machines, which made it an attractive option for SHPG.
“We liked the look of the product and wanted to try a more penetration focused grader bit,” Weir says. “Also, having Terra Cat as a one-stop shop had huge appeal. The bits last longer, and are quicker and easier to change out.
“They also give us a better result, as the product penetrates better, and reconstitutes the dislodged material back onto the road surface more efficiently than the other system.”
In terms of the benefits to SHPG’s business, Weir continues: “We are seeing less maintenance downtime, and less fuel burn due to the product cutting better and easier. These factors combine to give us a lower cost per hour.”
SHPG will consider converting other machines in its fleet to the GraderBit2 system especially for maintaining the access and onside roading network, due to how well the product performs in the harder applications.
And, for SHPG, the benefits of GraderBit2 extend beyond the performance of the system itself. Weir is also a big advocate of SHPG’s Cat Dealer, Terra.
“We have been really impressed by the regular follow ups and support from all the Terra Cat staff, including product support, rental, and sales,” he says.
There are seven bit designs that can form two continuous edge systems or 10 different serration patterns. These options allow pass through of 15mm to 60mm aggregate and can be adjusted depending on your grading conditions.
The Cat GraderBit2 system is built to be rebuilt. Overlay channels and replaceable bushings extend the board life by up to 20 times. Bit life and performance is maximised at any cast angle thanks to angling plates that always keep the bits facing the way they are supposed to face. Adaptor boards feature an offset design that makes sure that bolted joint strength is optimised and bit placement is always consistent.
You may never have to face the conditions that SHPG faces. But one thing is for sure. The team not only tests cars and tyres on their proving grounds. They’re testing GraderBit2 as well. And it’s passing with flying colours.
Talk to your Cat dealer about the wide range of GraderBit2 cutting edges for Cat Motor Graders.