Ground Engaging Tools and Bucket Tips

Your Cat® machine came from the factory with a standard bucket and ground engaging tool (GET) combination. GET require attention and maintenance, and there is no one-size-fits-all GET solution out there. Depending on your application, there could be another excavator or wheel loader bucket tip that better fits your needs.

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

Both Cat® excavators and wheel loader buckets can use the Cat AdvansysTM tip system, which is an array of specialized tip types that help the machines excel in any number of applications.

The Advansys system also offers specialty GET protection devices, such as sidebar protectors, side cutters, bolt-on cutting edge (BOCE), shrouds, covers, segments, half arrow segments and base edge end protection (BEEP) add-ons that can extend tool life in even harsh applications.


Get Your Bucket Right

Obviously, getting the right GET on your wheel loader or excavator means matching the proper bucket to your application. And Caterpillar has a full line of buckets designed to help you get the best breakout force and power out of your machine. With a wide range of standard and specialized buckets, there is a solution for your trenching, excavating, loading, moving and finishing needs. Each bucket is designed and tested as an integral part of your machine. 


Heavy duty tip


General purpose tip


Penetration tip


Penetration plus tip


Spike tip


Double spike tip


Wide tip


Sidebar protectors

Heavy Duty
General Purpose
Penetration Plus
Double Spike
Wide Tip
Sidebar Protectors


Get the Right Tip Types

Caterpillar has several tip types for excavator and wheel loader buckets. And when it comes to bucket tips, there’s nothing more basic than getting the right tip for the task at hand:

  • Heavy duty and heavy duty abrasion resistant material (ARM) tips have about 60% more wear material on the tip body. The ARM wears around the profile to increase penetration.

  • General purpose tips are symmetrical and the baseline for other tip styles. They are ideal for most general digging and earthmoving applications in soft/standard soil types.

  • Penetration tips work well in compacted materials. The leading edge is designed for maximum penetration. They also have a single center rib that self-sharpens as it wears.

  • Penetration plus tips have 25% more wear material and, compared with penetration tips, have a leading edge with 25% less cross-sectional area. They also self-sharpen as they wear.

  • Spike tips are meant for maximum penetration. They are typically used in cohesive material and stay sharp during the life of the tip.

  • Double spike tips are used in the corner positions with the spike tips for hard-to-penetrate, fracturable materials.

  • Wide tips help maintain smooth trench floors and are good in low-abrasion, easy to penetrate soils.

As an example, consider a contractor who’s doing general earthmoving work with their excavator. They’re now moving bulky, abrasive rocks with the machine and start to go through bucket tips more quickly. This contractor might look into a heavy duty tip or a heavy duty ARM tip. These two types are meant to last longer in higher impact, higher abrasion materials and can deliver greater efficiency on the job, as well as significantly longer life.


Bulk Up Your Bucket

Caterpillar has specialized protective systems to beef up and bolster every part of your bucket. These include:

  • Side bar protectors, which protect bucket corners and side bars from wear. Side bar protectors are pin-on for easy installation and removal.

  • Bucket liners, which deliver extra protection for the inside of the bucket in extremely abrasive materials for 374-395-sized buckets.

  • Horizontal bottom-wear plates, which attach to the underside of a bucket. These replaceable bottom-wear plates protect the wrapper area and reinforce the bucket for greater strength and rigidity.

  • Side wear plates attach to the sides of a bucket, and are constructed of high strength steel for extra protection. The side wear plates provide full coverage to the bottom wear plates.

  • Mechanically attached wear plates (MAWPs) fit onto the bottom of a bucket to safeguard high wear areas when working in highly abrasive materials.

  • Side bar cutters help buckets dig into materials while guiding materials into bucket. Optional for general- and heavy-duty applications.


Putting It All Together

Given all the applications Cat machines work in, and the variety of buckets and GET out there in so many different shapes and sizes, you might think it takes an expert to pick the right one. Not so. In fact, Cat experts say selecting the right bucket and GET can usually be guaranteed by following a few simple guidelines:

  • Strength is the ability of the bucket and tips to withstand digging shocks and high breakout forces. In these applications, remember that longer tips have a greater potential to break due to these higher forces and loads.

  • Penetration refers to the GET’s ability to penetrate right, rocky, frozen or poorly shot materials while resisting the tendency to become blunt over time.

  • Wear Life is the ability of buckets and tips to withstand the general wear and tear, scouring and abrasive action of the materials being handled.

Once you have those basic considerations, then be sure to choose tips that have the right balance of these for your work, and you’ll get the full return from your investment.


Pre-Trip Your Tips

Finally, when it comes to bucket tips, one of the simplest, yet most effective things you can do to extend GET life and productivity is to conduct daily inspections to make sure they’re in good shape.

Check your GET during your daily walk-around and maintain them as needed. Your GET need attention, just like your tracks or tires. A bucket with worn out tips will not be effective at digging or loading material. And this can cause extra burden to the machine and decrease fuel efficiency.

Check out our full guide to GET.


Here’s how to get the right ground engaging tool for any job you’ve got.



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