Dredge Bucket Wheel Upgrade


Tronox were planning to upgrade their dredge power by increasing the cutting torque at the bucket wheel by 33% and the swing winch rope pull by 40%. The client was concerned about the ability of the original wheel design to handle this significant increase in load.

What we did

Metis D&E carried out Finite Element Analysis on the bucket wheel in multiple scenarios.


The first step was to analyse the original design in both the standard and increased torque conditions, then compare the results and identify areas of the wheel structure which required strengthening. The analysis was also conducted using reduced material thicknesses, simulating the effect of abrasive wear.


Next, Metis D&E has conducted a series of analyses to determine the optimum reinforcement package which would allow the stress results and Factor of Safety values to reach acceptable levels in the areas of concern. Our focus was to determine reinforcement solutions which would be practical to implement and would achieve the desired strengthening without compromising the weight and cutting capacity of the wheel.


We estimated the benefits of this solution to be:

Maximum stress in the bucket/hub weld reduction
Maximum stress in the bucket/ring weld reduction
Maximum stress in the stabiliser ring reduction
Total Weight Reduction

“Metis Design and Engineering have made an important contribution to our Cooljarloo dredge upgrade, finding improved strength with lowered stress and weight in the dredge bucket wheels and fair leaders.”

Matthew Rein
— Senior Mechanical Project Engineer, Tronox —

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