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Simplifying hydraulic breaker selection for your operation

By |  August 11, 2022
Breakers can be mounted to a mobile carrier like an excavator, as well as to stationary boom systems attached to crushing equipment. Photo: P&Q Staff

Breakers can be mounted to a mobile carrier like an excavator, as well as to stationary boom systems attached to crushing equipment. Photo: P&Q Staff

After a quarry blast, breakers are not only used to reduce the size of rock that is typically too large for dump trucks, they’re utilized with material that is too large for crushers.

Breakers can be mounted to a mobile carrier like an excavator, as well as to stationary boom systems attached to crushers. The total number of hydraulic breakers within an aggregate operation can vary from site to site depending on production levels, the type of materials at hand and the scope of the operation.

Operations can use breakers to attack oversize without having to clear a quarry. But with a variety of breaker manufacturers, sizes and models to choose from, narrowing the decision to one can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to have an understanding of a few key factors.

Selection process

Ideal places to search for breaker information are in a manufacturer’s brochure, on a website or in an owner’s manual or catalog.

Users should carefully review carrier weight ranges. A breaker that’s too big for the carrier can create unsafe working conditions and cause excessive wear to the carrier. An oversized breaker also transmits energy in two directions: toward the material and through the equipment, producing wasted energy and the potential for damage to the carrier. 

Still, using a breaker that’s too small puts excessive force on the tool steel, transmitting percussive energy from the breaker to the material. Using breakers that are too small can also damage mounting adapters and internal components, considerably decreasing their life.

Once users find a breaker that meets the carrier’s capacity, they must check its output power, which is typically measured in foot-pounds. Foot-pound classes are generalizations and not based on any physical test. 

In addition to weight and output power, consider the breaker’s mounting package. Two things are crucial to mount a breaker to a carrier: a hydraulic installation kit and mounting components. 

Breakers need hydraulic plumbing with unidirectional flow to move oil from the carrier to the breaker, and back again. A one-way-flow hydraulic kit is sufficient to power the breaker, as long as the components are sized to properly handle the required flows and pressures. Users should consider a bidirectional-flow hydraulic kit if they plan to use the same carrier with other attachments that require two-way flow. 

Hydraulic flow and pressure specifications need to be considered when pairing a breaker to a hydraulic system, as well. If the carrier cannot provide enough flow at the right pressure, the breaker won’t perform with maximum output, lowering productivity and potentially damaging the breaker.

Additionally, a breaker receiving too much flow can wear quickly and reduce its service life.

Brackets or pin and bushing kits are commonly required to attach a breaker to a carrier. Typically, these are bolted to the top of a breaker and configured to match a specific carrier. 

Users should also be aware that some carriers are equipped with quick-coupling systems, which require a breaker’s mounting interface to be configured like the carrier’s original attachment. Some manufacturers produce top-mount brackets that pair extremely well with couplers. This allows operators to use the original bucket pins from the carrier to attach the breaker, eliminating the need for new pins. This pairing also ensures a fast pickup with the quick coupler.

Information for this article adopted from Pit & Quarry University.


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