Customer case

New Hardox 500 Tuf wear steel helps heavy-duty bucket manufacturer Winkelbauer get tough on wear

June 25, 2019 6 min read

A wheel loader made in Hardox® steel in a quarry carrying a gigantic rock

Case details

Product Hardox 500 Tuf
Country Austria
Company Winkelbauer GmbH
Industry Raw material handling
Brand program Hardox® In My Body

Winkelbauer GmbH in Austria is a leading supplier of heavy-duty buckets and other construction equipment for the European market. The company is an early adopter of SSAB’s new wear-resistant steel grade Hardox 500 Tuf. Upgrading to this material allows Winkelbauer’s customers to load more and extend the service life of their equipment.

A wheel loader made in Hardox® wear plate in a quarry dumping out rocks

Hardox® 500 Tuf is an abrasion-resistant (AR) steel that makes the perfect fit for the high-performance buckets manufactured by Winkelbauer. Hardox® 500 Tuf is the first 500 Brinell (HB) wear plate with properties on a par with structural steel. It delivers high strength, extreme hardness and guaranteed toughness in a single wear plate. The material offers a 70-100% longer service life compared to conventional 400 HB AR steel, and it features improved dent protection.

“We’re now telling our customers, you have two favorable options: Use Hardox 500 Tuf to make the bucket lighter, while the service life remains as long as you’re used to from a Winkelbauer bucket. Or use Hardox 500 Tuf in the same dimensions as before to get a considerably longer service life and reduced costs thanks to longer service intervals,” says Winkelbauer’s CEO Michael Winkelbauer.

Michael Winkelbauer from the family-owned company Winkelbauer GmbH touching a Hardox® wear plate.

Michael Winkelbauer is the third generation to run the family-owned company Winkelbauer GmbH.

3 turns to fill up instead of 4 with heavy-duty loader buckets

By using Hardox® 500 Tuf in a thinner dimension, the new generation of Winkelbauer heavy-duty buckets has 10-16% less tare weight with the same service life as the previous generation. This allows for an increase of loaded volume by 6-10% at the same total weight.

To meet a particular customer’s request, Winkelbauer designed a bucket that allows the operator to load a truck to its maximum capacity of 24 tons (52,911 lbs.) with only 3 turns. This saves 25% of the time required for a loading cycle, and the operator knows that 3 full buckets are enough.

Winkelbauer Hardox Tuf 500

Hardox® 500 Tuf in thinner dimensions gives the new generation of Winkelbauer heavy-duty buckets up to 16% less tare weight with the same service life as the previous generation.

Hard and tough loader buckets, also in cold conditions

Hardox® 500 Tuf combines the best properties from the Hardox® 450 and Hardox® 500 wear steel grades. It has a guaranteed impact energy of 27 J at -20°C (20 ft-lb at 4°F) and, for 20 mm plate, a typical value of 45 J at -40°C (20ft-lb at 4°F). It also has an unusually narrow hardness window of 475-505 HBW. The estimated relative service life for Hardox 500 Tuf is 85-100% longer than for Hardox® 400 according to SSAB’s wear calculation software WearCalc, based on sliding wear with granite.

Fast-track to production

Winkelbauer is impressed not just by the quality of the new steel grade, but by SSAB’s unwavering commitment to support and service life.

“We would generally need a timeframe of 1-2 years for a conventional test of a new material. We don’t have that time, which is why we need a partner we can trust and rely upon. The depth of service that we have enjoyed from SSAB employees from the very outset is one-of-a-kind, and this level of quality cannot be found in any competing products on the market. When SSAB releases a material, we know for sure it delivers as promised,” says Michael Winkelbauer.


The welding and machining of Hardox® 500 Tuf can be performed with the same kind of equipment used for other Hardox® grades. Bendability recommendations are similar to those for Hardox® 450.

“Before going into production, we have naturally experimented with the material and tested it in welding. Since it’s important to reduce welding seams in order to minimize production costs and improve performance, we have analyzed wear patterns and modified the design and construction of our buckets to make best possible use of the mechanical properties offered by Hardox 500 Tuf,” says Michael Winkelbauer.

A gigantic digging bucket made in Hardox® 500 Tuf down in a quarry.

With the new design of a heavy-duty bucket in Hardox® 500 Tuf, 24 tons (52,911 lbs) of bulk goods can be loaded in just 3 loads without exceeding the total bucket weight specified by the manufacturer.

Benefits of Hardox® 500 Tuf in buckets

Hardox® 500 Tuf is perfectly suited for making hard-working buckets of all sizes and shapes. The bucket will last longer and keep its original shape thanks to the wear steel’s combination of high strength, extreme hardness and guaranteed toughness.

  • Extended service life
  • Hardox® 500 Tuf can deliver double the service life compared to Hardox® 400 according to calculations with Hardox® WearCalc for sliding wear with granite.


  • Tough also in the cold
  • Hardox® 500 Tuf has high impact toughness even at freezing temperatures. All thicknesses have a guaranteed impact energy of 27 J at -20°C (20 ft-lb at -4°F). For 20 mm plate, the typical value is 45 J at -40°C (33 ft-lb at -40°F).


  • Workshop-friendly
  • Hardox® 500 Tuf can be processed by the same kind of machinery used for other Hardox® grades. Bendability recommendations are similar to those for Hardox® 450.
A gigantic heavy-duty bucket posing against a stormy sky

Proven in real life applications

Finnish bucket producer Häggblom on quality which never lets you down

”Hardox® wear plate is absolutely the best material for our buckets”, says Jukka Karhula, CEO of Häggblom Oy.

Bucket manufacturer VERCO minimizes maintenance costs for extreme mining buckets thanks to Hardox®

Tough excavator buckets last 85-100% longer with Hardox® 500 Tuf

Lower fuel consumption, high durability, increased efficiency and overall longer bucket lifetime with less hassle due to repairs and downtime.

Find out how upgrading pays off

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