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Media / Local company news / Top 4 Tips for Hydraulic Breaker Attachments

Top 4 Tips for Hydraulic Breaker Attachments


Hydraulic breaker attachments are one of the most diverse product lines on the market. With service weights ranging from 400 to 22,000 pounds, contractors can use them for simple day-to-day projects or massive quarry work. But, knowing what you are actually getting with a breaker might not be as cut and dry as you think. Here are a few tips for choosing the right breaker and keeping it in top shape.

HB 4100

Keep in mind,if an operator uses a breaker in one spot for more than 30 seconds without seeing penetration, dust, cracks or fissures, the breaker is too small.

1. A perfect match

First, match the breaker to the carrier. A breaker that is 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 aggregate and through the equipment. This produces wasted energy and can also damage the carrier. But using a breaker that’s too small puts excessive force on the tool steel, which transmits percussive energy from the breaker to the material. Using breakers that are too small also can damage mounting adapters and internal components, which considerably decreases their life.

Here’s a good rule to follow: if an operator uses a breaker in one spot for more than 30 seconds without seeing penetration, dust, cracks or fissures, the breaker is too small. Tell him or her to reposition the carrier or use a larger breaker. Keep this rule in mind to save on maintenance and replacement costs as well as prolong the life of the breaker.

The best places to look for a breaker’s carrier weight ranges is in the manufacturer’s brochure, website, owner’s manual or catalog.

2. Know your rating, know your power

After finding a breaker that meets the carrier’s capacity, check the breaker’s output power, which is typically measured in foot-pounds. Keep in mind that foot-pound classes are a generalization and are not based on any physical test.

Manufacturers document a breaker’s output in one of two ways: as the calculated foot-pound class or as an Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ measured foot-pound rating. Foot-pound class ratings can be deceiving since they are loosely based on the service weight of the breaker and not the result of any physical test. The AEM rating, on the other hand, measures the force a breaker exerts in a single blow through repeatable and certified testing methods. The AEM rating, which was developed by the Mounted Breaker Manufacturers Bureau, makes it easy to compare breaker models by reviewing true figures collected during an actual test procedure.

For instance, three breaker manufacturers might all claim their breakers belong in a 1,000-pound breaker class, but AEM testing standards could reveal all three actually have less foot-pound impact.

3. Go with the flow

Consider hydraulic flow and pressure specifications when pairing a breaker to a hydraulic system. If the carrier cannot provide enough flow at the right pressure, the breaker won’t perform with maximum output, which lowers productivity and can damage the breaker. Additionally, a breaker receiving too much flow can prematurely wear its hydraulic system, which reduces its overall service life.

For best results, follow the hydraulic breaker specifications found in owner’s manuals, catalogs and brochures. Those sources also will show if a breaker has other systems that require regular maintenance. For instance, some breakers feature nitrogen gas assist systems that work with the hydraulic oil to accelerate the breaker’s piston. It’s important to maintain and fill the nitrogen reservoir as needed for consistent power output.

EC 40 - Commercial
4. Extend the life of your breaker

Regular breaker maintenance will extend the breaker’s life and keep minor inconveniences from turning into expensive problems. It’s a good idea to inspect breakers daily and check grease levels to make sure there are no worn or damaged parts or hydraulic leaks.

Breakers need lubricating with adequate amounts of grease to keep the tool bushing area clear and reduce friction; be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. For example, adding grease before properly positioning the breaker can lead to seal damage or even catastrophic failure. Too little grease could cause the bushings to overheat, seize and damage tools. Shiny marks on the tool are good indications that it’s not properly lubricated. Also, manufacturers advise using high-molybdenum grease that withstands working temperatures greater than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Using moly-based chisel paste in conjunction with greasing is even better, since it helps prevent the bushing and working steel from prematurely wearing. The paste contains small copper and graphite particles that roll up like ball bearings between the tool steel and working bushing to prevent metal-on-metal contact — a major cause of premature wear — between the bushing and working steel. It also helps keep grease inside the tool bushings.

Chisel paste is more viscous than standard lubricants. The thicker properties of the paste allow it to remain between the tool steel and bushings and provide better lubrication for longer periods than greasing alone.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to protecting the budget against maintenance costs and downtime, picking the right breaker, performing routine maintenance, and lubricating the major wear parts are the best defense. Following these tips ensure your breaker will achieve its full service life. For more information about breaker maintenance, contact a reliable dealer or breaker manufacturer.

For more information contact:
  • Sofie Gielen, Marketing Communications Director
    Mining, Rock Excavation and Construction LLC
    Telephone: 720-235-2325; Fax: 303-288-8828

Atlas Copco’s Construction Technique business area provides construction and demolition tools, portable compressors, pumps and generators, lighting towers, and compaction and paving equipment. The business area offers specialty rental and provides service through a global network. Construction Technique innovates for sustainable productivity in infrastructure, civil works, oil and gas, energy, drilling and road construction projects. Principal product development and manufacturing units are located in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Sweden, the United States, China, India and Brazil. More information: 800-732-6762,,, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+.