Using a bucket without adequate side styles would be like eating with a tinfoil fork! The side styles on a bucket give it all its lateral strength to bulk dirt, clay, mud and rocks without crumpling.
The side styles are generally a thicker piece of plate steel than the side plates of the bucket. It runs from the cutting edge up to the top chassis of the bucket, forming the primary support pillar that cuts through the ground with the cutting edge or teeth.
While primarily having a vertical force applied to it, it also has a significant amount of horizontal force applied when used with a tilt coupler or when the excavator is operating on an uneven surface. This requires engineers to ensure substantial and uniform connection points at both ends of the side style, reducing damage and deformation while out in the field.
An Attach2 Mk3 Wide Bucket in CAD exploded view
The side style is distinct to a side cutter; the side cutters are attached to the side style, either integrated into it (welded in) or bolted on. As the side style is a high wear area and can be classed as a leading-edge (especially when cutting up against a bank or when battering), we manufacture our wide and tilt buckets using a BIS 400 (Hardox 400) steel side style and wrap.
BIS 400 steel is 377% harder and more durable than G350 (regular mild steel) and costs 2x more per kg than G350. However, while being twice as expensive, it provides 4x better value for operators using these buckets. Not only is it harder and more durable, it's also more flexible then G350 – meaning when under extreme loads, it will slightly flex to instead of cracking then spring back into its original position, this is called superelasticity (metal shape memory).