6 ways to extend track life

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Rubber track costs can be controlled with proper maintenance and operation Rubber track costs can be controlled with proper maintenance and operation

While compact track loaders and multi terrain loaders have definite advantages in heavy-duty applications and on jobs which call for minimal ground disturbance, many owners are concerned with the costs often associated with maintaining and servicing the undercarriage, says Cat’s Estela Estrada.


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While compact track loaders and multi terrain loaders have definite advantages in heavy-duty applications and on jobs which call for minimal ground disturbance, many owners are concerned with the costs often associated with maintaining and servicing the undercarriage, says Cat’s Estela Estrada.

Writing on Cat’s On the Level blog, the Latin and North America marketing communications specialist says the good news is that a majority of these costs can be controlled with proper maintenance and operation.

Her tips for extending the life of your undercarriage are:

  1. Maximise the life of your tracks with more gradual 3-point turns.
  2. Reduce wear by moving up and down a slope instead of across it.
  3. Make sure your operators are experienced on track machines.
  4. Avoid loose tracks, as they can cause lug damage and derailment.
  5. Make sure the tracks aren’t too tight, as they can increase wear on the tracks, roller wheels, sprockets and drive motors.
  6. Clean the machine’s undercarriage at the end of each workday.

"While the majority of track machine owning and operating costs can be controlled, application, underfoot conditions and hours of operation make up the remainder of the uncontrollable costs," Estrada says.

"A critical factor for selection should be the hours of operation the project will demand," she says, adding: "Applications that require increased torque and horsepower can cause more wear on the undercarriage than others."

Undercarriage life is also affected by underfoot conditions on the jobsite. The more abrasive the material and the more hours the project demands, the faster the tracks will wear.

"Rocky, jagged material and construction debris cause the most wear, while softer surfaces like soil, turf and snow are going to be easier on your tracks," Estrada says.

"This is when choosing the right tracks, based on application and terrain, is of utmost importance to help manage costs."

You should choose the most durable tracks you can get if you’re operating your tracked loader for more than 500 hours a year, and look for tracks embedded with metal if you’re likely to operate on rocky or bumpy ground.

Standard or general-duty tracks are better suited for smoother terrain, such as golf course applications.

"The undercarriage torsion axle suspension contributes to a smoother ride, ensuring more material is retained in the bucket," Estrada says. "Across the board, it is essential to match the tracks with the machine and undercarriage so the components work as a united system to maximise performance."

Visit the Cat website for more information on choosing and using rubber tracks.

 

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