Tips for Extending the Life of Rubber Tracks
The way a machine is operated plays a major role in wear of undercarriage components. Following the correct operating procedures can help extend track and undercarriage life.
- Minimize Spinning and Slippage:
One determinant of track wear is incidences of track spinning and slippage. Track spinning and slippage expedite tread wear. Frequent contact between the track links and rollers, track links and sprocket teeth, and idler tread surfaces speeds up wear.
- Curtail High-Speed Travel:
As much as possible, limit non-productive high-speed operations. Operating the machine at high speeds accelerates wear on track and undercarriage parts. Speed and track wear are directly proportional. The longer the distance a tracked machine traverses, the faster the wear. Plan job-site work carefully to make travel productive.
- Reduce Reverse Operation:
When operating a machine under load in reverse operation, track links rotate against the sprocket teeth. Limit machine reverse operations as it speeds up wear on the reverse-drive side of the sprocket teeth and track links. Only use reverse operation when absolutely necessary. When performing a reverse operation, about 75% of track links are under contact, load, and motion. Compare this to forward operation, where only approximately 25% of the track links are under contact, load, and motion.
- Plan Your Turns
If the machine is constantly turning to one side, the life span of the track is reduced. The sprocket teeth, track links idler, roller flanges, and tread surface on the side under load will wear faster. Plan your operation to even out turns as much as possible.
- Regularly Clean Undercarriages.
Debris and soil can pack up in undercarriage components. To prevent sand, mud and debris from getting stuck, clean out the track frequently. Packing of soil and debris in undercarriage parts adversely affects the engagement between the mating undercarriage components such as sprocket teeth and track links. This accelerates wear as there is increased load on undercarriage components.
- Consider Job/Terrain Requirements.
Ensure that the jobs you undertake and the movement of your equipment fits the terrain. This way, you strategize your operations to maximize track life.
HANDLING & OPERATION DO’S AND DON’TS
- DO carefully inspect rubber tracks before shipment to your customers.
- DO use plastic banding instead of metal banding when shipping to prevent unnecessary cuts to the rubber track surface.
- DON’T use chains or cables when loading or unloading shipments of ITR rubber tracks. Fabric straps are recommended to prevent damage.
- DO use care when utilizing a forklift to handle rubber tracks in order to avoid cuts and puncture damage.
- DO store rubber tracks inside when possible. If outside storage is required, you should cover the rubber tracks to avoid exposure to sunlight and adverse weather conditions.