Heavy equipment may last up to 15 to 30 years while in operation. Yet malfunctions and downtime caused by worn rubber tracks may create significant project delays and lost ROI for contractors. When such a situation occurs in a remote location, contractors have a difficult time finding repair services and replacement parts.
They may not have the personnel on hand to perform the repairs and cannot transport such parts to every construction project as it increases transportation costs.
Prolonging the life of both the rubber tracks and undercarriage components ensures that the machine efficiently operates. Here are 7 tips for extending the lift of these two heavy equipment areas.
Train Operators About Proper Driving Techniques
While every operatorstandard training to drive specific pieces of machinery, such as excavators and skid steers, they may have their own driving style. Some operators engage in tight pivots and spins to see the machine skid on its tracks, much like watching race cars on a track. Yet these maneuvers cause excessive wear on undercarriage components such as the sprockets, drive motors, rollers, and idlers. Operators should also avoid excessively driving over low curbs as the hard surfaces may crack and rip rubber tracks.
Need additional excavator training? Our sister company, the Diggerland Plant Training School would be happy to help!
Understand the Work Environment
Heavy equipment can tolerate more aggressive driving techniques on softer surfaces such as soft grass or earth. So the operator may make tighter pivots or faster runs. Yet rocky surfaces and rough areas with gravel can wear out tracks. When operating in rocky conditions, have the operator take their time and drive more slowly. They should also avoid making fast turns.
Continually Check the Track Tension
Evaluate the tension daily as working conditions may change. The operator should have a looser track for softer working ground conditions and a tighter track for harder and rockier conditions. The heavy equipment manual should state the proper tension range for the tracks. You should also check the tension after replacing the tracks or when servicing other parts of the machine, such as the hydraulic filters.
Even quality rubber tracks will experience cracking when in the sunlight for prolonged periods of time. The cracking may be caused by the heat of the sun and outdoor temperatures. When the machine is not in use, park it in a shady place to avoid direct sunlight. If you know the machine will not be used for the day, keep it stored in the warehouse or under shading. If the machine has completed its work for the project, transport it from the worksite and to a safe location.
Clean the Machine
Clay, mud, and gravel can get stuck in the workings of the machine and the tracks. The debris increases friction as it wears down bolts, plates, and components. The debris also creates added weight to the machine that it has to lug around, decreasing the equipment’s performance.
When keeping the tracks and undercarriage clean, always wash the entire machine by working from the top of the cab and making your way down to the tracks. This prevents dirt that is present on higher components and the cab from running down onto the newly washed tracks. Consider cleaning the machine daily if applicable.
Limit High Speed Activities
Everyone wants to go home for the day. There may be a little more work that needs completed as the operator is pushing the heavy equipment faster to speed up the job. Yet these higher speeds cause more friction on the tracks as it travels over rocky and coarse surfaces. The faster that the operator pushes the machine, the more stress that will be added to working components. Have the operator slow the machine down and work at a steadier pace. Also, do not push the machine at high speeds just to perform nonproductive work.
Perform Regular Inspections
Due to the nature of the project and how often the machine is put into use, the components of the undercarriage and the tracks may wear out faster than normal. It is essential to engage in regular inspections every day before the machine is put into use.
If a problem is discovered, the equipment should stop doing additional work until the machine is repaired. Never place a malfunctioning machine into use just to try to finish a job on time. You risk causing an accident which could damage the machine further or injure the operator.
Looking to buy a tracked excavator?
Here at BuyADigger we have a large variety of used diggers and construction machinery for sale. We do however stock a range of tracked excavators, with either rubber tracks or steel tracks.
When you buy machines from BuyADigger, you will receive equipment that:
- Is fully serviced
- Comes with a one month warranty on all major parts and components
- Has only one previous owner
- Has relatively low hours
- Can be delivered internationally to any country
Contact the BuyADigger team today
We are now able to offer appointments in person. Alternatively, if you would like a virtual tour, we will also be able to assist you.
What are you waiting for? Buy a Komatsu today!
Guest post written by Dustin Johnson – Marketing Manager of FortisHD