Definition and Usage
Excavators are heavy construction equipment that are utilized primarily for their powerful digging ability. They range in sizes from mini to standard/full sized machines. They are comprised of a boom, dipper, bucket and cab that is seated on top of a rotating platform known as the “house.” This house is seated on an undercarriage containing the wheels over which a track runs. Tracked machinery has better mobility over terrain variances than wheels alone. Tracks can be made of many different materials, most common of these are steel alloy and rubber. The benefit to a rubber track is that they are lighter, quieter, create less maximal ground pressure and do far less damage to surfaces. While the steel track dates back much farther in origin, the first rubber track was introduced and patented in 1913. Agricultural and construction uses, in particular, reap the benefits of rubber track. A hybrid of the steel alloy chain with rubber feet was also introduced later, further extending the scope of mobility of the excavator. This attaching of rubber pads aids in a smoother, faster and quieter ride without as much burden on the steel links. Vehicle laws and local ordinances have taken to implementing requirements for all rubber or rubberized pads to prevent damage to existing roadways and surfaces. As with all equipment, maintenance is required to ensure the lasting efficiency of rubber tracks.
Maximizing Benefits of Rubber Track
A key component of any track is maintenance. When storing the equipment for long periods of time it is essential to keep away from extreme temperature variances, moisture, and direct sunlight. Checking the undercarriage frequently for leaks, tears or damages can help prevent damage to the track itself. While the vehicle is in use, be sure to avoid large or sharp objects from becoming lodged underneath as well. Oil will quickly deteriorate a rubber track. As soon as possible after contact clean thoroughly. Sharp turns and steep slopes must be navigated carefully so as to prevent roll-over or tipping accidents. It is best with the rubber track to avoid prolonged friction with curbs, hard walls or other abrasive surfaces as well. This further prevents unnecessary wear and tear on the track.
Determining Track Size Needed
Rubber track is a reinforced rubber belt with chevron tread and labeled with a size indicated on the inner wall of the track. There are five elements that determine the size of track needed for the equipment. First, the width of the track. This can be measured in (mm) and is taken from sidewall to opposing sidewall. Second, identify the number of links. Links will determine the tension of the track and vary by application. In cases of a slack track, the track is able to droop between wheel wells. This may be ideal for more formidable terrain, while higher tension allows for speed over power. Regardless of the use, always use caution to avoid the track being thrown off completely. Next is pitch length. This is the value of the lowest part of the tread to the highest. Again, measured in (mm), a smaller pitch will be faster and smoother, while a higher pitch will allow for more rough terrain. Lastly, when you are looking to purchase excavator rubber tracks the tread pattern code and type of embedded metals are identified. These will vary based on manufacturer standards and commercial codes. For more training resources see our home page.