Did you know that undercarriage repair and maintenance can be as much as 50 percent of your machine’s maintenance cost over the life of the machine? While undercarriage maintenance is not complicated, track machines, which have much better flotation than wheel machines, can be managed so that the undercarriage life is optimized and owning and operating costs are reduced.
Three tips can help you manage wear,maximize track life and minimize repair and maintenance costs:
1. Carefully match the machine to job conditions - Compact machine selection and configuration play big roles in the life of an undercarriage system. For example, a track machine configured with a narrow shoe in highly abrasive, wet conditions will not provide adequate flotation. This situation will increase the amount of material circulating through the undercarriage system and accelerate wear on all undercarriage components. In this case, a wider track shoe will provide better system wear life.
An example for a rubber track machine would be using a Multi Terrain Loader in an application where the underfoot conditions consist of small aggregate that can get stuck in the undercarriage system, which consists primarily of rubber. In this case, a compact track loader with a steel-embedded rubber track along with steel components would be a better match.
2. Consider operator technique - Practicing good operating techniques will increase undercarriage life. In general, it is best to avoid sharp turns, counter rotations, constant side-slope work and high-speed reverse. All of these greatly increase undercarriage wear and should be avoided whenever possible.
3. Conduct daily inspections - Good maintenance practices, along with proper operating techniques, significantly reduce wear and tear on any undercarriage system. Daily machine walk-around inspections are essential for identifying irregularities in machine appearance, possible leaks,loose hardware and improperly tensioned tracks. Proper track tension is critical to all undercarriage styles. In general, tracks that are too tight can accelerate wear and compromise seal integrity; tracks that are too loose can cause unnecessary wear on track frames. The undercarriage should be cleaned out every day, and even more often when material packing is a factor. Additionally,your Cat® dealer can perform a Custom Track Service (CTS) inspection on any Cat track machine.