Tuned track tensions ? How to dodge the damage - Quarry

2022-05-10 09:10:00 By : Mr. liangzhao zhou

Too tight a track tension and components, roller and idlers wear faster. Power and productivity suffer, plus there is the risk of tracks tearing. Too loose, and track loss during turns or while travelling on uneven ground can be unsafe for operators and site personnel.

Local operating conditions steer track tension. As a rule, in soft, muddy conditions, slacker tracks are best. For rocky, harder ground, you need tighter tensions. You should always consult your machine’s operating manual for recommended tension levels.

Mindful of the conditions, machine application also impacts wear. Non-packing tensions (sand, gravel) in packing situations (clay, mud) will tighten too much – and vice versa. Cleanliness can also have an impact (see seven steps to “clean out” your machine’s undercarriage).

Unlike friction-drive track systems, Caterpillar undercarriages don’t depend on high tensions to drive. Some slack in the track is normal. The machine’s operation and maintenance manual will specify proper tensions and procedures.

A simple recoil grease tensioner allows easy track tension modifications. The operating manual contains specific tension levels and instructions for use.

Once adjusted, new tracks shouldn’t need constant correction and should be checked at least monthly, or as operating conditions change. Running tensions outside of recommended specs speed component wear.

Compact tracked loaders with too loose a track risk “ratcheting”, where the track drive embeds jump over sprocket teeth, damaging both. Too tight and you speed undercarriage wear.

Over-tensioning to solve derailments caused by improper operating techniques is also not the solution.

Rubber tracks are critical for the multi-terrain loader undercarriage. Best performance and service life come from proper tension. The slack between drive sprocket and front roller wheel, for example, is normal.

There should also be a break-in period for new, replacement tracks. It gives time for the embedded cord length to settle. How much and how fast depends on the application, the machine model, and operating techniques. The tracks should be watched for the first weeks of use for signs of break-in.

Multi-terrain loaders use a turnbuckle arrangement to adjust track tension. The turnbuckle should be lubricated with good, penetrating oil spray on the threads and nut weekly. This will prevent rusting and seizing, and make for easy adjustments when needed.

Once adjusted, the new tracks shouldn’t need constant correction and should be checked at least monthly or as operating conditions or applications change. Again, it should be remembered that running tensions outside of recommended specifications speeds component wear.

It’s important not to run too loose a track. Doing so risks “ratcheting”, with track drive lugs damaged from jumping sprocket rollers. Too tight tension only speeds unneeded wear.

Over-tensioning to solve derailments caused by improper operating techniques is also not the solution.

Again, tension adds load and wear on all matching undercarriage components. Incorrect tuning causes needless damage to the steel track system.

Tight tracks increase bushing and sprocket wear, which is triggered as the bushing rotates and/or slides in the sprocket.

The steel link, track rollers and idler are also affected.

Loose tracks can lead to de-tracking, component failure, breakage or compromised site safety. The result is unplanned, unwanted stoppage that costs money and time.

At least monthly, operators should check the tension via the track adjuster behind the front idler. Pumping or draining grease through the adjuster valve alters tension. Tiny adjustments in track sag have a massive impact, eg a 2.5cm to 1.2cm sag change increases tension by about 1360kg.

The adjuster valve should be inspected to ensure it works as part of the equipment service procedure. If it shows signs of leakage, book it in for repair. Leakage leads to loss in tension, then to bigger issues.

See your operation and maintenance manual for proper track tensions and procedures, plus conduct inspection and maintenance methods at intervals.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}Cleanliness improves performance, reduces wear and cuts cost. Most undercarriage component and track wear is a result of lodged debris.

Often, by the time you notice a performance issue it’s too late, and the damage is done! So let’s avoid unnecessary wear and delve into the undercarriage “clean out” process.

When you clean out influences how easy or difficult the clean becomes. How often to clean out depends on the material worked. It’s recommended to clean out your undercarriage daily. Cohesive and abrasive materials (mud, sand, clay, gravel), however, pose more risk. They should be cleared as often as possible, even several times a day.

Service technicians should pay particular attention to cleaning between and around the roller, idler wheels and sprocket.

For more reliable, productive equipment follow these seven steps:

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