TRACKED SKIDSTEER LOADERS AND THE TRACK PROBLEMS.
See Photo’s below
The skid steer tracked loader was developed with floatation and low ground pressure applications in mind. The machine was designed to work in wet and soft condition, or on surfaces where damage needs to be minimised. Used when the wheel bobcat was without the floatation or low ground pressure to avoid bogging down.
Many have purchased this machine with applications outside of where the machine manufacturer intended its use. Many have been sold the machine with claims to its performance in general ground work conditions.
This is where the track manufacturer’s life expectancy to a rubber track should be with consideration.
An excavator Rubber track under general working conditions is with a life expectancy of around 2000 hours. It is generally accepted that an excavator spends 25% – 30% of its time walking and the balance of time stationary digging. If this is considered then that gives
An expected 500 – 600 hours of walking life to a track. This varies in surface conditions.
Apply this rule of thumb to a skid steer loader rubber track which spends 100% of its life in walking – this means 500 – 600 hrs under intended working conditions is about normal. This life is extended in soft wet conditions and no exposure to aggregate or rock.
What extends Rubber Track life – careful operation and surface conditions?
I know of skid steer operators getting 900 hrs + on tracks and I see many at 300 – 400 hrs failed.
This machine is not a wheeled Bobcat and the operation is with Traxcavator direction change important to extend track life. Most problems are from wheeled Bobcat drivers expecting the same direction change performance.
When the weight is pushed down on the bucket, all the machine weight is transferred to the rear idler – see picture below.
The aggressive lug track is where on hard surface the drive force of the machine (coefficient of friction coupled force being applied) exceeds the lug strength and consequently the result is rubber being peeled or torn from the track. This I have observed and on concrete surface I have seen the rubber that is left behind.
There are three types of track available – aggressive – semi aggressive and staggered large lug type.
All new Takeuchi machines are sold now with the large staggered low ground pressure lug track and that is where the best Track life has been seen. I have also seen new machines with this track destroyed at 330 hrs and that again has been because of aggressive surface conditions and abuse.
The machines have more horsepower than the track has traction and this slippage is a major cause of lug disintegration.
I have installed all brands – and all are with the same problem when abusive use is apparent or machine is used outside of its intended application.
WHAT IS THE ANSWER
I have worked with a track manufacturer to design a new lug for skid steer Australian and NZ use. This is a staggered offset lower profile large low ground pressure lug which is proving to perform with better radial flexibility also around the tight small diameter small rear idler.
I have also been working to a conversion which fits an excavator track to the Takeuchi TL130 machine where those who now own and need to fulfil contracts understand that no track will be without damage in their application.
The difference is a track that costs $1,300 + GST per side, will last as long as the $3,000 track in aggressive applications and can be with acceptance due to saving on replacement.
I am working also to the Bobcat conversion and again see that whilst the work being done is beyond intended use – the fact is the commitment to ownership is now where income from use must go on.
The machine is not at fault – it is the expectation of use, the aggressive work, operator misuse, and the pure power of the machine assisting wear.
We are also currently working on a steel track conversion, yet this will only be with slow speed use.