What Makes One Rubber Track Cheaper Than Another?
EVER HAD PROBLEMS WITH RUBBER TRACKS? WHAT MAKES ONE RUBBER TRACK CHEAPER THAN ANOTHER?
CONSTRUCTION METHOD – MATERIAL TYPE – QUALITY CONTROL
Tracks are made by many companies – for many applications – in many countries. We are now seeing tracks from Japan , Europe, USA , China , India , Sri Lanka etc.
The OEM suppliers to new machine manufacturers such as Bridgestone, FRC and Ohtsu are with many different design and engineered applications to suit the machine manufacturers design. This difference in design is not yet demanded of many after market track suppliers and we see this evident in the many cord fracture type failures.
In some cases premature failure is caused by recoil settings, in others the track does not meet the new track design strength. A continuous wound cord track is between 40 – 60 % stronger in shear strength against overlap joined types.
J’ TRACK – A CODE GIVEN TO THE TYPE OF TRACK BY MANUFACTURERS (NOT A BRAND) (Continuous wound cord type tracks are only manufactured by a handful of manufacturers.)
THE DIFFERENCE IS LIKE THE APPLE AND ORANGE COMPARISON IN MANY APPLICATIONS .
The older style of manufacture was with the track being overlap joined and with a lessor tooling cost to manufacture. This also has an inherent weak point in design.
The J’TYPE cost to individualise each track to its own mould was considerable and the price was obviously with some affect and one which the after market track supplier was not keen to match or risk in being cheaper.
PRICE IS THE FALSE ECONOMIC DECIDER WHEN THE CUSTOMER IS BUYING A TRACK. THE QUESTION OF PRICE IS OUTLASTED BY QUALITY.
WHAT IS AN INTERCHANGEABLE TYPE TRACK – old technology which cannot apply to many models today? Each manufacturer makes his machine to suit a type of track which varies in many ways. Some have different rail width – some have different rail height – some have different rail offset.
Komatsu, New model Kubota and Yanmar run a track with a raised iron geaving rail to allow the roller outer flange to run down hard on track surface. If an interchangeable track is used the roller flange will wear down through the rubber and weaken the link bond.
Hitachi run a wider rail width than say Kobelco who run a narrow rail width, previous model Kubota need close rail with offset to suit inner type roller. If a wide rail space track or a parallel rail is used, then a rough ride is resultant to the point that canopies fracture etc. This also causes geive rail dislodgement damage.
The number size to a track i.e. 300 x 52.5 x 80 is with four or five variations. Interchangeable tracks do not fit all models. The codes after the number mean a lot i.e. K – X – A – B – Y – G – R and so on.
The difference in using the correct track on a machine is as football boots are to a footballer. Imagine asking a goal kicker to kick in Thongs. Try running in thongs. Hard to keep on and poor traction. Just as incorrect rail type is with an excavator.
Over the years we have seen many changes in machine design, rubber track types and rubber consistencies tried. The best performing track is still with greater attention required to correct fit than brand.
Many companies are in the track selling game, yet few have 35 years of collected reference material or access to Japanese manufacturer information and updates.
WE HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE AND THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BACK UP THE BUSINESS WE DO
MADE IN CHINA IS NOT WITH QUALITY QUESTION AS ALL MAJOR TRACK MANUFACTURERS HAVE CHINESE FACTORIES.
What is with question is after market quality. Quality control is monitored by OEM manufacturers in multi global factories. The OEM SUPPLIERS demand certain materials and checks. This is where many changes are to the stainless cording being substituted, the rubber and synthetic mix changing, use of recycled rubber and the factories maintaining temperature and humidity conditions during manufacture.
THE ECONOMICS OF THE RUBBER TRACK TO A MINI MACHINE ARE WITH LESS COST THAN STEEL IN MOST APPLICATIONS.
The manufacturer rates the economic life of a rubber track at 2000 hours. The rated life of a mini steel track is around 4000 hours.
When the steel track is out of life usually the rollers, sprockets, idlers etc are also close to expiring. Using rubber pads on steel is an option yet it is where this usually accentuates the rough ride and the wear to the pin and bush is accelerated.
The rubber track machine is with many advantages and I would say that most failures are wrong fit, over tightening, incorrect set recoilers , or ramp climbing.
HOW CAN MANY FAILURES CAN BE AVOIDED – WILL YOUR RECOILER TRAVEL FAR ENOUGH TO RELIEVE THE TRACK?
What changes the working conditions of a rubber track machine in Australia against the intended design of the Japanese manufacturer?
When we work in road base metal, rock, sand and mud we need to allow for the additional packing of material in the inner track rails. This causes over tension and what we see common as cord tension failures. Many blame the track yet I have shown and proved often that the track tension of the machine will exceed the track manufacturers shear design.
I have seen machines within Australia without any recoilers fitted relying on the track to forgive any foreign object jammed in the sprocket. Not a problem if working on concrete or road.
I have seen machines with recoilers adjusted to give only 10 mm of travel before becoming solid and again relying on the track to forgive. Not a problem used as manufacturer intended.
I have seen import machines arrive new with recoilers set for steel or where the machine will not forgive the Rubber track application as we ask.
I have seen operators who pump grease daily into the grease nipples on the track tensioners .
I have proved too many operators what changes can be made to eliminate many of the failures I have seen, where the track is in 70 – 80% of tread condition and cords at the overlap join have sheared.
An example is that a 3.5 ton excavator can exert up to 10 tons of shear pressure to a track through no recoil forgiveness and with some recoil adjustment this can be reduced to a safe overload. The new machine reseller may argue against this at times, yet I have argued my qualifications and technical research to prove what I know to be correct. The recoiler is the relief valve to track tension overload and if adjusted correctly, will allow stone and or mud packing to revolve the sprocket with recoil forgiveness. Remove this relief and the track will absorb the load.
In skid steer applications the machines are being used beyond manufacturers intended design. They are not traxcavators and are not designed for aggregate surface use. They are low ground pressure turf, sand and soil machines.
WHEN PROBLEMS ARE TAKEN TO MACHINE OR TRACK MANUFACTURERS, THEY WILL ARGUE ABUSE OR USE AGAINST THEIR DESIGN.
Why do I stand up and tell you the people who buy my tracks this?? Because its time that those who sell tracks tell you why they keep breaking.
If I sell you a track and it breaks I want to know why. I demand warranty support from my suppliers and in return I do my part. It is our company policy not just to keep supplying tracks to a customer for the sake of a sale.
My Son and I are both with advanced Heavy Diesel Engineer Qualifications along with Certificate in Engineering (Mechanical) qualifications to support our products.
WE ARE NOT JUST SALES PEOPLE – WE FIT 70% OF WHAT WE SELL
WE PROVIDE ON SITE EXPERTISE WITHIN THE GREATER BRISBANE AREA.