In the Operator’s Seat

May 1, 2005
Gx Bug Web
Gx Bug Web
Gx Bug Web
Gx Bug Web
Gx Bug Web

Operational methods have a large impact on undercarriage wear and operating costs. The trained and experienced operator knows the machine and knows how to maximize production without abuse and over-application. “Operator skill cannot always be guaranteed in advance. On a short-duration construction project, for example, it may not be practical to set up a training program as such. Depending upon job demands, some less-than-ideal situations may be unavoidable, but realize that existing operator habits can have a bad effect on track wear,” says Joseph Gimbel, product manager for Case Construction Equipment. To maximize undercarriage life, Gimbel suggests how to minimize wear caused by the following operational methods:

Tight Turning and Counter Rotation
Tight turns put torsional loads on the undercarriage. If these turns are unavoidable, you can minimize impact by alternately turning left and right, trying to do each half the time.

High-Speed Operation
Undercarriage wear increases dramatically for a given distance traveled as machine speed increases. When traveling to a new area of the job site, avoid rushing. The savings in undercarriage life more than makes up for the added travel time.

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Reverse Operation
Avoid reverse operation, especially high-speed reverse operation. Conventional tracks will suffer three times the wear in reverse, as they will in forward.

Track Spinning
Eliminate track spinning entirely. There is no productivity gain to offset the wear incurred.

Favored-Side Operation
Most people are either right- or left-handed. As we all have “sided” tendencies, minimize wear by alternating left and right turns within a production cycle.

Side-Hill Operation
Alternate right and left sides downhill from cycle to cycle.

Uphill and Downhill Operation
Uphill operation puts more stress on the rear of the dozer, and on its driving mechanisms. Dozing downhill uses gravity to your advantage and lowers stress on the driving components. Of course, you have to get up the hill again to doze downward again. Don’t back up or down the hill. Doze back up the hill (if operation allows). Take a smaller cut to remove stress and lower the chance of spinning the tracks.

Ripping (Pulling)
Ripping puts stress on a machine in the opposite direction from that of dozing. To minimize wear, alternate ripping and dozing within each cycle.

Slot Operation
Working in a slot is like traveling in a U-shaped trench. Much more stress is put on the outside of each track shoe where contact is made with the rising side of the slot. For example, when skidding logs, the dragged logs create a rounded profile to the haul road. Minimize this wear by swapping chains from side to side during maintenance, and spinning rollers 180 degrees to allow new wear surfaces to come into use. As always, use the narrowest track shoes possible.

Crown Operation
Crowns are the opposite of slots, but the wear is similar. Working on a crown is like traveling along a small hilltop. Much more stress is put on the inside of each track shoe because contact is primarily with the falling sides of the crown. Just as in slot operation, minimize wear by swapping chains from side to side, spinning the rollers 180 degrees, and using a narrow track shoe.

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Extended-Term Parking
Long-term parking puts stress on roller and chain seals, possibly causing leaking. Minimize this stress by running and moving the unit periodically.