Best Operating Practices for your Undercarriage

Proper operation is just as critical as maintenance when it comes to preventing and minimizing undercarriage wear.

1. Planning and proper training

Proper operating procedures begin before the machine even gets to the jobsite. Check the ground conditions and the terrain—consider the need to minimize travel on the site, as well as the use of steel tracks or rubber tracks, and the narrowest shoe width possible to meet the required flotation.

2. Selecting the right tracks for the job

Knowing which track width is best for the job is an important consideration when it comes to undercarriage health.

For firm ground conditions with minimal slope, long tracks are the best fit. When it comes to firm ground conditions with more varied terrain, wide tracks are the preferred track option.

3. High-speed and reverse operation

High speeds can affect the wear rate on pins, bushings and sprockets; the faster the speed, the faster the wear rate. It's important to note that wear rate is a function of speed and distance travelled, not just hours worked. Operators should also avoid excessive use of reverse operation. It's not only a non-productive use of the machine, but it also accelerates bushing and sprocket wear unnecessarily.

4. Wide turns

Counter-rotation, or pivot turns, can cause accelerated wear on the undercarriage. Operators should try to make wider, more gradual turns whenever possible.

5. Alternate turning direction

Continuous turning on the same side can cause accelerated asymmetrical wear. Make every effort to balance the direction of turns throughout the day. If that is not possible, be sure to check for wear more often.

6. Control track spinning

Unnecessary spinning can increase wear and decrease productivity. This can be avoided by decreasing the blade or bucket load.

7. Try to stay on flat surfaces

Another important practice for operators to follow is working up and down on slopes. Constant operation on hills in one direction can accelerate wear to idlers, rollers and guide lugs by placing greater force on one side. 

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