Compact Equipment

JUL 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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Page 130 of 135 131 accelerate wear to idlers, rollers and guide lugs by placing greater forces on one side. Travel straight up or down the slope when possible. • Turns are best performed on level ground. We understand some jobs require hillside work. For these situations, keep in mind that minimizing time on the slope will always payoff in reduced wear and load to the undercarriage. • Continuous turning on the same side can cause acceler- ated asymmetrical wear on the tracks. Operators should do their best to try and balance the direction of turns throughout the day. If it's not possible, the tracks should be checked for wear more often. • Unnecessary spinning of the tracks can increase wear and decrease productivity. Also, higher speeds can cause more wear, as well as excessive and/or unnecessary trav- el in reverse. Special Considerations for Rubber Tracks Rubber tracks are an ideal choice when working in soft conditions and the jobsite dictates the need to minimize damage to the ground. With a rubber-tracked machine, there are several operating practices and basic maintenance items that can help ensure continued productivity and maximized TCO: • Traveling or operating in or around abrasive materials will shorten track life. Operators should avoid rough stone, jagged rocks, scrap iron or other recycled materials. Crushed rock, concrete or demolition rubble and rebar also pose a threat to uptime. • Operators should also try to stay on relatively flat surfac- es. Operating a rubber-tracked machine with the outside/ inside edge of the track turned up can cause damage to the edges and lugs of the rubber track. It is also important to avoid traveling with the tracks on uneven ground or surfaces with obstructions. • Given that rubber is weaker than steel, operators should not allow the sides of the tracks to contact curbs or walls to minimize damage and downtime. It is also important to note that rubber tracks are not direction-specific. In certain situations, it is completely within reason to re- move rubber tracks and swap sides or flip their directions when wear patterns become apparent. • Proper cleaning and storing of rubber-tracked machines also helps to ensure their longevity. Flush the tracks and undercarriage with clean water if the machine was used in areas with abrasive or corrosive materials. If being stored off of the machine, the tracks should be stored on their sides to avoid crimps. • Once rubber tracks are worn and/or damaged, there is no real way to repair them. Damaged rubber tracks need to be replaced in order to minimize excessive wear to other undercarriage components. • Inspect the undercarriage for excessive or uneven wear, as well as damaged or missing components. Any issues should be immediately addressed to minimize further wear or damage. • Monitor track tension while the machine is in working conditions and adjust it accordingly. When the tracks are too loose, it can create instability. It can cause the tracks to derail in the worst-case scenario. When rubber tracks are too tight, it can cause the tracks to stretch or break in addition to excessive roller and idler wear. Maintenance Considerations and Best Operating Practices: Pneumatic Tires Tires — much like steel and rubber tracks — are one of the costliest consumable components on a skid steer, wheel loader or any pneumatic-tired machine. There are, howev- er, several operating practices and basic maintenance items that can help fleet managers and equipment owners maxi- mize tire life: • Tread depth is one of the key indicators of the overall health of pneumatic tires and should be monitored regu- larly in order to determine where a tire is in its life cycle. It is important to consider that each type of tire has its own tread depth considerations, so equipment owners should consult with their dealers to determine the origi- nal tread depth and determine the point at which the tire needs to be replaced or re-treaded. • Inspect tires and rims daily, noting any cuts, cracks, abra- sions or uneven wear on the tires. These actions could lead to the replacement of a damaged tire before it be- comes a bigger issue or could possibly be an indication of another problem. • Tire pressure is another critical daily checkpoint. Im- properly inflated tires can cause unnecessary wear and damage and can wreak havoc on TCO. Tires should also be cleaned, and any debris should be removed from the tread whenever possible/practical. • Tires should also be rotated regularly — just like a car or truck — irregular wear can be present for an infinite amount of reasons, and the best way to minimize it is to follow the manufacturer-recommended rotation inter- vals. Operating practices can also have a significant impact on the overall life of pneumatic tires. Operators need to be aware of the manufacturer-recommended load limitations of a machine. Exceeding the load limitations can cause un- necessary wear on pneumatic tires, in addition to other ma- chine components. Perry Girard is a product marketing manager for Case Construction Equipment.

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