The most expensive part on a tracked dozer or excavator is the undercarriage, representing 50% of the machine’s owning and operating costs. Proper use of the machine can extend the life of the undercarriage. An operator should be ultra-tuned into the machine. How it looks, how it sounds and how it reacts can help detect problems. The physical aspects, along with how the operator runs the machine, can make the difference in extending the life and savings tens-of-thousands of dollars. The flip side is reducing the life and needing to replace components earlier, make extra fluid changes, break components, or worse, replace the entire undercarriage on the machine.
Properly trained operators can make the difference. Cat® Simulator training can help the operator learn how to do a proper walkaround by showing him/her the correct machine inspection points . This is the same walkaround that the operator would use in the field. Simulator training should also include a way to record and report the results of training sessions so the results can be tracked and discussed with the operator. For example, slipping the track can cause premature wear on components and the track itself. It also reduces production and increases fuel consumption. Cat Simulators measures track slip throughout the exercises. Use this report to find out which operators need extra training.
The way the operator uses the machine can directly affect undercarriage wear.
- Side-hill operation can accelerate wear on the links on one side when overused.
- Minimize sharp turns and counter-rotations, as these maneuvers stress the tracks from brake use on one side or the other.
- Avoid unnecessary reverse operation. It wears bushings and sprockets.
- Choose the right shoes for the job. Using the wrong shoe width can increase wear and strain on links, pins and bushings.
- Keep the right track tension. Adjust and test the track tension as needed. Tight tracks can increase wear on bushings, sprockets, links and idlers. Too tight of tracks can increase wear and strain.
- Avoid high speed tracking, as it elevates track temperatures too high and causes premature wear.
- Check the track alignment. When tracks are not properly aligned it can cause component wear.
- Keep the undercarriage clean. Materials and debris can build up, especially in certain climates and depending on what type of material the machine is working in.
Contact us today to learn more about Cat Simulator training and reporting.