One of the most popular questions we receive from buyers when purchasing Compact Track Loader (CTL) Rubber Tracks is “Which tread design should I choose, and why”. Well let’s discuss this popular question in depth.
Not all, but some Track Loaders can operate safely using either a narrow or wide track. Those available CTL track widths are;
- 320mm (12.59″ wide)
- 400mm (15.74″ wide)
- 450mm (17.71″ wide)
As an example lets reference the Bobcat T200 that can be outfitted with both the 320mm, or 450mm wide track. The benefit of running the narrow track on this machine would be to increase “Ground Pressure“, and the wider option would be to boost “Flotation“.
Ground pressure would allow your machine to get a better grip, as you are decreasing the Ground Contact Area (i.e. Footprint) and increasing the Ground Contact Pressure (i.e. PSI)
As an example, the calculated footprint “Area” for the Bobcat T200 equipped with 320mm wide rubber tracks would be:
A = Length x Width
A = 59.5″ x 12.59″ = 749.1″ (two tracks total 1498.2″)
To establish the ground contact pressure (ie. PSI) you would use this formula:
P (PSI) = Load / Area
P = 8080 lbs (Operating Weight) / 1498.2″ = 5.39 lbs per square inch
P = 5.39 psi
If you want a little more flotation to help ride on top of softer soils such as mud, clay, and sand you would want the wider track option that has a 3.83 psi, figured by using this same formula.
There are 4 factors that contribute to maximizing the overall service life of your new rubber tracks, and should be taken into consideration. Those factors are;
- Experience and awareness of your operator
- Condition of your undercarriage components
- The terrain that you’re operating within
- Proper installation of the tracks
So basically what we are saying is that if your new tracks are installed correctly at the manufacturers specifications, you have an experienced operator who is completely aware of his or her surroundings, your undercarriage parts such as your drive sprockets are in perfect condition, and the machine is being operated within an environment that isn’t harsh, you will get the longest life out of your tracks. Sounds too good to be true I know. Only in a perfect world.
Now comes the fun part; selecting the tread pattern. Prowler offers four (4) different tread types for Compact Track Loaders, each having their own special characteristics that will help increase performance, and efficiency.
The Prowler RD series (Staggered Block) is an excellent track for operating on hard abrasive surfaces like highways, including over small rocks and gravel. This track has a high durometer rating, with an increased Carbon Black content to make it more gouge and heat resistant. If you are performing power turns on a hot parking lot the rubber on this track won’t break down as quickly as it would on other styles.
Prowlers AT series (All Terrain) track is our best Turf Friendly option. This track has a slightly lower durometer rating allowing it to be more forgiving and less likely to scar turf when pivoting or running at low and high speeds. The AT tread has many cutting edges along its footprint too, making it a nice option for pushing snow during the winter months.
The C-lug tread is the perfect option to have when you operate on both highway and off-road applications. Its highly durable, and has lots of cutting edges for increased traction and performance. Prowlers notched pad eliminates “stress splits” cause by constant flexing, commonly discovered during colder seasons when the rubber is real tight at fresh starts.
Lastly the Prowler EXT (Extreme) rubber tracks are by far the most aggressive in the industry, designed for increased performance while operating within mud and snow. The EXT tread provides better maneuverability while operating on soft soils, and provides better gripping power and decreased stopping distances. Operators that push snow during the off season absolutely appreciate the performance of this tread style.
All Prowler tread options are considered to be cross application. This means each tread style can operate within multiple environments such as dirt, mud, sand, gravel, pavement, turf and snow. However, selecting the right tread style based off the work that you do with your machine can help lower your operating cost and increase productivity.
If you have any questions, or would like help selecting the track that would best suit your needs, give us a call and speak directly to one of our well informed sales associates and we can help guide you in the right direction.Share
About the Author:Todd Swift - Sales Manager at Prowler Tracks