Hey Prairie Dawg: Which one is better? Tracked or rubber tire?

I was recently asked by an old timer if they should consider one of these highly portable track mounted crushers and screening plants. And what was making them so popular all of a sudden as he was still struggling within to see what all the hype was about versus his tried and true rubber tire truck portable chassis.

As time evolves so does the technology within, and it would appear that these smaller footprinted track operated plants are here to stay; as all the electronic gadgets and gismos involved in keeping them alive and operating (both durably and efficiently) become so much more reliable. Not all that long ago computer systems and electric-over-hydraulic driven features were starting to develop — let alone combining them immediately with the rough and tumble world of rock breaking and sorting — look out!

We all know that first to market ideas all require continued support, developmental changes, and simple economic acceptance to continue advancing in our technologically advanced society. Thankfully the manufacturing spirit lives strong and ultimately through strong competitive spirit among similar organizations much better equipment starts to reveal itself each and every model year. Yes, some technology may move a bit faster than one would hope and yes most would say “you’ve got it perfect now don’t go and change it, just leave it alone!” Just remember if Henry Ford never pushed for assembly line production where would we be today?

So we may be hesitant at first, but like anything else, we continue to see how these new track-equipped tools bring forward a new direction to an old process, which is now run by a much younger mindset.

On the flip side, the rubber tire version of the same track mounted counterpart often provides larger production rates. This is based on more real estate to get all these components positioned together to do what we need them to do. This extra real-estate typically provides much easier maintenance and repair projects generally keeping the frustration levels a bit lower which usually equates into a more thorough and quality done repair. The rubber tire machines don’t typically require a larger and therefore, more costly transporter to get them from job site to job site making for cheaper mobilization costs being bid into the work. So with these three key points in mind when bidding a job, you can quickly see that rubber tire plants may still be the King of the Castle for all around versatility.

Back to the track-mounted machine and some of their key marketable features that often stand ahead in an argument.

Most younger generation employees seem to relate better to all the electronic features and of course, joystick controls. They think how cool it is to be able to drive the plant into position and better still when in conjunction with another track mounted machine and just hit the “GO” buttons; and start feeding within minutes of job-site delivery. This while the old guys are still running wires/chords, driving in ground rods, and checking rotations on motors. Not to mention greasing multiple grease points from one end to the other, blocking and leveling, training and tracking and setting up all the transition conveyors. I’m guessing one can quickly understand the benefits this younger generation is quickly realizing and throw on top of it all, the performance recording logic that practically creates the production reports — sending them directly to their personal smartphone of choice. Who knows? Within the next twenty years, they may actually be running these track plants from the seat of their work truck while the autonomous mine trucks (already in existence) and loaders supply them.

Another key environment in which these tracked machines shine are the small demolition sights where you could never imagine the larger tired machine even coming close into position. So being a smaller footprint of a machine in this case has its advantages in being best suited for a smaller area application.

Design engineers have continued to build a more user friendly, trustworthy, productive, and even universally adaptive machine that truly is becoming more maintenance and repair friendly and in years to come especially for the aggregate and recycling industries. Because of these ongoing advancements there will definitely be other manufacturers bringing their versions to market too.

I’m guessing by now most organizations have likely tried a track mounted machine and most likely there is still a “love it” or “hate it” feeling, so I say to each his own. What may not work for you can definitely be viable down the street and vise-versa. So sit back and see where all this plays out, I know I will continue watching.

Please, if you enjoy these random aggregate and quarrying equipment based subjects, tune in for more topics to come. Send me a subject or topic you would like brought to light and any associated questions you would like to have discussed and I will gladly provide my best answer based upon my specific point of view and personal experience.

Questions or Comments? Tim Holmberg prairiedawg@pdpractical.com. Or simply write me a letter and we will send you a T-Shirt or Ball Cap: Tim Holmberg, 2915 Idea Ave., Aberdeen, SD 57401.


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