Proper track shoes are crucial for crawler crane performance and safety, yet many owners need to give them more thought. The wrong track shoes can lead to reduced capacity, slippery travel, and hazardous operating conditions. At Value Crane in Dalian, China, we’ve seen the damage worn out and unsuitable track shoes can cause. Don’t let your crane lose its grip! Use this guide to select Crawler Crane Track Shoes for your needs.
Consider Your Typical Terrain and Conditions
One of the most significant factors in choosing proper crawler crane track shoes is the terrain and ground conditions you regularly face. Will the crane mostly travel over firm, gravel surfaces? Or does it need optimal traction for marshy, muddy areas?
Steel shoes perform well on compacted soils and offer a long lifespan but don’t provide the best grip. Rubber track shoes with aggressive treads excel in softer conditions like mud and sand. There are even paddle-style and heat-treated track shoes for optimal swamp performance.
Think about the typical ground your crane handles. Get the shoes engineered for those environments. Mixing and matching aren’t recommended.
Pick Shoes Matched to Your Crane’s Capacity
Always select track shoes rated for your crawler crane’s lifting capacity. Undersized track shoes put excessive strain on the equipment. They also increase the risk of shoes cracking or de-tracking under heavy loads.
Conversely, oversized shoes add unnecessary weight, which reduces manoeuvrability and travel speed. They can also lead to slippage and wear issues.
Work closely with your track shoe supplier to choose the optimal size based on your crane model and configurations. They have the engineering data to match shoes to capacities properly. Don’t assume one size fits all.
Balance Lifespan with Performance
You want track shoes that provide good service life to avoid frequent replacement. But heavily worn shoes reduce traction and crawler crane handling. Finding the right balance is key.
Heat-treated track shoes often provide the most extended lifespan but may sacrifice grip compared to softer rubber materials. Lugged rubber shoes offer tremendous traction but wear faster under abrasive conditions.
Prioritize performance for sensitive lifts and slippery areas. In those cases, replace shoes more often to maintain optimal grip. Consider more complex track shoes to extend intervals between changes in less demanding conditions.
Proper Maintenance Dramatically Extends Life
With routine care, you can maximize the service lifespan of your crawler crane’s track shoes. Here are some best practices:
- Inspect and clean shoes regularly to spot issues early
- Lubricate pivot points to prevent binding and wear
- Watch for uneven wear and rotate/flip shoes
- Replace badly worn or damaged shoes immediately
Your operator’s manual provides detailed maintenance schedules and procedures. Investing a little time in care pays off with more excellent safety, performance, and cost savings.
Key Track Shoe Innovations Over the Years
Today’s track shoes benefit from decades of engineering advances. Some key innovations include:
- Grouser bars – These protruding bars on shoe treads improve traction in soft conditions. Their spacing, height, and angling are optimized for different environments.
- Central guiding wheels – Guiding wheels mounted at the center of track shoes help stabilize the crane and reduce sideways deflection. This improves safety and control.
- Bogie wheels – Having load-bearing wheels at both ends of track shoes distributes weight better and reduces stress/strain during travel.
- Heat treating – Heating and quenching rubber shoes make them harder and more wear-resistant while providing good traction.
- Paddle/cleat designs – Aggressive paddle-style treads give maximum grip in swampy, marshy areas.
Today’s shoes offer the accumulated advantages of past innovations. Take complete benefit by selecting shoes engineered specifically for your operating conditions.
Signs Your Track Shoes Need Replacement
With routine inspection, you can spot when your crawler crane’s track shoes need replacing before serious problems occur. Watch for:
- Excess cracking/gouging – Major cuts, chunks, or cracks mean the shoe’s structural integrity is compromised.
- Detracking – Replacement is needed if shoes are loose, slipping off, or moving out of alignment.
- Visible metal – Exposed metal reinforcing means rubber has worn through. Metal contacting the ground accelerates wear.
- Grouser wear – Grouser bars help provide traction. If badly worn down, replace the shoes.
- Travel vibration – If travel feels rough and uneven, worn shoes may be causing imbalance.
- Sinking/settling – If the crane sinks into soft ground abnormally, shoes have insufficient gripping ability.
- Reduced speed/power – Worn shoes require more energy for travel, reducing speed and fuel efficiency.
Consult your operator’s manual for wear limits and specific replacement criteria. Catching issues early saves money!
Choose the Right Grip for Your Crane’s Needs
Selecting the optimal crawler crane track shoes involves weighing many factors – capacity, terrain, desired lifespan, and ease of maintenance. But the rewards are enormous in terms of equipment handling, safety, and total cost of ownership. Only operate your crane with worn-out or correct shoes. Get a grip on selecting the right track shoes today!
For expert guidance in choosing track shoes for your specific crawler crane, contact the team at Value Crane in Dalian, China. We carry all major brands and provide tailored recommendations. Let our experience keep your crane on solid footing.