Importance of Crawler Crane Undercarriage Maintenance
Crawler cranes are incredibly fascinating when it comes to heavy machinery. They play a crucial role in the construction, shipbuilding, and mining industries, powering numerous projects.
However, maintaining crawler cranes can be quite expensive, especially when it comes to replacing and repairing the crawler crane undercarriage parts. Typically, a major repair or replacement of the crane’s undercarriage is needed every one to two years. Among all the crawler crane undercarriage parts, the track shoe is particularly susceptible to wear and tear. Are you familiar with the wear pattern of track shoes?
Understanding the Wear Pattern of Track Shoes
Crawler crane undercarriages rely on the smooth operation of their track pins and holes. Under normal conditions, the track pin gradually rotates backward within the hole. As these components wear evenly, the hole gradually becomes larger, while the pin becomes thinner.
However, improper operation, such as high-speed turning, sudden starts, or encounters with muddy water and weeds, can cause blockage of the pins. In such cases, excessive pressure leads to bending and sagging of both sides of the track shoe.
As a result, the pins deform and bend, hindering smooth rotation within the hole. This creates sliding friction between the pin and the hole, limited to a small contact surface area.
Over time, the pin gradually bends, and the hole takes on an oval shape.
What makes Undercarriage trouble?
The enlarged hole causes the track pitch to lengthen. (The pitch refers to the center distance between the holes at both ends of the track shoe.) As a consequence, the track shoe and the drive wheel start grinding against each other. This leads to wear on the track shoe and the drive wheel’s teeth becoming knife-edged.
Measurements have shown that when the pitch changes from 174 mm to 184 mm, the opening width of the drive wheel teeth changes from 87 mm to 97 mm. At this point, the normal rolling engagement between the track shoe and the drive wheel is completely compromised.
The elongated track shoe pitch also results in the support wheels jumping during movement, which accelerates the wear of the track shoe track. If the wear on the track shoe exceeds 4 mm, it should be repaired.
The wear on the guide part of the track shoe is primarily caused by track deviation, severe deformation of the track shoe, and excessive axial shaking of the support wheel and guide wheel. Track shoes that are heavily worn or damaged at the meshing part with the drive wheel are commonly discarded.
Essential Skills For Undercarriage Repair
First and foremost, due to the different shapes of the crawler shoe, there are some variations in the planning and installation of the four rollers.
Secondly, it is crucial to consider the pitch of the trackpads in crawler cranes, as most of them are connected by pins. Poor planning in this regard can lead to operational issues, such as knocking and accelerated wear of the trackpads. This not only reduces the service life of the pads but also increases repair costs.
Thirdly, the positioning of the four wheels in a crawler crane should align with the shape of the crawler shoe. If the wheel gap is smaller than the wedge shape of the pad, it will lead to accelerated wear of the gap during the rolling process, while reducing the lifespan of the rollers.
Lastly, the repair process for crawler cranes is similar to that of excavators and bulldozers. However, due to their heavier weight, it is essential to have adequate lifting equipment available nearby.
To minimize the cost of replacing the chassis, we recommend that owners regularly inspect the undercarriage to address minor issues promptly and prevent damage to other components.
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