How to measure and replace rubber tracks

Undercarriage - 18/10/2023

In the earth moving machine sector, rubber tracks need to be replaced when they become worn or damaged, choosing the most suitable ones for each machine type and use.

There are numerous factors to consider for correct replacement, which include accurate rubber track measurements, and assessing the uses they will serve on the relevant machine.

Like all the other undercarriage components, rubber tracks wear out and get damaged over time. To ensure that earth moving machines keep working effectively, without overloading other components and so further increasing maintenance costs, they need to be periodically replaced.

The video shows the steps for carrying out the rubber track replacement procedure quickly and safely. 

Correctly measuring the rubber tracks enables you to identify the ideal replacements. The size is sometimes printed inside the tracks that need replacing, but sometimes the figures are worn down and difficult to read.

It is therefore important to know how to measure rubber tracks for correct replacement. Three figures are required to establish the size:

  1. Track width (in millimetres): e.g. 180 mm

  2. Longitudinal spacing, in millimetres, between the internal traction elements (metal inserts or rubber cleats): e.g. 60 mm

  3. The number of teeth inside the track: e.g. 37

misurazione cingoli in gomma ENG

The example figures give the following rubber track size: 180x60x37.


When should rubber tracks be replaced?

Rubber tracks need to be replaced when they reach the end of their normal operating life. A worn down tread pattern might no longer provide adequate grip between machine and terrain.

Rubber tracks can also be damaged before wearing out, for example due to breakage of the internal steel wires and cables, detachment or breakdown of the tread pattern, or detachment of the internal metal inserts.

In this respect, users should remember that good practice can help to keep tracks in efficient working condition for as long as possible. These procedures include: regular visual checks and cleaning, correct tensioning, adequate storage, periodic maintenance, and lubrication of the other undercarriage components.

Rubber track types

When changing tracks it is important to remember that earth moving machines are not all the same. There are different types of rubber track designed for machines of varying sizes and powers, as well as for the diverse tasks they have to carry out. 

Differences include the composition of the rubber compound, presence of a metal core, the shape of the wheel guides, and a range of track patterns, providing rubber tracks capable of delivering variable performance and designed for specific applications.

When replacing rubber tracks it is thus necessary to consider not just the size but also the most appropriate and best versions to perform the foreseen work. The main types of ITR rubber tracks are as follows.

Conventional rubber tracks

Conventional rubber tracks are designed so that the wheels do not come into contact with the metal guides. Their design means that they can only be used on undercarriages designed for use only with rubber tracks and not steel tracks. 

Interchangeable rubber tracks

Unlike conventional tracks, interchangeable tracks can be used on undercarriages designed for either rubber or steel tracks. The wheels engage with these tracks in the same way as for steel tracks.

Rubber tracks with non-metal core (NMC)

NMC rubber tracks are very light and flexible. These advantages are the result of a special rubber compound and internal cables for heavy use. The width of the tracks and tread design also provide greater traction and reduced sinkage.

Rubber tracks for green area maintenance

Rubber tracks for green area maintenance can have tread profiles that are more or less incisive according to circumstances, which can include steep slopes or the need to protect grass turf.

Rubber tracks for agricultural machines

Rubber tracks designed specifically for agricultural machines ensure enhanced toughness and elasticity, together with very high traction to deal with poorly compacted terrain. They are suitable for diverse applications both on large powerful machines and lighter equipment for vineyards and orchards that require stability without damaging the ground.

Anti-vibration rubber tracks (AV)

Anti-vibration rubber tracks have metal cores and guides designed to limit vibration and reduce track weight. The diamond-shaped guide design ensures that the wheels roll more smoothly. When moving over uneven surfaces these can reduce vehicle vibration noise by up to 75%.

Non-marking rubber tracks

Finally, non-marking rubber tracks are the ideal choice when it is important to avoid marking paved surfaces during work (e.g. old town centres, or inside industrial warehouses). A special rubber compound ensures minimum damage to supporting surfaces.

Would you like to learn more about ITR USCO rubber tracks and how to replace them?

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Any manufacturers’ names, brand or product names, trademarks, part numbers, symbols, drawings, images, colours and descriptions appearing in this document are for reference purposes only, and it is not implied that any part listed is the product of these manufacturers. All trademarks and registered trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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