The Right Tool for the Job by Richard Campbell

Have you ever been in one of those situations when you needed a tool to do a task, didn’t have the right one and had to make do ?

During trips around our green & pleasant land over the years I have witnessed this many times over on various jobsites.

It usually involves using too small a machine to do the work of something larger and oftentimes it is because the contractor either bought or hired the wrong machine in the first place.

A classic case in point was recent work on the electrification of the Auckland rail corridor where 3½ and 5½ ton excavators were employed digging out the new rail bed.

It is all basalt and volcanic flow where I live and these poor things were battering themselves to death trying to scratch out this evil stuff when what was really required was a 20 ton or larger excavator.

Eventually common sense kicked in and a larger machine was acquired for the task – the right tool for the job.

Economically it would have made far more sense to use the larger machine in the first place as the damage committed to the smaller machines would have cost more money to fix than what it would have done to have the larger machine on site operating efficiently.

Another grizzle I have is the widespread use of bulldozers with LGP track shoes being used inappropriately.

cat_d6h_lgp_bulldozer_used_caterpillar_d6h_dozer_wide_track

Bulldozer with LGP track shoes- “Are they fitted appropriately? “asks the author..

There have been a lot of these tractors imported second-hand from Asia fitted with apex LGP track shoes, and in the swampy conditions found in some of these countries they are certainly the right tool for the job.

However, there is a rule – “always use the narrowest track shoe that provides adequate flotation”.

There is sound reasoning behind this thinking. If you don’t follow the rules you will end up with bent track shoes, broken shoe bolts, accelerated sprocket wear plus you will continuously twisting the track chain unnecessarily over rocks & uneven ground. LGP shoes were not designed for that.

You may have got a great deal on your newly imported tractor but when it comes to undercarriage and the tasks you have planned for it, are the tracks “the right tool for the job”?

I see a lot of track type tractors with the wrong “feet” on them, so do your bank balance a favour. Undercarriage is not cheap to replace at any time.

I may have just saved you a bit of money!

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