Tractive Systems For Harvesting - Tracks Versus Wheels?
This table provides a comparison of these two tractive methods for harvesting equipment.
|Tractive power||High compared to its weight and power||Lower|
|Soil damage - compaction||Less – weight is distributed over a large area, thus the specific soil pressure is lower||High – weight distributed over a smaller area (band tracks can help)|
|Soil damage – top soil||More damage to organic matter and cutting effect of topsoil||
If used properly, damage to organic matter is much less. Comparatively lower.
|Costs||Track cost is comparatively higher – especially when working in very rocky areas and sandy soils. Long life can reduce overall cost.||Comparatively lower. Machines with many wheels can have high tyre costs, especially with high tyre wear and the use of specialised forestry tyres.|
|Ground clearance||Lower for construction excavators, but similar to wheels for purpose-built machines||Higher|
|Centre of gravity||Lower and more stable, can be used on steep terrain||Higher, more unstable, especially if articulated|
|Turning circle||Tighter – can turn in the length of the vehicle||Wider|
|Transport over long distances||Must be loaded onto a truck||Can drive a reasonable distance and less damage to roads. Care must be taken not to exceed manufacturer specifications|
|Maintenance||Less regular but at a higher cost and longer time||More frequent but cheaper and less time used|
|Flexibility for different conditions||Not flexible, tracks cannot be changed.||More flexible, wheel chains and band tracks can be used.|
Source: Michal and Andrew