Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

OCT 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Left One option that encompasses both attributes of tracks and tires are "over the tire tracks," or OTT tracks. To attach them to a skid steer, simply drive over them and connect them just like snow chains. They come in both metal and rubber options, with vary- ing tread patterns. Pictured is the OTT Diamond by McLaren Indus- tries, which range in price from $2,200 – $3,699 depending on size. Below This 9.5"x 8" turf tire is manufac- tured by Carlisle and distributed by R&R Products for $54.95 apiece. The manu- facturer's website states that the best application for this tire is on the front swivel casters of larger, zero-turn ride- on mowers that are used for applications such as golf course maintenance. 50 LCDBM continued from page 48 support the machine and distribute pressure through the use of specialized spokes. The main advantage of having these is that they can never go flat. Mi- chelin's "Tweel," first revealed back in 2005, is a good example of a non-pneumatic tire. A traction comparison between tracks and tires is going to be lopsided battle. However, based on my research, there are at least two distinct times when tires are going to give you better traction than tracks. An article found on Dominion Equipment Parts' website comparing tires to tracks, states the follow - ing: "In some conditions, tires actually can offer better traction; for example, in snow, the increased down pressure that tires provide can provide greater forward power by penetrating underneath the snow to reach a surface with firmer traction." Although tracks are a good choice for grading projects due to their minimal ground disturbances (as stated above), tires are actually better at ground compaction because they have a higher pound per square inch in very specific areas. Tracks are going to distribute the machine's weigh across a much larger area, which is great for stability, but not so great if you want to compact a subbase. One last advantage that tires have over tracks is their speed. In a 1998 study, which looked at the difference between tracks and tires for a new U.S. army combat vehicle, conducted by Paul Hornback, a general engineer for the federal government, he found that, "Wheeled vehicles inherently attain faster road speeds…" The reason is simple, it takes a lot more energy for the machine to turn those large tracks than it does for it to turn the smaller, lighter wheels. In Conclusion To sum everything up, both tires and tracks are going to present advantages and disadvantages. You are generally going to want tracks if the majority of your work is done in loose soil, steep terrain or mud. A normal set of four tires is going to perform better on concrete, grassy areas, and snow as well as reduce fuel consumption. Based on independent research, a general cost comparison between tracks and tires can be esti - mated at about $350 for a set of pneumatic tires, $700 for non-pneumatic and anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for the over the tire track option, depend- ing on the retailer. At the end of the day, choosing between tracks or tires for your equipment is a personal choice. Maybe one is better than the other for your fleet; deciding that is going to take a little self-reflection on the type of work you generally do and how often that work is being conducted. LC DBM

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