Since rubber tracks were developed and began to see usage in agriculture applications there has been a great debate around tires vs tracks.
There in reality is probably no clear winner they both have pros and cons.
Let's look at it from some of the factors by which they are judged;
Tire pressure - inflation rate
Length / width of track
Foot print of tire - flat plate measurement
Soil condition - wet/dry
Cost of maintenance
Original and replacement cost
Let's begin with tire pressure. Here is a technical finding from a Firestone Ag study;
If the inflation pressure of the tires is less than 20 psi, tires transmit less contact pressure to the soil compared to tracks.
From 20 to 35 psi, the tracks and wheel systems were comparable.
If the inflation pressure of the tires are above 35 psi, the track system had lower contact pressure than the tires.
Tracks don’t go flat like a tire this is an advantage.
Length and width of track like the footprint of a tire has a lot to do with the pressure exerted on the soil. Track assemblies add weight to the implement over the float tire application this must be compensated for by having a sufficient size track to distribute weight correctly.
Soil type and condition have a lot to do with how tracks or tires effect compaction. Tracks have a traction advantage over tires in wet soils, but a properly inflated tire and a track have about the same compaction effect.
Tracks are limited to lower speeds for transport than tracks. There is more maintenance to tracks in keeping tensions adjusted correctly and idler rollers adjusted and lubricated.
Original cost of tracks over tire is significant. The cost can be in excess of 3x for tracks what a tire application is. Replacement cost is typically 2 times for tracks of what tires will be.
All things considered there may be a certain combination of things that may make tracks a useful option , but the overall economic indication is that tires are more viable when it comes to providing a return for investment.
Command Float Tire Systems provide an innovative solution to a simple, but widespread problem. Float Tire systems nearly double the tire contact with the soils!
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