GUELPH, Ont. — Manure, mud and debris have been the bane of rubber tracks for decades, and that’s a major factor behind Soucy’s new track design.
The problem is especially bad for livestock producers who use their tractors in the acidic environment of soupy, sloppy manure, often mixed with sand, according to Soucy’s Percy Collins.
“On the tracks before, we had a box frame for the wheels, but that wasn’t working so well,” he said during an interview at the recent Manure Expo in Guelph.
“We developed a casting for the frames. Now it’s totally enclosed so there’s no shit or mud of dirt getting into the sealed unit,” he said adding the new systems came out about a year ago.
The new models come with new names, like the S-Tech 600 and S-Tech 800 and tracks are available for all colours of tractors.
Collins said the S-Tech 800 for high horsepower tractors has seen the most change from previous models.
He pointed out that the drive wheel splits into two 180 degree halves for easier installation.
The dynamic tensioner uses pressurized nitrogen in an accumulator to maintain the optimal tension on the belts.
He conceded that the accumulator is a standalone component on each track unit. If nitrogen pressure is lost, the leak must be located and repaired and the accumulator must be charged up again.
The S-Tech 600 designed for mid-range tractors still uses a mechanical tensioner at each track unit, which requires a shut down of the tractor.
However, Collins said the 600 series shares one important trait with the larger track units. The systems are designed to maintain the tractors original gearing.
Drive wheel size is specific to every tractor model being fitted with Soucy tracks.
This ensures that ground speed in each gear is the same as with rubber tires on the same tractor, and that the drivetrain is not overloaded.
Another engineering feature running through the Soucy line is the use of positive drive cogs on all belts instead of friction drive.
Collins said this feature is especially important with tractors working in mud and manure.
The whole line of Soucy tractor track systems is designed for four-track machines.