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Caterpillar Track Safety

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Describe the different safety precautions for unwrapping tracks on elevated sprocket vs. oval track machines.
When it comes to unwrapping tracks, certain safety precautions must be taken in order to be sure that nobody is injured or killed while doing this process. The two different track types are elevated track, which is most commonly found on CAT bulldozers. The other type is oval track, this is often found on excavators and track loaders. Elevated tracks are more dangerous to unwrap than oval track. Therefore, it is crucial that certain safety precautions should be followed while performing the task.
Elevated track is more dangerous because of the fact that the track is raised on an incline in order to contact the sprocket on the final drive. All track tension should be removed before beginning removal. It is common to remove the axles from the final drive which will allow the final drive to rotate freely. Once the track is disconnected, the weight pulling on the final drive can cause the tracks to unravel on their own. The tracks should be blocked before disconnecting in order to keep the track from rotating and the machine should be raised off the ground on proper rated jackstands. Be sure to position the track links that will be removed between the final drive and the rear idler. Be sure to clean the bushings and track links before using the proper tooling for separating the track to insure the tool works properly. When using a track press, make sure suitable lifting equipment is used to support the tooling. Also never remove the upper rigid guard or lower flexible guard on the track press while under pressure. Make sure that the pins are pressed out evenly also. Use a suitable lifting device to support the track in order to lower it to the ground for unwrapping.
Oval track is not quite as difficult because the track is not raised on an incline. First you must loosen the track tension on the machine. Next you must wedge a pin in the saddle of the sprocket segment so that it contacts the roller frame and does not allow the machine to roll. Be sure to use proper rated jack stands in order to raise the machine off the ground. The track should be blocked at the ground also, just below the master link. Use a fork lift in order to raise the master link so that the block can be removed to allow the track to reach the ground.
All in all both elevated and oval track can be very dangerous if the correct safety precautions are not followed. If the technician takes time to ensure that he/she follows the correct steps as listed above, that technician can prevent him or others working with or around them from being injured or killed also. It is important to follow safety guidelines when working because the most important thing is safety in the workplace.

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