The upgrade reconfigures the crawler undercarriage to allow drive shaft and tumbler replacement from the outboard side, which improves access and can decrease downtime by days. In addition, improved component design can extend durability and increase component life to reduce costs even further.
The new design slashes maintenance time and enhances safety by enabling access to drive components without removing the propel transmission. Additionally, Caterpillar engineered the upgrade to be a direct replacement. No machining of the crawler frame is required for installation.
The new design also is robust. Thrust loads are evenly distributed on large tapered roller bearings as opposed to bronze thrust plates, and the bearings are sealed and continuously purged with fresh grease to keep them free of contaminants. The result is increased durability in harsh environments and alignment with 25,000-hour planned rebuilds.
The propel drive system upgrade has operated successfully for thousands of hours in field validation.