What is value when it comes to rubber tracks?


The English language is full of cliches and sayings passed down through the generations. We use them most every day, but do we actually believe that they were formed out of real experiences, proved time and time again throughout the eons.

Penny rich and pound poor.
All that glitters isn’t gold.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
So many examples we take for granted.

So……what has this got to do with rubber tracks?
Let me explain.

We have a long-term rental company customer in Queensland with a fleet of mini-excavators and track loaders.  We have maintained a good relationship and things seemed to be going well until………we find out the company has been sold and there is new owners and management.

One of our QLD based reps received a call,

We have 3 identical track loaders going out west for a long-term rental at a mine site.  We can’t afford problems so we want to fit new tracks on all the machines before sending them out, can you please quote.

To cut a long story short, in line with the new purchasing policy, three prices were obtained and TKV’s Tufftrac rubber tracks came in approx. 10% more expensive for purchase price.  We were asked to explain and/or match the cheaper pricing.

To use another common cliché, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and this is never more apt than describing rubber tracks.  They are all black and unless you are an experienced rubber engineer, it is extremely difficult to tell quality from the outside.  So we decided to prove another famous cliché – the proof of the pudding is in the eating.  On that basis the client decided to fit rubber tracks from different suppliers on each of the machines as an experiment to see which tracks were truly the best.

It must be pointed out that in addition to fitting Tufftrac rubber tracks on one of the track loaders, there was a set from a large multi-national earthmoving parts supplier and another from a recognized local supplier with office locations from East to West in Australia.  These were reputable suppliers both of which have nice websites extolling the quality of their rubber tracks.

Fast forward six months later and we get a call, one of the tracks has broken out West, we don’t know whose it is but can you help?  And help is what we do best.  At that time all three machines were working in the same application, at the same site and had all done similar hours (between 250 and 300).  The results speak for themselves – to use yet another cliché, a picture speaks a thousand words????

Competitor One – total cable failure at 250 hours

Cheap rubber tracks - Competitor One – total cable failure at 250 hours

Competitor Two: Severe roller path damage with track near failure (note brand has been blurred)

Cheap rubber tracks - Competitor Two: Severe roller path damage with track near failure (note brand has been blurred)

And keeping the best for last – Tufftrac – perfect condition.

Cheap rubber tracks - Tufftrac – perfect condition

As expected, the customer was very pleased and convinced, he had his eyes opened as they say, and we went on with life and promptly forgot about this experiment.  Note this was back in November 2019, but our customer hadn’t forgotten!!

Yesterday we received a call,

Remember those tracks you supplied for that experiment a year or two back?  They’ve just come back into the yard, why don’t you come and take a look?

So we did.

Here’s the results after 950 hours of operation: worn but still operational.

Cheap rubber tracks - Tufftracs - after 950 hours of operation: worn but still operational

With very limited wear on the roller path

Cheap rubber tracks - Tufftracs - very limited wear on the roller path

The customer expects to get another 200 hours at the current rate before having to replace.

So let’s look at the big picture for a moment.  Who’s tracks were really the cheapest?  Tufftrac wins out every way you look at it.

OK we admit it might be a little more up-front, but with 3-5 times more life achieved with no down-time during that operation, arguably you could say that Tufftrac in this case was about 1/3 the price.  That is true value in rubber tracks.

So what’s the moral of the story – I feel another cliché coming on so try this one for size, “you get what you pay for”.  Yep, Grandpa was right all along.

– Ash Collins, Managing Director

See our Tufftrac range, use our parts finder or contact us for a quote.


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