14 April 2000

TRACKEDCRAWLERS INDEMAND:DEALER

More rubber tracked

machines could soon be seen

on UK farms following the

introduction of a new range

of tracked carriers being sold

through Lincs machinery

dealer Robert Crawford.

Geoff Ashcroft reports

ROBERT Crawford has a long association with crawlers and other tracked equipment, and his latest venture continues that tradition.

Having sold about eight new Morooka rubber tracked crawlers in the last two years on behalf of UK importer Yuasa Warwick Machinery, the Frithville, Boston-based dealer has now extended his portfolio with Morookas latest rubber tracked carriers.

Although the range has been developed with construction and industrial applications in mind, Mr Crawford can see the carriers meeting the needs of many growers and contractors who find themselves operating in less than favourable field conditions.

"The low ground pressure and light operating weight of these tracked carriers could prove a useful addition to many beet and vegetable operations," he says. "In soft going, growers need to preserve the soil structure as best they can, and these rubber tracked carriers could hold the key to getting many crops off wet, soft fields."

The six-model Morooka Trax Carrier range extends from the 2.5 tonne capacity 46hp model 300, up to the 15t capacity model 3300 powered by a 400hp Cummins engine.

Unlike traditional crawler steering systems, the hydrostatic steering used by the Trax Carriers allows both tracks to slip which keeps rubber track wear to a minimum and also limits ground damage more commonly associated with conventional braked steering systems used on some crawlers.

Transmissions are hydrostatic, with low and high ranges offering speeds of up to 8kph and 12kph respectively.

"Theyre not fast, but they do tread very lightly," says Mr Crawford. Seen as an alternative to tractor and trailer combinations, the Morooka Trax Carrier range exhibits low ground pressure – with its 15t payload, the range-topping 3300 tips the scales at 34t when laden, exerting a ground pressure of 5.9psi. The smaller 6.3t capacity 1500 has a laden ground pressure of less than 4psi.

In standard guise, the Trax Carriers come with shallow sided tipping bodies, but Mr Crawford reckons modified bodies with high sides and high tip capability, and even a demount system, could extend the versatility of the Japan-built machines.

"We can adapt the carriers to provide demountable bodies so growers can use the machines for spraying and spreading," says Mr Crawford. "By extending the sides of the bodies, bulk loads can be hauled away from a harvester, making full use of the Trax Carriers low ground pressure."

However, such flotation characteristics do not come cheaply. The range is priced from £28,000 for the 2.5t capacity 300, rising to £140,000 for the 400hp 3300. &#42

This version is perhaps more at home on a construction site, but with careful adaptation, can be put to use hauling crops away from harvesting equipment in soft, wet conditions. Models with capacities of up to 15t are available.

Lincs machinery dealer Robert Crawford sees Morookas low ground pressure rubber tracked carriers as a useful alternative to heavy tractor/trailer combinations, particularly in poor conditions.