Penner & Lewis Rock Technologies Ltd.

Tracked or Conventional (Wheel-mounted) Portable

Considerations

Tracked

Portable (wheel-mounted)

Equipment application – keeping in mind similar capacity crusher models should be compared

Mobilization; job to job. Or, how many times do you move per year? Subject to transport weights and dimensional limitations, these plants are typically much faster to set up and tear down. We have had input from operators indicating a 30 minute setup time for a tracked plant versus 2 to 4 hours for a wheeled crushing plant.
Mobilization; on site These are typically much more mobile on site, and often available with remote controls. (See our new technology section.) Wheeled plants must be maneuvered into place, then blocked in place while electrical cables & controls are hooked up.
Project type and size; existing and future Logically, smaller jobs making fewer products favour tracked plants due to their mobility and very quick setup times. Conversely, larger jobs with multiple products tend to favour wheel-mounted plants. Material flows can more easily be changed by adding external conveyors – and/or equipment (e.g. screens).
Proposed new crushing equipment “fit” with you’re your existing equipment, including your loading equipment (note: loader versus excavator) Primary models typically have smaller loading hoppers requiring excavators. Most have self-contained diesel power & screens and crushers can often “talk” electronically to each other if the manufacturer is the same. Wheeled primary plants are usually fed by wheel loaders, while tracked plants typically use excavators.  Wheeled plants are typically more easily customized to suit your specific needs.
Mobility of your complete crushing spread. One big benefit (payback) of tracked plants is their mobility. You should assess the overall mobility of your tracked spread if for example you have conventional conveyors. See our new technology section.) Hydraulic cylinders for leveling chassis’, moving & folding conveyors & catwalk, help reduce set-up and tear down times.
Crushing hours/day for your typical project This is subjective – talk to other operators.  We have heard that single shift applications may suit tracked crushers better due to more maintenance requirements. There is a debate about whether simpler wheel mounted crushers can achieve higher mechanical availabilities.  We believe they can.
Mining applications: for aggregate & road base In general, for on-site aggregate & road base applications, tracked plants are typically not designed to “mining duty” standards and should only be considered if they are to be operated on a single shift basis. Wheel-mounted crushing & screening plants can much more easily be upgraded to mining duty standards in terms of components. Also, there is generally more room for maintenance access, ensuring higher mechanical availabilities.

Internal factors; those impacted by your existing company

Experience of your operators Many are PLC controlled with comprehensive diagnostics. More complex hydraulics & electrical systems are commonplace requiring more skilled & better-trained maintenance staff. Most typical “spreads” have a power van with pop-up operator’s cabin, a diesel genset and electrical power & control cables to connect to chassis motors – generally less complex or more commonly understood.
Experience of maintenance personnel See above – the issues are the same.
Maintenance issues Access space is typically more confined and maintenance can slip due to more difficult access – causing relatively more downtime. In abrasive applications where replacement of components, wear items and liners is ongoing – there is an argument for simpler, less confined (wheeled) chassis.
Maintenance costs; this is somewhat more complicated than a straight machine to machine comparison Tracked chassis conveyors, electrical controls & hydraulics are typically more complex. Wheeled plants typically use external generator power & electrical controls, which also require (usually less) maintenance.
Learning curve These plants carry a learning curve – we recommend you adjust your production (tph/shift) expectations at the start. ALL new equipment carries a learning curve. The issue is initial production expectations on a job.
Capital versus operating costs as impacted by your company philosophy Careful comparison of features and options are important. Our discussions with operators indicate maintenance costs on these plants are lower, compared to tracked plants.

External considerations; costs, safety & environmental regulations, competition, and trends

Economic life of equipment vis-a-vis capital cost.  We encourage you to do your homework and assess auction results by manufacturer. Our analysis indicates auction values for tracked plants as a % of new prices are lower than conventional (wheeled) plants. In other words, they depreciate more quickly. We encourage you to look at a “net” capital cost = original purchase price <less> resale value for both tracked and wheeled plants.  It also varies significantly by manufacturers’ brands.
Transport restrictions; dimensions and weight Don’t forget to factor in the weight & dimensions of all options. The same issues apply here.
Environmental laws/regulations on site vis-a-vis trucking & disposal fees Sometimes on recycle projects or contaminated sites, you are required to crush on site and use the product for back-fill. Tracked plants fit this bill. Portable plants typically have less dust suppression options; wet sprays and dust covers available. Mobilization & movement on site are more time consuming.
Safety regulations; guarding, dust suppression, contaminants (fuel spill/leak) containment, confined space and fall arrest provisions. Higher-cost tracked plants typically have more dust suppression (wet sprays and dust covers), sound attenuation options available and acceptable safety guarding. Safety shutdowns can be an issue. Local regulations for guarding are usually more easily achieved on wheeled plants – only a comparative issue if the tracked plants do not meet local requirements.
Plant & crusher servicing – job locations; remote or close to services Who will trouble-shoot – your own personnel or dealer service staff? Are dealer service personnel available? These plants are typically less complex and can be maintained by your own personnel.
Your competition – what type of plants are they using?  Why? Note the question “why?”  Are they smart or did they inherit their equipment? Same issue – why?  The issue in both cases is, which type generates the lowest unit production costs for you?
Future project sizes; are they becoming smaller or larger in your territory? Note the “simplistic opinion” in our initial comments. We believe larger or more complex jobs will continue to favour wheeled portables.

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