By Greg Fenrick

It wasn’t until I was contacted by Dura-Tuff Wear Products LLC over three years ago that I found out what a grouser bar was. For those new to grouser bars, these are the horizontal bars on tracked equipment, such as a dozer, that provide traction, as shown below. Grouser is a very interesting word, although I’m not sure the significance of this, but according to Answer.com, grouser has two meanings. In engineering terms, a grouser is a temporary pile or a heavy, iron-shod pole driven into the bottom of a stream to hold a drilling or dredging boat or other floating object in position (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms). The second meaning, according to Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, Third Edition, refers to a person who habitually complains or grumbles.

Now that the definitions are out of the way, how do grouser bars save money? Apparently there is a reshoeing myth out there that states, “Once a grouser bar is worn it’s time to reshoe, right?” But according Dura-Tuff, 60-80% of the time this is not true. Worn track shoes can be regrousered, saving thousands of dollars over reshoeing. I really like their analogy - Would you “buy a new wheel” every time you need to “replace a tire”? This makes sense to me. In effect, what Dura-Tuff is saying, is that equipment owners can save up to $13,000 regrousering one machine and hundreds of thousands regrousering a fleet of dozers. This is why well informed heavy equipment owners have been regrousering their machines since 1942 as a means of saving money in their undercarriage maintenance programs.

Dura-Tuff’s grouser bars are through-hardened to about 53 on the Rockwell-C scale, which is very hard for a steel bar as thick as a grouser bars. In field studies, Dura-Tuff grouser bars last about 1,000 hours longer than competitive bar. Dura-Tuff’s grouser bar is very carefully formulated to get the optimum hardness. If the grouser bar is harder than 53, it becomes highly brittle and not be easily weldable. Ultimately, a grouser bar that’s through-hardened to optimum hardness last longer and lower downtime costs.

Cutting cost of operations is a key to the success of all mines, so it seems to me that all mines should consider regrousering for all their track vehicles. I encourage all operators try out Dura-Tuff’s cost saving estimator.