Maintenance Tips: Keeping Digging Systems Productive Day-in and Day-Out

By: Chapman Hancock, Ditch Witch Product Manager of CTS, Service Parts, Telematics

Proper monitoring and maintenance of trenching equipment requires a little extra time and thought in a busy day, but the investment always pays off. In the short term, you can keep downtime in the field to a minimum, saving time and resources. In the long term, you can extend the life of your equipment and get the most value out of it.

In particular, you want to pay attention to a trencher’s digging system, which requires the most TLC. The digging system is the core of the trencher, and if you operate when it is worn-down or otherwise damaged, you will use more horsepower and put more strain on the machine as a whole.

Follow the below tips to keep equipment performing at its highest level, inspired by the crews that use these machines day-in and day-out. 

Start with the soil

Proper maintenance of trenchers doesn’t begin once you’re using the equipment. It begins before you ever break ground. Matching the components of the digging system to the soil conditions allows you to get the most efficient cut.

For example, cup teeth work best in soft and medium soils, whereas carbide work best for rocky soil or frozen ground. In some cases, job-site conditions may change abruptly that you’ll want a combination chain with both cup and carbide teeth for mixed-soil conditions.  

Additionally, pay attention to pitch – or location of teeth on the chain. Two-pitch chains have more teeth and surface area for cutting making them most effective for dry soils and rocky conditions. Four-pitch chains have more space between teeth, helping them cut smoothly through muddy, wet soils. 

Ongoing maintenance

Once you’ve chosen the trencher with the right digging system for your job, there are several ways you can keep things running smoothly. 

The tension of your chain plays an important role in how the machine as a whole operates. Following the tension specified in the operator’s manual can help prevent lost time and productivity. Operators should also check machine components daily, or at the end of each job. The chain, teeth and sprockets are interdependent; if one component isn’t functioning properly, it impacts the performance of the others – and the trencher. Monitoring wear and tear will help alert operators of any maintenance needs and allow them to replace key components before they become issues. 

For more information, visit Digging Systems | Ditch Witch – Directional Drills, Trenchers, Vacs, & Skid Steers

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