Undercarriage through the years

29 March 2022

Undercarriage is – quite literally – the component that keeps  machines driving along. Not only that, it is also responsible for about half a  machine’s owning and operating costs. It’s  important undercarriage is continuously maintained and developed to ensure your machine’s  longevity  and so your machine can get the job done as efficiently as possible.

From the invention of undercarriage in the early 20th Century, to sealed and lubricated track in the 1960s, to the new tough steel technology, there have been many developments and innovations in Caterpillar undercarriage that improve performance and longevity. Here are some notable milestones and achievements:

  • Tough Steel Sprocket Segments: One of the latest Cat innovations, Tough Steel uses a patented, wear-resistant material to increase wear life of sprockets by 50% and track bushings by 20%.
  • Grease Lubricated Track (GLT): GLT link assemblies replace sealed assemblies on select Caterpillar Hydraulic Excavators. They are sealed to retain more grease between pins and bushings, resulting in 25% more wear life over sealed tracks.
  • Sleeve Bearing Track: Another innovation for D11 Track Type Tractors, Sleeve Bearing Track eliminates the heat build-up that may cause oil leakage.
  • Sealed and Lubricated Track: Continually developed and improved by Caterpillar, it has become a standard for lower operating costs. It significantly reduces internal pin and bushing wear, while increasing service life and serviceability.
  • General Duty: General Duty Undercarriage with proven reliability when performing low-to-moderate impact applications. With parts that are interchangeable with Heavy Duty, no retrofitting is needed, and downtime is kept to a minimum.
  • Heavy Duty/HDXL: HDXL (Heavy Duty Extended Wear Life) takes proven Heavy Duty Undercarriage to the next level with a 30 to 50 percent longer wear life and lower cost per hour than competitive brands in tough applications. Tackle the most rigorous terrain and extreme applications without fear of breakage.

And many more, including Split Master Link, Bolt-on Sprocket Segments, Extreme and Super Extreme Service Track Shoes and Lifetime Lubricated Rollers.

These innovations over the years have allowed operators to gain maximum efficiency and productivity from Cat machines. As technology develops further the innovations continue to roll in.

Contact our Terra Cat team for any queries on your Cat Undercarriage system or visit our Cat Undercarriage page.

History of Cat Undercarriage 

– Benjamin Holt introduces unsealed Undercarriage
1915 – C.L.Best releases track-type tractors with Unsealed Undercarriage
1925 – Holt and Best merge to form Caterpillar Tractor Company
1962 – Sealed (Belville) Undercarriage introduced
1964 – Introduction of Bolt-on Sprocket Segments
1966 – Split Master Link developed
1966 – Sealed and Lubricated Track with a crescent-type seal
1978 – Sealed and Lubricated Track improved with a rigid-type seal
1987 – Positive Pin Retention Track Introduced
1987 – Quad and Tri-track arrangements released
1992 – Heavy Duty Links improve strength
1994 – Rotating Bushing Track was Introduced
1996 – Tough Steel Sprocket Segments developed
1999 – Grease Lubricated Track available for excavators
1959 – Custom Track Service Introduced
1975 – First Dealer track shop opens in Oklahoma
1994 – Rotating Bushing Technology introduced
2001 – Cat Classic Parts become available for older machines
2004 – SystemOne introduced
2019 – HDXL product released with significant longevity improvements
2020 – Cat Abrasion introduced