Nov Dec, 2003





Chaining Up

Knowing Your Options When it Comes to Chains

By Diane Mettler

Most of you who have purchased your chains for the winter are putting them to good use. And by now, you know whether they are meeting your expectations or have been the cause of some downtime. If it happens to be the latter, luckily there are a number of other options out there.

Picking the Right Chain
Considering the number of chains available today, weighing the benefits could be time-consuming. Different operations require different traction. For example, in moderate snow many prefer the ring type of chain, whereas in ice or rock a stud type of chain tends to work better. Or maybe the issue is time spent cleaning the chains, so a ring pattern that is more open and easier to clean would be preferred over a tighter diamond pattern. But the tighter pattern has to be weighed against the fact that it offers better tire protection.
John (J) Wallingford, president and owner of Wallingford’s Inc., has been selling chains to the forest industry since 1975, and knows that loggers face all types of terrain with all kinds of vehicles. Also, machinery has evolved over the years, requiring different types of chains.

Through-Hardened Chains
“There’s more mechanization today,” says J. “When skidders first came out, all that was offered was a casehardened carbon chain. And as grapple skidders became predominate, we found larger machines, heavier in weight, faster in speed, that required better than was out there and available.”
To answer the need, Wallingford’s founded BABAC, Inc. in 1986 — a manufacturing operation offering through-hardened boron chain. “We were the first company to come out with a product like that,” says J. “Unlike case carbon chains, where the surface is hard and the core is soft, we heat treat all the way through, so the surface and the core are one and the same.”

The benefits of a through-hardened chain are twofold. First, the operator doesn’t experience the brittleness associated with case-hardened chains. Second, the strength characteristics run all the way through the chain. The chain won’t wear down to a softer material, but rather can wear down until it’s paper thin before it breaks.
Unfortunately, loggers are often loyal to certain types of chains because their dad or grandpa used them, even though the machinery they put them on links of tag, some five, others three,” says J. “Obviously, the less number of rings, the less cost, but the harder the ride is. The closer the rings are, the smoother the ride is going to be. And you’re going to get a constant traction base. “And after you pick the right chain, you have to pick the right model in that. And lastly, you have to look at the wire diameter of the chain. Some of the larger skidders need to consider going to larger diameters.”

U-Form Stud
To make the choice even more difficult, there’s also the BABAC U-form stud. Here the stud is welded on the flat side of the link as opposed to the top of the link. “If you weld a stud on the top of the link, when it comes in contact with the ground, the link lays over and you don’t get any traction,” explains J. “Whereas, when you weld the stud on the flat side of the link, when the link comes in contact with the ground it stays upright and will give you the traction that it is intended for.”

Booming Business
Over the years, Wallingford’s has diversified and their selection has grown. In 1996, the company started a new division called ICC (International Cain & Cable), which was the beginning of the consumer side of tire chains for the company. Customers can now find chains for trucks, pickups, passenger cars, snow blowers, and ATVs, in addition to their chains for forestry vehicles.
Even though the number of choices in chains is enormous, J says most loggers know what they want. This isn’t their first set of chains. It’s just a matter of finding the best chain for the money.


Other NEW Products Available
Below you will find other chain innovations that are worth checking out.

SCP89 Inc. (Pedno Chains)
This Canadian company builds forestry chains, tracks and buckets on site at their factory in Laterrière, Québec, Canada. All chains and tracks that they manufacture are made with boron alloys steel and are heat treated after assembly.
Some of their newer chains models include:
. • Double Alpine. An excellent chain for protection and traction on larger tires.
. • Super Double Alpine. Again an excellent chain for protection and traction on larger tires.
• Spider Grip. A net ring (mail style) chain developed to
provide protection and traction. Their newer track models include:
. • Unitrack. The technological advantage of this design is nodrag, meaning less soil disturbance and fuel economy. It is a light weight track with centered links and a higher wear surface. It also has formed pads adapted to the shape of the tire.
. • Winter Track. This model is the answer to deep snow conditions and hilly terrain.

RUD Chain
RUD Chain, Inc. USA, is a subsidiary of RUD Kettenfabrik, Aalen Germany, and manufactures a wide range of alloy steel products. They forge the connecting links and traction lugs on their Ring style chain. This manufacturing process puts more steel in the highest wear points of the chain.
New this year is the RUD Terra Chain. It features a forged link/stud pattern chain. The forged link provides excellent self-cleaning capability, sturdy design, and a large bearing surface for tire protection. Alloy steel, exclusive forged components, and case hardening combine to extend service life. Ring type and studded net style chains are available in all popular sizes. TW


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This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 28, 2004