There was a lot of traffic past the Camso booth at CONEXPO-CON/AGG this year, but the biggest crowd was drawn to the track conversion kit for compact equipment. The prototype isn’t ready to ship just yet, but it drew stares from attendees walking the halls of the triennial equipment show, held in Las Vegas March 7-11.
Camso, formely Camoplast Solideal, is known best as a manufacturer of tires for compact equipment, also has a significant presence in both tracks undercarriages and over-the-tire track systems. But this prototype is something different.
“It’s been the most popular part of our booth at the show,” says Mike Dembe, Camso product development manager for North America. The kit allows for tracks to be added to compact wheel loaders, telescopic handlers, mini dumpers and other wheeled compact equipment. Installation takes about four hours, and a range of adapter plates will allow the kit to be used on different brands of equipment such as John Deere and Caterpillar.
“There is a sustained trend away from tires onto tracks,” observes Dembe, who cites a shift toward rental and other factors that are putting more strain on compact equipment durability. “People want a headache-free operation for off-road work, and when it comes to the traction, stability and durability of a track, a pneumatic tire can’t beat it.”
The track conversion kit will not be out until next year, and would most likely be offered as an aftermarket conversion or upgrade for machines made by some of Camso’s OEM partners, including Case, Bobcat and Caterpillar.
“Even smaller full-sized wheel loaders can benefit from this system as well,” says Dembe. “We’re also looking at boom lifts. Genie is one of our OEM partners and they have looked at getting more booms onto tracks.”
The pricing for the wheel-to-track conversion kit has not been settled on yet, but Dembe says it will come down to demand from OEM partners, availability, and the state of the market. “We have not fully defined the strategy for this product yet. But if we end up selling one or two a year it’s really expensive; if we’re selling one or two thousand a year it’s quite a bit cheaper.”