Safety MITS presents the Tracked Elevating Device or TED, designed to ensure safety during maintenance of bulldozers and other tracked vehicles.

Extreme hazard, downtime and expense are some of the problems associated with removing belly plates from bulldozers and tracked vehicles requiring maintenance of internal components. Made of hundreds of kilos of steel, these plates are often weighed down further with debris build-up. Traditional maintenance processes require the mechanics to crawl underneath the giant machines to loosen the plates, resulting in crush injuries and even deaths.

Safety MITS’ Tracked Elevating Device has been designed as a solution to this hazardous maintenance task, as it eliminates the human element from the critical lift stage underneath equipment by operating the lifting device via remote control.

Timothy Lightfoot, Director of Product Development, Safety MITS Pty Ltd, which markets the product to global markets including Australasia, Asia and North and South America, says that TEDs can travel across any terrain and safely lift up to 800kg. A 360° turntable at the top makes lining up ball joints safer, quicker and easier than conventional methods using slings and chain block.

Mr Lightfoot explains that the belly plate can be locked, secured or restrained, but the biggest safety concern is still having the mechanic placed directly underneath the dozer, or heavy vehicle. If the plate is not appropriately restrained or supported, uncontrolled movement can occur when loosening nuts or bolts, posing a huge safety risk if the mechanic is working directly underneath 500kg of steel.

In the event a dozer needs servicing in the field, problems can occur from poor lighting, poor ventilation or inadequate space, creating significant hazards for a mechanic who needs to be positioned underneath the dozer to carry out maintenance.

According to Mr Lightfoot, in addition to making belly plate removal safer, TED also makes the process more efficient. Safety MITS collected customer data from Thiess, Peabody Energy and Glencore over a one-year period and found that they were able to reduce work time by 73.5% while employing one less mechanic when using TED to remove and install belly plates.

Beyond belly plates, TED can be used for equaliser bars, cutting edges, steer cylinders, load rollers, sound suppression equipment and engine sumps among many other applications.

Designed and manufactured in Australia, TED is built to withstand the harsh environments that heavy equipment operates in every day. Compliant with globally respected Australian and New Zealand mining standards (ASNZ 4240), TED comes with a range of attachments, which can be easily installed and removed at a moment’s notice.

These include: Rhino Stand Locator, which allows users to locate stands underneath elevated bulldozers without crawling beneath the suspended load; Cutting Edge tool designed to assist in the safe removal and installation of cutting edges on bulldozers, graders scrapers and loaders; Load Roller Cradle designed to assist in the easy removal and installation of track roller components on bulldozers, drills and excavators; Tie Rod and Steer Cylinder Cradle designed to assist in the safe removal and installation of steer cylinders and tie rods; and the Cradle, which conveniently bolts to the turntable on top of TED allowing it to rotate 360 degrees.

Mr Lightfoot concludes that the multi-purpose TED machine, which has been proven on some of the world’s busiest worksites, should be employed from a safety perspective as well as to minimise downtime during maintenance.