Inuktun has a strong and long established reputation for small, rugged, and waterproof crawler modules; the Minitrac™ and Microtrac™. Although the benefits of our standard brass crawler tracks are familiar to many, the advantages of our aluminum and stainless steel versions are often overlooked. This tech tip illustrates some of the benefits of the different materials.
Inuktun's aluminum crawler tracks are normally recommended during system design when portability, vertical operation, or large payloads are important. As you might expect, they dramatically reduce total vehicle weight. Aluminum weighs about 50% less than brass and stainless steel allowing for the addition of larger payloads or magnetic attachments. Standard aluminum tracks are anodized to reduce corrosion and prolong operable life, but they are not recommended for some caustic conditions (sodium hydroxide, for example, can result in hydrogen off-gassing in the presence of aluminum).
Pulling tether on long range mobile inspection systems requires substantial traction; Inuktun's brass tracks offer the weight needed in these situations. In addition, brass tracks have other advantages that should be considered:
1. They are more resistant to certain harsh solutions (e.g. chlorinated solvents),
2. They are more economical than stainless steel,
3. They are less likely to cause sparks when impacting other materials.
Stainless steel tracks are roughly the same weight as brass and offer equal pull. Stainless steel offers the broadest chemical compatibility and is generally preferred for use in radioactive environments as it is easy to decontaminate.