When considering a purchase of a remotely operated crawler system, companies will inevitably compare vehicles that come equipped with either wheels or tracks. The market mostly offers the former version, as wheels are typically inexpensive, lighter weight, and better at steering in open terrain. But, for most industrial applications, systems that use tracks have distinct advantages.
As shown in the Inuktun in the Wild blog segment, our multi-mission, modular technology is used for evaluating a wide range of environments including pipes, tanks, and pressure vessels. The nature of these environments demands the best possible mobile platform — and that is exactly why we provide tracked crawler systems.
As suggested in the name, tracks provide better traction. In any challenging location, traction is a big deal. Consider a truck versus a tank. A truck is nimble and works well on smooth, dry surfaces with few obstacles. For rough terrain, or in muddy situations where wheels can slip or get stuck, the tank not only prevails — it is frequently the only option. Inuktun’s powerful Minitracs™ and Microtracs™ are really just miniature tanks. Sandy or silty conditions pose no problems for them, thanks to a spring loaded idler wheel design that allows for continuous, reliable operation (just make sure to clean the tracks well afterward!).
In addition, tracks typically weigh more than wheels. While this may seem like a disadvantage for a portable system out in the field, the weight is what allows vehicles to travel long distances with long tethers. Inuktun crawlers can pull incredibly long cables — in some cases, over two kilometres (1.25 miles).
Finally, tracks simply make better transporters for the myriad of inspection equipment and tooling now mandated for remote inspection projects. The large and stable platform allows for a range of simultaneous components, including cameras, sensors, sonars, probes, cleaning equipment and more. Some of the recently developed inspection equipment is truly incredible, and new technology will only get better… but what good is it if you can’t get where you need to go? Our tracked systems give you the ability to get there AND realize the best possible return on your investment.