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Title:
ROTATABLE ELEMENT IN MACHINE TRACK HAVING THRUST WASHER STACK FOR STEPPING DOWN RELATIVE SPEEDS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/251726
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A sealed and lubricated rotatable track engaging element (130) includes a roller (32) and a roller shaft (38) extending through the roller (32) to support the roller (32) for rotation about a major axis (36). A first thrust surface (46) is fixed relative to the roller (32), and a second thrust surface (48) is fixed relative to the roller shaft (38). A seal cavity (44) extends between the roller (32) and the roller shaft (38) and is formed in part by each of the first thrust surface (46) and the second thrust surface (48), and a thrust washer stack (50) is within the seal cavity (44) and trapped between the first thrust surface (46) and the second thrust surface (48). The thrust washer stack (50) includes an inner thrust washer contacting the roller (32) to rotate at a first fractional speed of a speed of rotation of the roller (32), and an outer thrust washer contacting the inner thrust washer and the collar (68) to rotate at a second fractional speed that is less than the first fractional speed.

Inventors:
ABELLO BENOIT (US)
PALTHEY-GLOMEAU PAUL (US)
LOEFFLER BRIAN (US)
HAKES DAVID JENNINGS (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/033346
Publication Date:
December 17, 2020
Filing Date:
May 18, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CATERPILLAR INC (US)
International Classes:
B62D55/15; B62D55/088; F16C17/10
Foreign References:
US20150274228A12015-10-01
FR2209348A51974-06-28
US20170050687A12017-02-23
US20170369111A12017-12-28
JP2010269697A2010-12-02
US20110121643A12011-05-26
US3910128A1975-10-07
US4209205A1980-06-24
US3420584A1969-01-07
DE1859512U1962-10-04
US3463560A1969-08-26
US20100209180A12010-08-19
DE2927206A11981-01-22
US10046816B22018-08-14
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISHER, Bart A. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. An undercarriage assembly (28) comprising: a roller (32,132,232,332) having a bore (34) formed therein defining a major axis;

a roller shaft (38,138,238,338) extending through the bore (34) to support the roller (32,132^32,332) for rotation about the nugor axis (36);

a seal cavity (44,45,244) extending between the idler (32,132^32,332) and the roller shaft (38,138,238,338) and formed in part by a first thrust surface (46,47,246,346) that faces a first axial direction and is fixed relative to the roller (32,132^32,332), and a second thrust surface

(48,49,248,348) that faces a second axial direction opposite to the first axial direction and is fixed relative to the roller shaft (38,138,238,338);

a thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) trapped between the first thrust surface (46,47,246,346) and the second thrust surface

(48,49,248,348X to react thrust loads between the roller (32,132,232,332) and the roller shaft (38,138,238,338); and

a dynamic seal (56,57,156,256,356) fluidly sealing the thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) within the seal cavity (44,45,244).

2. The undercarriage assembly (28) of claim 1 wherein: the thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) includes a first thrust washer (52,252,352) in contact with the first thrust surface

(46, 47,246, 346X and a second thrust washer (54,253,353) in contact with the first thrust washer (52^52,352) and with the second thrust surface (48,49,248,348), and each ofthe first thrust washer (52^52,352) and the second thrust washer

(54,253,353) is free to rotate about the major axis;

the dynamic seal (56,57,156,256,356) includes a face seal assembly including a sealing ring (58,60) and a seal biaser (62,64); and the undercarriage assembly (28) further comprising a collar (68,69,268,368), and one of the first thrust surface (46,47,246,346) or the second thrust surface (48,49,248,348) is formed on the collar (68,69,268,368).

3. The undercarriage assembly (28) of daim 1 or 2 wherein: the roller (332) indudes an idler hub (378) and an idler rim (380); and

the first axial direction is an axially inward direction and the second axial direction is an axially outward direction.

4. The undercarriage assembly (28) of claim 1 or 2 further comprising an idler (20) and a drive sprocket (22), and the roller (32,132^32) indudes a roller shell in a track roller (30); and

the first axial direction is an axially outward direction and the second axial direction is an axially inward direction.

5. A rotatable track engaging dement

(20,26,29,30,130,230,330) for a machine track (24) comprising:

a roller shaft (38,138,238,338) having a first shaft end (40) and a second shaft end (42);

a roller (32,132,232,332) defining a major axis and being positioned upon the roller shaft (38,138,238,338);

a first shaft support (66,67,166) structured to mount to a flame (12) and receiving the first shaft end (40);

a second shaft support (66,67,166) structured to mount to the frame (12) and receiving the second shaft end (42);

a first thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) positioned upon die roller shaft (38,138,238,338) and inducting a plurality of thrust washers trapped between die first shaft support (66,67,166) and die roller

(32,132,232,332); and a second thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) positioned upon tiie roller shaft (38,138,238,338) and including a plurality of thrust washers trapped between the second shaft support (66,67,166) and the roller

(32,132,232,332).

6. The rotatable track engaging dement

(20,26,29,30, 130,230,330) of daim 5 wherein:

the first shaft support (66,67,166) indudes a first collar

(68,69,268,276,368,376) and the second shaft support (66,67,166) indudes a second collar (68,69,268,368);

the first thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) is positioned to contact each of the roller (32,132^32,332) and the first collar (68,69,268,368) to directly react thrust loads between the roller (32,132,232,332) and the first collar (68,69,268^76,368,376);

the second thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) is positioned to contact each of the roller (32,132^32,332) and the second collar (68,69,268,368) to directly react thrust loads between the roller (32,132,232,332) and the second collar (68,69,268,368); and

the rotatable track engaging dement (20,26,29,30,130,230,330) induding a total of two thrust washers in each of the first thrust washer stack

(50,51,150,250,350,351) and the second thrust washer stack

(50,51,150,250,350,351) and the plurality of thrust washers of each of the first thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) and the second thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350,351) are substantially identical to one another.

7. The rotatable track engaging dement (30) of daim 5 or 6 including a track roller (30) where the roller (32) indudes a roller shell.

8. A seded and lubricated rotatable track engaging dement (20,26,29,30, 130,230,330) comprising: a idler (32,132^32,332) having a bore (34) formed therein defining a major axis;

a roller shaft (38,138,238,338) extending through the bore (34) to support the idler (32,132,232,332) for rotation about the major axis;

a first thrust surface (46,47,246,346) fixed relative to the roller (32,132,232,332) and facing a first axial direction;

a second thrust surface (48,49,248,348) fixed relative to the roller shaft (38,138,238,338) and facing a second axial direction;

a seal cavity (44,45,244) extending between the idler (32,132^32,332) and the roller shaft (38,138,238,338) and formed in part by each of the first thrust surface (46,47,246,346) and the second thrust surface (48,49,248,348); and

a thrust washer stack (50,51,53,150,250,350,351,) within the seal cavity (44,45,244) and trapped between the first thrust surface (46,47,246,346) and the second thrust surface (48,49,248,348).

9. The rotatable track engaging dement (30,130) of daim 8 wherein the idler (32,132) indudes the first thrust surface (46,47), and further comprising a collar (68,69) that indudes the second thrust surface (48,49X and a pin (70) fixing the cdlar (68,69) to the idler shaft (38,138);

the idler (32,132) indudes a first seal carrier (72) and the cdlar (68,69) indudes a second seal carrier (72X and further comprising a dynamic seal (56,57) fluidly sealing the seal cavity (44,45); and

the thrust washer stack (50,51,150) indudes a total of two thrust washers.

10. The rotatable track engaging dement (30,130,230,330) of daim 8 or 9 wherein:

cadi of the thrust washers in the thrust washer stack (50,51,150,250,350) indudes an inner thrust washer (52,55,253,353) and an outer thrust washer (53,54,252,352) and is free to rotate about the major axis (36); and the inner thrust washer (52,55,253,353) contacts the idler

(32,132,232,332) to rotate at a first fractional speed of a speed of rotation of the roller (32,132^32,332); and

the outer thrust washer (53,54,252,352) contacts each of die inner thrust washer (52,55,253,353) and the collar (68,69,268,368) to rotate at a second fractional speed of the speed of rotation of the roller (32,132^32,332) that is less than the first fractional speed.

Description:
Description

ROTATABLE ELEMENT IN MACHINE TRACK HAVING THRUST WASHER STACK FOR STEPPING DOWN RELATIVE SPEEDS

Technical Field

The present disclosure relates generally to an undercarriage assembly for machine track, and more particularly to a rotatable track engaging element having thrust washer stacks trapped between thrust surfaces.

Background

Ground-engaging tracks are used in many different machines operated in off-highway environments across the globe. Machine tracks typically include an endless loop of coupled-together track links that extends about rotatable track engaging elements such as one or more idlers, track rollers, carrier rollers, and a drive sprocket. Significant engineering efforts over the years have been directed at design of track systems to provide robust support for heavy machines and traction in harsh environments. Track-type machines can weigh several million pounds, and off-highway worksites can have substrates formed of hard and/or uneven materials that subject the equipment to demanding wear conditions, slippery underfoot conditions, high mechanical loads, and corrosive environments. Loads experienced by components in track systems for such machines can have various forms, including bending loads, twisting loads, and thrust loads that are reacted along and between adjacent components, commonly rotating relative to one another.

In the case of large mining and material production machines, such as track-type tractors configured for production dozing, track service can require significant machine downtime during which the machine is not operational, and heavy equipment as well as specially trained personnel may be required to properly inspect, repair, replace, or otherwise diagnose and address issues with a machine's track. Such downtime can have significant economic consequences, especially in the event of an unplanned field failure. Thrust rings and the like can be subjected to high axial loads and relative rotation during operating a track system and can sometimes fail prematurely or degrade in perfomance. United States Patent No. 10,046,816 to Johannsen is directed to a cartridge assembly with a flexible thrust ring assembly for a track chain.

Johannsen proposes a flexible thrust washer having a body with an annular skirt portion that defines a central aperture, with the body having a conical

configuration and the outer diameter of the skirt portion being spaced away from the central aperture. The body defines at least two slits that separate the annular skirt portion into a plurality of fingers. While Johannsen may work well for a variety of applications, there is always room for improvement and/or alternative strategies.

Summary of the Invention

In one aspect, an undercarriage assembly includes a roller having a bore formed therein defining a major axis, and a roller shaft extending through the bore to support the roller for rotation about the major axis. The undercarriage assembly further indudes a seal cavity extending between the roller and the roller shaft and formed in part by a first thrust surface that faces a first axial direction and is fixed relative to the roller, and a second thrust surface that faces a second axial direction opposite to the first axial direction and is fixed relative to the roller shaft A thrust washer stack is trapped between the first thrust surface and the second thrust surface, to react thrust loads between the roller and the roller shaft, and a dynamic seal fluidly seals the thrust washer stack within the seal cavity.

In another aspect, a rotatable track engaging dement for a machine track includes a roller shaft having a first shaft end and a second shaft end, and a roller defining a major axis and bring positioned upon the roller shaft The rotatable track engaging element further includes a first shaft support structured to mount to a frame and receiving the first shaft end, and a second shaft support structured to mount to the frame and receiving the second shaft end. The rotatable trade engaging dement further includes a first thrust washer static positioned upon the idler shaft and including a plurality of thrust washers trapped between the first shaft support and the roller, and a second thrust washer stack positioned upon the roller shaft and including a plurality of thrust washers trapped between the second shaft support and the roller.

In still another aspect, a sealed and lubricated rotatable track engaging dement indudes a roller having a bore famed therein defining a major axis, and a roller shaft extending through the bore to support the idler for rotation about the major axis. A first thrust surface is fixed rdative to the roller and faces a first arid direction, and a second thrust surface is fixed rdative to the roller shaft and faces a second arid direction. A sed cavity extends between the idler and the roller shaft and is formed in part by each of the first thrust surface and the second thrust surface, and a thrust washer stack is within the sed cavity and trapped between the first thrust surface and the second thrust surface.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Fig. 1 is a side diagrammatic view of a machine, according to one embodiment;

Fig. 2 is a sectioned side diagrammatic view of an undercarriage assembly, according to one embodiment;

Fig. 3 is a sectioned side diagrammatic view of a rotatable track engaging dement, according to one embodiment;

Fig. 4 is a partidly sectioned side diagrammatic view of a portion of a rotatable track engaging dement, according to another embodiment; and

Fig. 5 is a sectioned side diagrammatic view of a rotatable track engaging dement, according to yet another embodiment Detailed Description

ReferringtoFig. 1, there is shown a machine 10, according to one embodiment Machine 10 indudes a track-type machine having a machine frame 12, and an implement system 14 coupled to frame 12. Frame 12 may be supported on and rotatable rdative to a ground-engaging track system 16. Trade system 16 indudes a track roller frame 18, an idler 20, a drive sprocket 22, and a plurality of track rollers 26 mounted to trade roller frame 18. A plurality of carrier rollers 29 are also mounted to track roller flame 18 in a generally conventional manner. A ground-engaging trade 24 extends about idler 20, drive sprocket 22, track rollers 26, and carrier rollers 29. Machine 10 is shown in the context of a mining machine, namely, a hydraulic mining shovel or the like where implement system 14 indudes a hydraulically actuated implement system structured to operate at least primarily at a working face of a mine. Machine 10 could altemativdy be a rope shovel, such as an electric rope shovel, or a variety of other types of equipment such as a track-type tractor or an excavator. Those skilled in the art will appredate that certain mining machines, such as the illustrated hydraulic mining shovel, may be operated approximately 90% of the time or more at fixed locations at a worksite, such as at a working face to capture, lift, and dump material into mining trucks or another conveyance mechanism, and thus are trammed only a minority of the time. Such mining machines typically weigh in excess of 1,000 tons, and despite the relative infrequency of tramming can subject their tracks to extreme wear, loading, and material deformation, for instance. It is generally desirable for tracks in such machines to have a service life in die tens of thousands of hours. As discussed herein, machine 10, and track system 16 in particular, is structured for an extended service life and operational reliability, espedally with respect to managing thrust loads between the various rotatable track engaging dements and trade roller frame 18. Rotatable track engaging dements can be understood herein to indude idler 20, drive sprocket 22, track rollers 26, and carrier rollers 29. Enhanced thrust load management can reduce risk of premature failure or necessity for unexpected field service and machine downtime.

Referring also now to Fig. 2, there is shown an undercarriage assembly 28 induding a rotatable track engaging dement in the context of one of track rollers 30 and track roller frame 18. Discussion herein of trade roller 30, hereinafter referred to in the singular, should be understood to refer by way of analogy to any of the track rollers 30 that might be used in ground-engaging trade system 60. Moreover, discussion herein of any one embodiment of a rotatable track engaging dement should be understood to refer by way of analogy to any other embodiment contemplated herein except where otherwise indicated or apparent from the context Track roller 30 includes a roller 32 having a bore 34 formed therein defining a major axis 36. Roller 32 may be a roller shell having an inner surface 35 and an outer surface 37. Outer surface 37 can be contoured to indude a raised protrusion or pad 39 that extends circumferentially around major axis 36 and is generally linear in profile. Outer surface 37 at locations adjacent to pad 39 can contact track rails formed by track shoes 25 in trade 24, with pad 39 fitted between the rails within a track guiding space. Alternatively, pad 39 can contact a single center trade rail, or still another pattern of contact between trade roller 30 and trade 24 might be used. Track roller 30 further indudes a roller shaft 38 extending through bore 34 to support roller 32 for rotation about major axis 36. Roller shaft 38 indudes a first shaft end 40 and an opposite second shaft end 42. Undercarriage assembly 28, and track roller 30, can further indude a first shaft support 66 structured to mount to track roller frame 18 and receiving first shaft end 40, and a second shaft support 67 also structured to mount to track roller frame 18 and receiving second shaft end 42. In the illustrated embodiment first shaft support 66 and second shaft support 67 indude, respectively, a first collar 68 and a second collar 69. A pin 70 extends through roller shaft 38 and first collar 68 and fixes roller shaft 38 to first collar 68. Another pin (not numbered) analogously fixes roller shaft 38 to second collar 69. Each of first shaft support 66 and second shaft support 67 can be received in and mounted to track roller frame 18 according to any suitable strategy. First collar 68 and second collar 69 could indude multi-piece damping collars, which can be damped about first shaft end 40 and second shaft end 42, respectively, and bolted to track roller frame 18, or altemativdy could each be a single-piece component

Track roller 30 indudes a sealed and lubricated rotatable track engaging dement, and to this end indudes a first seal cavity 44 extending between roller 32 and roller shaft 38, and formed in part by a first thrust surface 46 that faces a first axial direction and is fixed relative to roller 32, and a second thrust surface 48 that faces a second axial direction opposite to the first axial direction and is fixed relative to roller shaft 38. An axial direction herein means a direction along major axis 36. Hence, in the illustrated embodiment the first axial direction is an axially inward direction, and the second axial direction is an axially outward direction. In other embodiments, and for other parts of trade roller 30, a first axial direction may be an axially outward direction and a second axial direction may be an axially inward direction. No limitation is intended by use of tiie terms "first" or "second” as those terms are used herein merely for convenience of description. Another seal cavity 45 extends between roller 32 and roller shaft 38 and is formed in part by a first thrust surface 47 that faces a first axial direction and is fixed relative to roller 32, and a second thrust surface 49 that faces a second axial direction opposite to the first axial direction and is fixed relative to roller shaft 38.

Track roller 30 further includes a first thrust washer stack 50 trapped between first thrust surface 46 and second thrust surface 47, to react thrust loads between roller 32 and roller shaft 38, and a second thrush washer stack 51 trapped between first thrust surface 47 and second thrust surface 49, also to react thrust loads between roller 32 and roller shaft 38. A first dynamic seal 56 is held in compression between roller 32 and roller shaft 38 and seals first thrust washer stack 50 within seal cavity 44. A second dynamic seal 57 is held in compression between roller 32 and roller shaft 38 and seals second thrust washer stack 51 within seal cavity 45. In a practical implementation strategy, first dynamic seal 56 includes a face seal assembly having a sealing ring 58 and a seal biaser 62, and second dynamic seal 57 includes a face seal assembly including a sealing ring 60 and a seal biaser 64. Dynamic seal assemblies 56 and 57 can indude metallic face seal assemblies where sealing rings 58 and 60 each indude metallic sealing rings. Each seal biaser 62 and 64 can indude a non-metallic seal biaser in the nature of a tone that is compressed in opposition to an internal bias to urge sealing rings 58 and 60 into contact with one another. Lubricating fluid may be positioned in cadi of seal cavity 44 and seal cavity 45. For reasons that will be apparent from the following description, implementing thrust washer slacks 50 and 51 in track roller 30 and analogous configurations in other embodiments, can be expected to reduce a risk of seal failure caused by excessive thrust washer wear and avoid or delay development of other problems.

First thrust washer stack 50 may include a first thrush washer 52 in contact with first thrust surface 46, and a second thrush washer 54 in contact with first thrush washer 52 and with second thrust surface 48. At least one of first thrush washer 52 or second thrash washer 54 is free to rotate about maj or axis 36. Second thrust washer stack 51 may indude a first thrush washer 53 in contact with first thrust surface 47, and a second thrush washer 55 in contact with second thrush surface 49. At least one of first thrush washer 53 or second thrush washer 55 is free to rotate about major axis 36. In a practical implementation strategy applicable to all embodiments contemplated herein, each of the thrust washers in the respective thrust washer stacks 50 and 51 is free to rotate about major axis 36, the significance of which will be further apparent from the following description. First thrust washer stack 50 and second thrust washer stack 51 may each include a total of two thrust washers 52 and 54, and 53 and 55, respectively, and the plurality of thrust washers of each of first thrust washer stack 50 and second thrust washer stack 51 may be substantially identical to one another. Dynamic seal 56 and dynamic seal 57 fluidly seal thrust washer stacks 50 and 51 within seal cavities 44 and 45, respectively. In other embodiments, a number of thrust washers greater than two might be used in any individual thrust washer stack, such as three. It will be recalled that first shaft support 66 and second shaft support 67 may include a first collar 68 and a second collar 69, respectively. First thrust washer stack 51 is in contact with at least one of roller 32 or roller shaft 38, and second thrust washer stack 51 is in contact with at least one of roller 32 or roller shaft 38. In the embodiment of Fig. 2, first thrust washer stack 50 is positioned to contact each of roller 32 and first collar 68 to directly react thrust loads between roller 32 and first collar 68. Second thrust washer stack 51 is positioned to contact each of roller 32 and second collar 69 to directly react thrust loads between roller 32 and second collar 69. One of first thrust surface 46 or second thrust surface 48 is formed on first collar 68, and by analogy one of first thrust surface 47 or second thiust surface 49 is formed on second collar 69. It will be appreciated that the locations of thrust surfaces amongst embodiments can vary, in other words whether an axially inward-facing or an axially outward-facing thrust surface is fixed relative to a roller versus fixed relative to a roller shaft can be varied, as well as whether thrust surfaces are formed directly upon target components such as a roller or a collar or instead upon intervening components. Some of the possible variations are explicitly disclosed herein in connection with discussion of alternative embodiments.

Referring now to Fig. 3, there is shown a track roller 130 according to another design and having various similarities with the embodiment of Fig. 2, but certain differences. Track roller 130 includes a roller 132 that can be a roller shell, having an outer surface 137 and a protrusion or pad 139. A thiust washer stack 150 is trapped between thrust surfaces (not numbered) on roller 132 and a shaft support 166, and fluidly sealed within track roller 130 by way of a dynamic seal 156, which can be a metal face seal assembly generally analogous to that described in connection with track roller 30 above. Shaft support 166 could be structured differently from shaft support 66 in undercarriage assembly 28, and an outer profile of roller 132 formed by outer surface 137 can likewise be different It can be noted that pad 139 has a rounded outer contour, in profile extending generally left to right in the illustration of Fig. 3. The rounded outer contour can be adapted for supporting and distributing heavy machine loads between pad 139 and an associated track rail and potentially providing sacrificial wear material.

Referring now to Fig. 4, there is shown a rotatable trade engaging dement or track roller 230 according to yet another embodiment, and induding a roller 232 and a roller shaft 238. Roller shaft 238 indudes an enlarged center section 274 that is positioned radially inward of roller 232. Trade roller 230 also indudes a damped collar 268 that is bolted to roller 232 by way of a plurality of bolts, one of which is shown at numeral 269. A seal cavity 244 extends between roller 232 and roller shaft 238 and is formed in part by a first thrust surface 246 and a second thrust surface 248. It can be noted that in track roller 230 first thrust surface 246 could be understood to face a first axial direction that is an axially inward direction, whereas second thrust surface 248 could be understood to face a second axial direction that is an axially outward direction. As used herein, the term "axially inward" can be understood to mean an axial direction toward an axial center point of a line segment formed by an axis within a physical object, whereas "axially outward" is an opposite direction. First thrust surface 246 is fixed relative to roller 238 by way of clamped collar 268, and second thrust surface 248 is formed on and thus fixed relative to roller shaft 238. A thrust washer stack 250 is trapped between first thrust surface 246 and second thrust surface 248, and fluidly sealed within seal cavity 244 by way of a dynamic seal 256. Collar 268 also includes a seal carrier 245, and a track roller 230 includes a second collar 276 that indudes another seal carrier 277. Components of dynamic seal 256, which can include a metal face seal assembly, are held in compression between first seal carrier 245 and second seal carrier 277. It should also be appreciated that although only part of track roller 230 is illustrated in

Fig. 4, an opposite part or end of trad: roller 230 would have a mirror-image configuration. Track roller 230 might be used in certain trade-type track machines, whereas track roller 30 and track roller 130 might be used in certain mining machines, although the present disclosure is not thereby limited.

Referring now to Fig. 5, there is shown a rotatable track engaging dement or idler 330 according to another embodiment. Idler 330 can indude a roller 332 positioned upon and rotatable about a roller shaft 338. Roller 332 also indudes an idler hub 378, and an idler rim 380, and a web 382 connecting between idler hub 378 and idler rim 380. Idler 330 also indudes a first thrust washer stack 350 trapped between roller shaft 338 and a first collar 368 bolted to roller 332. A first thrust surface 346 is formed on collar 368, and a second thrust surface 348 is formed on roller shaft 338. A dynamic seal 356 supported in part by collar 368 and a second collar 376, fluidly seals thrust washer stack 350 within idler 330. Another thrust washer stack 351 may be analogously configured. Thrust washer stack 350 indudes a first thrush washer 352 in contact with first thrust surface 346, and a second thrush washer 353 in contact with second thrust surface 348. In idler 330, first thrust surface 346 faces a first axial direction that is an axially inward direction, and second thrust surface 348 faces a second axial direction that is an axially outward direction.

Industrial Applicability

Referring to the drawings generally, but returning to the embodiment of Fig 2 for descriptive purposes, when undercarriage assembly 28 is operated roller 32 can rotate around roller shaft 38 and support a weight of machine 10, in combination with other track rollers in track system 16, as track 24 is moved about the plurality of rotatable track engaging elements. Turning machine 10, tramming across a slope, or tramming over uneven ground, can cause side or thrust loads to be transmitted between track 24 and roller 32. Roller 32 can be urged axially relative to roller shaft 38, transmitting thrust loads to thrust wnsher stacks 50 or 51. Thrust washer stacks 50 or 51, depending on the direction of the thrust load, can transmit the loads to shaft supports 66 or 67, and to track roller frame 18

During transmitting of thrust loads, roller 32 may be rotating about major axis 36. Contact between thrust surfaces 46 or 47 and first or inner thrust washers 52 or 55 can cause thrust washers 52 or 55 to rotate along with roller 32. Contact between second or outer thrust washers 54 or 53 and shaft supports 66 or 67 can impart a tendency for thrust washers 54 or 53 to remain stationary, with thrust washers 52 or 55 thus rotating, respectively, relative to thrust washers 54 or 53. It has been observed in earlier track systems employing only a single thrust washer that a speed differential between a rotating roller and a stationary' shaft support, or intervening components, could result in w'ear rates greater than desired, transferring material, wearing away material, deforming the thrust washers, and potentially causing problems such as seal failure or track

performance degradation.

In a theoretical example, with a rotating component, a stationary' component, and a single thrust washer between the rotating component and the stationary component, the thrust washer could be expected to rotate at a speed approximately 50% of the speed difference between the rotating component and the stationary component For example, if a roller in a track roller were rotated at 100 RPM, with the stationary shaft support at 0 RPM, an intervening single thrust washer could be expected to rotate at a fractional speed of rotation of the roller of approximately 50 RPM given a tendency for that intervening thrust washer to fictionally interact with each of the components that it contacts. In other words» the thrust washer is induced to rotate by the roller and rotation is resisted by the shaft support, so the thrust rotates at about half the relative speed of rotation between the roller and the shaft support Wear rate, generally, is observed to be a function of pressure times velocity. Accordingly, with very heavy machines and large thrust loads» i.e. high pressure, coupled with relatively high velocities can produce wear rates greater than optimal, and ultimately lead to performance degradation or failure.

According to the present disclosure, with multiple intervening thrust washers a maximum relative speed differential can be less than in known single thrust washer designs. For example, a roller in a track roller according to the present disclosure might rotate at 100 RPM with an associated shaft support at 0 RPM. An inner thrust washer adjacent to the rotating roller might be expected to rotate at a fractional speed of notation of the roller of about 66 RPM, with the thrust washer adjacent to the shaft support rotated at a second fractional speed of rotation of the roller that is less than the first fractional speed of rotation and equal to about 33 RPM, given the tendencies fa- the respective thrust washers to frictionally interact with the components that they contact In this example according to the present disclosure, the maximum relative speed differential among any of the rotating roller, stationary support, or intervening two washers could be expected to be at least theoretically about 33 RPM.

Recalling that wear rate is based on pressure times velocity, an observed wear rate in a theoretical example according to the present disclosure can be expected to be significantly less based on a difference of a max 33 RPM relative speed differential versus a max 50 RPM relative speed differential in a single thrust washer design. In areal world application the actual speeds and relative speeds might differ, however, the foegoing theoretical application is expected to be generally applicable, and across multiple embodiments.

The present description is for illustrative purposes only, and should not be constnied to narrow the breadth ofthe present disclosure in any way. Thus, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications might be made to the presently disclosed embodiments without departing from the full and fair scope and spirit of the present disclosure. For instance, while the foregoing discussion focuses on applications where one component rotates and the other is fixed, this relationship might be reversed. Further, each of two components, e.g. a roller and roller shaft, might be rotatable relative to the other in certain applications. Other aspects, features and advantages will be apparent upon an examination of the attached drawings and appended claims. As used herein, the articles“a” and“an" are intended to indude one or more items, and may be used interchangeably with“one or more." Where only me item is intended, the term“me" or similar language is used. Also, as used herein, the terms“has,"“have,”“having," or the like are intended to be open-ended terms. Further, the phrase“based m" is intended to mean“based, at least in part, m” unless explicitly stated otherwise.