Heavy equipment moves mountains — and even though the bulldozers, scrapers, and other machines are made of strong metals, they use a network of hardfacing material, a wear-resistant layer of metal ridges, to protect the parts that contact the ground. It extends the life of the machine by adding a renewable surface.
Usually, hardfacing, or hard surfacing, is done by welders in patterns or ridges to reduce the weight, save money, and save time. Typically a welder lays down lines two beads wide and one bead high — about 0.25 inches by 0.125 inches. Covering the surface instead of these lines would certainly be good protection, but that would also be overkill. There’s a couple of different techniques, depending on the type of soil being worked.
Loamy soils, which are softer, generally will benefit from a grid pattern that traps the soil on the surface of the metal and protects it from abrasion. Usually, a good welder will lay down parallel ridges about 2 inches apart and at a ninety-degree angle. Rockier soils are different because you don’t want the rocks moving over the steel surface. In those cases, a welder will lay down a hardfacing that creates a flow of soil over the top of the pattern, like rails or even dots.
When you train at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, you learn a lot about heavy equipment, including the maintenance that goes into keeping it in top working condition. As the industry changes, the technologies change, but the job stays the same: you are operating the machines that move mountains.