Which Crawler Tires are Best for Which Pipe Material
Rachel Doornekamp | June 15, 2020
When looking at a pipe crawler, it is important to understand that different pipe materials require different tires in order to maximize performance and travel through a pipe. Pipe size is also a big consideration. Pipe crawlers can be designed to place the camera in the center of the pipe. Therefore, it is important in larger diameters to widen the base of the crawler to maintain stability and increase maneuverability.
Concrete is best inspected with a crawler fitted with rubber tires. Large tread rubber can grip on concrete even when there is slime or debris. When looking at Deep Trekker crawlers, diameter plays a factor in what tire selection to make. 6” – DT320, 6” Rubber Wheel Kit 8-12” – DT320, 6”/8” Rubber Wheel Kit – DT340 S – 8”/10”/12” 14” and larger – DT340 X – 12” Rubber Wheel Kit
Corrugated Steel pipe is “wavy” in shape, so when you drive a regular wheeled vehicle down a pipe it will bounce down the pipe. This isn’t harmful to the vehicle, but can make for a bumpier video. Tracks help to alleviate this since they allow for a smooth ride across the grooves, but tracks are best suited for larger diameter pipe (over 24”). Rubber wheels will have no issues with traction, so if a little bump in the video is okay, you can use these as well. 6” – DT320, Base Tracks, 6” Rubber Wheels 8-24” – DT340 8”- 12” Rubber Wheel Kits 24”+ - DT340 Tracks
HDPE has grooves similar to corrugated steel, however it is usually spaced closer together so the “bump” effect in the video is limited. PVC, when wet and slimy, as sewers get, will cause a rubber or pneumatic tired vehicle to slip particularly at longer distances. Having weighted tires with extra “grit” such as a carbide tire set is important for getting traction. HDPE is less prone to slipping due to the grooves. HDPE 8-24” – DT340 – 8-12” Rubber, 8-10” Carbide 6-12” – DT320 – 6-8” Rubber, 6-8” Carbide 24”+ - DT340 Tracks PVC/Clay 6-12” – DT320 – 6-8” Carbides 8”-12” – DT340 – 8” Carbides 10”+ - DT340 10” Carbides
Clay is also susceptible to slipping with a crawler vehicle, so the same wheel recommendations apply as Plastic/PVC.
There are other materials used for pipes, such as Brick, Cast Iron or even Wood. Standard Rubber tires have no trouble in these materials.