Maintaining heavy equipment is a must-do process for every business in the industry. A humming, well-maintained unit will keep making you money. Breakdowns are costly, and problems with safety are always a major concern.
Why is Heavy Equipment Maintenance Important?
Before learning basic heavy equipment maintenance tips, it’s always best to start well-informed. Whenever you get new or used equipment, make sure that you have the operator’s manual. While some businesses have experience with general operation, it’s handy to keep the manual to consult with as necessary.
Every heavy unit will have similarities and differences. If you have experience in handling equipment, give the manual a quick once-over to refresh your knowledge and give you an understanding of the general differences. If you are somewhat of a newbie operator, a manual will give you a quick scope of what you have to deal with. It will tell you what kind of use the manufacturer expects from its users to help keep the machine within its operational limits.
Heavy equipment maintenance is extremely important. Preventative maintenance makes investments go further by minimizing costly and lengthy repairs down the road. It saves money by decreasing equipment downtime and extending productivity and lifespan of machinery. When heavy equipment fails, it can cause a major threat to the safety of individuals around it. The responsibility of heavy equipment maintenance is not just an economical move, it’s also a necessity for preventing serious injuries and death.
If you want to keep your return on investment at the maximum, these five essential tips can help keep your heavy equipment in working order.
- Keep Your Operator Training Up-to-Date
When it comes to heavy equipment, among the most vital pieces in the system are the operators. Whether it’s concrete crushers or rail cutters, they will likely have multiple operators. Every maintenance period should account for the training of the people using the equipment.
Inspect your large machinery as soon as you get it. Once you have the equipment, start the operator training as quickly as possible. You want someone to have not only initial training experience but subsequent practice as well.
You want your safety officer to make sure they understand operator manuals. If possible, revise the manuals and customize them according to your projects. Have a short user manual ready for quick operations and identify best practices. While it seems like a lot of work work, the knowledge you have will help lengthen equipment life. It prevents long-term damage before the problems even start.
- Keep Regular Inspection and Maintenance
Much like going to the doctor, regular heavy equipment maintenance helps with work continuity. Regular checks on the overall function of the unit will keep work on schedule. It will also ensure that your equipment is in tip-top shape.
In 2008, the private construction industry recorded as many as 23% of caught-in fatalities in the US. A good majority of these would have been prevented if only the equipment was in good condition.
When doing inspections, look at the weak and potential failure points for your heavy equipment. Pile drivers, for example, would need to have their hydraulics checked. You want to give them a look before and after use to prevent having stuff lodged in.
Being thorough with the maintenance checklist means owners lower the risk for an accident. Preventative measures help keep operators safe and extend machinery lifespan. Make it a routine for your safety officers and mechanics and check the equipment.
- Don’t Overwork Your Heavy Equipment
It’s easy to mistakenly think that heavy machines, being so robust and expensive, can be used continuously without rest. But as with any machine, it’s vital to never overwork your equipment and give it some time to recuperate especially after long hours of performance.
Every machine has performance specifications and limitations. The manufacturer should detail how often you need to keep parts rested in the operator’s manual. Drills and augers, for example, can overheat if you use it beyond a specified amount of time. For most machines, if you exceed the operational time limit, you can expect them to break or lose their sharpness.
Establish limits to keep optimal performance and improve efficiency. Inform your operators about the restrictions on the heavy equipment before resting. If possible, choose high-quality heavy equipment that has longer operational times.
- Keep a Detailed Service Record
Having your equipment serviced regularly is crucial in giving it a good lifespan. In heavy equipment maintenance, service teams would need to keep a detailed service record. You want to have a full logbook of details on what happened to the machinery in the past.
At some point, equipment owners would need the device serviced. If there is a parts failure, the service team needs to list it down and record the replacement together with other findings.
Knowing the exact date, service type, service schedule, parts replaced, and irregularities gives you a chance to plan ahead. An excellent service log will help you prepare for future repairs and saves you money in the long run.
A detailed maintenance record will help you get faster warranty replacement on parts. If you have warranty claims or disputes alleging mechanical failure, the devil will be in the details.
- Perform Cleaning and Lubrication Before Storage
It’s standard practice to do heavy equipment maintenance before keeping it away. Clean the elements, moving parts, and lubricate to keep them in their best condition.
For the moving parts, make sure that you have the right lubricant levels at all times. Frequent assessment of lubricant levels can give you a chance to diagnose potential issues. See if there’s a buildup of grease on the pistons and look for leaks around oil seals. The lubricant recommended by the operator’s manual should be able to give you an idea.
Keep Heavy Equipment Maintenance a Top Priority
Heavy equipment maintenance should be the top priority. Keeping your equipment healthy and in good, working condition will keep your investment in check.
If you’re looking for parts, demolition attachments, or any hydraulics, it’s best to find heavy equipment experts that know what they’re doing and won’t suck your budget dry.