Maintaining machinery is something that must be done to prevent major problems down the road. The last thing you want is non-working equipment. Improper maintenance will shorten the lifespan of machinery, cause it to breakdown frequently, require costly repairs, and slow down your operations. Also, there are workers who die each year due to heavy machinery accidents — often caused by non-maintained equipment and improper training. In many senses, heavy equipment can be thought of as the backbone of industries like construction, mining, logging, agriculture, and more. Without heavy-duty equipment like bulldozers, forklifts, and backhoes, workers in these industries likely wouldn’t be able to complete their jobs (or, at a minimum, would need drastically more hours and manpower to complete projects of the same scale). Following these tips might help prevent injuries and deaths and minimize costly equipment repairs by staying ahead of the game…
Make Time for Regular Cleanings with a Power Washer
Set a schedule for pressure washing your equipment to remove hardened mud and grease buildup; create a separate schedule for additional cleaning procedures like replacing filters and cleaning your engine. Cleaning your heavy equipment regularly is a quick, easy, and cost-effective solution, but one that is all too often overlooked.
A great tip for properly maintaining machinery is to make sure it stays as clean as possible. Natural substances that your equipment may be regularly exposed to such as mud, dirt, and dust can clog filters and vents, as well as damage any electrical components. Additionally, these elements can speed up processes like rusting and contribute to general wearing down of heavy equipment over time.
Proactively Protect Electronics and Wires
Depending on the conditions of deployment, certain electronic products can become filthy. This build-up of residue, along with metal abrasion from the atmosphere, can negatively affect the endurance of electronic parts. The effects these particulates have on the functionality of these products are foreseeable. There is the danger of short circuits, problems with overheating, destruction caused by chemical reactions such as corrosion. Speaking of damage caused by dust, water, and other elements, it’s important to pay special attention to any electrical components in your equipment, including wires and circuits that are normally covered. Be sure they are sufficiently protected from water, snow, dust, and other environmental conditions that could potentially shorten their lifespan. It’s also good to keep an eye on how your heavy equipment’s starter, alternator, and other key electrical parts are performing. When it comes to parts like these, it’s often more expensive to replace the damage that has already been done than it would have been to prevent it.
Stick to a Steady Lubrication Schedule
Lubricants can play a big role in helping to extend machinery lifespans. Lubricants reduce friction around any moving part. A schedule of good lubrication maintenance extends the life of large machinery equipment and parts. Lubrication is one of the first and most important of maintenance checks. Look for signs of excess oil or grease buildup on pistons. Check for leaks around oil seals. Be sure to use the right lubricant. There are specific kinds of oil and grease for every component. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations. There are a lot of moving parts in heavy equipment and lubricants can help to reduce friction, minimize wear-and-tear, and keep things running smoothly in an operational sense. Lubricants are also key to keeping important interior parts clean, since they can reduce soot buildup and form seals that keep out contaminants.
Check Your Tires Often
Keep your machines rolling along with some tire TLC. With an excavator, backhoe, loader or forklift, there’s no jacking up the equipment on the side of the road and doing a quick tire change in case of a blowout or flat. That’s why regular tire maintenance is so important. The first element of any tire maintenance program is a check for abnormal wear and tear before and after each use. Many construction sites have a lot of debris scattered around, and although equipment tires are big, they’re not indestructible.
Cleaning tires at the end of a shift can reveal damage hidden under mud and dirt. And removing rocks or other embedded debris can prevent it from further penetrating the tire. Check the condition of lugs and look for any sidewall separation and bent or otherwise damaged rims, which can harm tires and wheels.. Remember that worn-down treads – while not necessarily considered “damaged” – can be a dangerous and serious problem, too.
Invest in Trustworthy Storage
Storing your heavy equipment in a shed or a building that is safe from extreme temperature is also a must . We can’t stress this one enough. It’s so important to store heavy equipment in an area that offers protection from extreme heat and cold, direct sunlight, rust, corrosion, and other environmental elements. It’s one thing to incur some wear-and-tear when your equipment is actually in use, but you definitely shouldn’t be letting it take on any damage when it’s just sitting there. Remember to put your equipment away each day. It’s a simple yet effective solution.
Know Your Equipment’s Limits
Remember that manufacturer’s manual that was included when you first purchased your heavy equipment? It’s crucial to understand your equipment’s recommended weight load limits and to stay well within those boundaries. Most of today’s heavy hauling accidents are attributed to human error rather than mechanical failure. Proper hauling requires a combination of knowledge, training, experience and patience. Before hauling a piece of equipment you must know your trailers limits and your truck’s capabilities. You can usually find the trailer’s capacity on the data plate mounted on the trailer. Overuse is another harmful problem that can lead to your equipment’s engine becoming overheated and in some cases, can cause a series of functional damage. Likewise, try to limit your equipment’s use in potentially damaging conditions like extreme heat, cold, ice, snow, and rain. Not only is this smart from a safety perspective, but it can also help extend your equipment’s lifespan.
Have a Maintenance and Repair Schedule, and Keep Good Records
Fluids, tires, tracks and electrical systems are among the components that have to be checked regularly for preventive maintenance. Know what needs to be inspected and when. Here are some examples.
- Power transmissions have many moving parts that need to be maintained in top condition. Gearboxes need to be checked for lubrication, vibration and damage to parts.
- Friction materials, seals, gaskets and bearings all need to be inspected for wear and replaced. Gears and shafts usually last a long time and don’t need to be replaced often, if at all.
- Drive train components need constant monitoring. Check pulleys and v-belts on CVT transmissions for alignment and wear. Check sprockets for correct meshing with chains and for breaks.
- Test the oil to diagnose problems. Change filters frequently.
- Bearings keep great amounts of force running smoothly and are vital to large machinery performance. Check bearing lubrication often.
- Maintaining bearings well extends their life.
- Lubricate gears frequently.
- Do a seal check to prevent bearing raceway contamination.
- Run torque checks on the bolts. Bolts can elongate and creep over time.
Make record-keeping a regular part of your equipment care routine, even before you start to experience any operational issues. Schedule frequent maintenance check-ups and record the results of those check-ups in a spreadsheet with dates and specific notes on how your equipment is performing. These records can often prove to be extremely useful when equipment begins under performing as it provides a clear and concise picture of when, where, and even why the problem first started.
Purchasing heavy equipment is a big investment, and as with all investments, you’ll want to make sure your equipment’s working lifespan is at its maximum limit. The good news? All it really takes to keep your heavy equipment running smoothly is a keen eye for detail and willingness to stick to a schedule.
Pressure Spray, Inc. supplies pressure washers to many companies in the Greater Cincinnati area to help them maintain their heavy equipment, grounds, and buildings. We are more than happy to share our years of knowledge and experience with your staff.
Contact us (513.874.4484) for a free consultation!
Pressure Spray Inc. (PSI) has been serving municipalities in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana for over 30 years. Municipalities widely recognize us for our high-quality products and reliable, efficient, and consistent customer service. Our seasoned staff know the the needs of municipalities inside and out and are trained to match your cleaning needs with the most ideal cleaning equipment available on the market.