In the past, a mine might have been dug using technology no more complex than a pickaxe, and a building may have been built with a saw and a trowel. However modern-day operations absolutely depend on the strength of heavy-duty equipment.
Machinery such as excavators, dozers, graders, and large trucks make industrial projects, faster, easier, and safer, and their proper function is mandatory at any work site. Yet, many sites fail to suitably attend to their vehicles’ needs, resulting in equipment failure ― and potentially worker injury.
To keep everything and everyone safe and working hard, here are a few maintenance tips for heavy-duty machinery in any heavy-duty operation.
Lubrication Is Key
Friction is the death of any tool, from a screwdriver to a bull dozer. If your machinery experiences problems, looking at its lubrication is a great place to start, as friction can cause a number of unexpected issues in big rigs.
To limit the friction in large machinery, you must properly lubricate nearly every moving part. It is important that you read and understand the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the amount and type of lubricant for each component, as improper application will lead to equipment failure, which is expensive and dangerous. Moreover, you should consider investigating all fluid levels at regular intervals, as well as introducing additional compounds that enhance the performance of your vehicles, such as Peak BlueDEF exhaust fluid.
Cleanliness Is Sacred
Though it might seem that big vehicles are designed for dirty conditions, you should always strive to keep your fleet as clean as possible. Dirt build-up is a primary cause of extra friction, and excess grime can irreparably damage the more delicate parts inside heavy-duty machinery.
A handful of places on your equipment are particularly susceptible to destruction from dirt. Most heavy-duty vehicles are fitted with seals to keep the dust and debris out, but over time, those seals will crack and wear away, leaving important parts unprotected. Regularly monitoring seals for signs of age and replacing damaged seals is beneficial to your machinery’s function. Additionally, you should frequently clean and replace filters, which quickly become clogged with dirt on busy work sites, and keep doors to cabs (and other interior spaces) closed, as dust can prevent controls from working, as well.
Though active cleaning is absolutely mandatory, housing your machinery in sheds or garages when not in use keeps your fleet protected from more than the elements, so it is worthwhile to invest in a safe storage facility, like a customized space from Stanley Vidmar.
Good Records Are Invaluable
When did you last look at the drive trains on your equipment? When was the last time you checked your fleet’s oil? Have you ever tested the torque on your machinery’s bolts?
A reliable maintenance schedule is a good way to remain confident in the health and power of your fleet, but just as important as taking your equipment to the mechanic is keeping organized records on any and all maintenance and repairs. Different machines will require different schedules, but systematic records will ensure that you never miss a check-up for any part in any rig.
Eyes and Ears Are Advantageous
Being perceptive around machinery and watching for signs of wear is an excellent way to prevent failure before it happens. Some of the most common symptoms your machinery needs a check-up are excess vibration, unexpected shock, high temperatures, and unusual noises, but if anything at all seems abnormal with heavy-duty rigs, you should pause work and investigate.
Even if you are purely an administrator, you must keep your eyes and ears open for signs that your equipment is wearing out. You must listen to your workers and answer their concerns with testing or maintenance.
Reliable Suppliers Are Clutch
Your business depends on your ability to keep your equipment up and running, and in turn, you rely on heavy-duty machinery parts and fluids suppliers to deliver when you need them to. If you haven’t already, you should begin developing personal relationships with your favorite suppliers. Then, when you need a shipment fast, you know exactly whom to speak with and how much it will cost.
Training Isn’t Optional
Labor is often classified as “untrained work,” but you know that it takes serious skill to operate heavy-duty machinery. Your employees must be trained to work alongside such large, dangerous machines, and you must make certain that they participate in continued training programs, such as those offered by CAT, during their employment.
Slack training encourages the improper use of equipment on work sites, which results in accidents that cause damage to machines and injuries to workers. Just as you schedule maintenance for your fleet, you should schedule additional training for you employees.
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