Heavy machinery is the most expensive construction asset in terms of price tag and maintenance costs. Experts estimate that they carry hefty breakdown expenses of 3% of asset replacement costs per year. For a heavy equipment owner, there is a never-ending need to establish a cost-focused strategy of prolonging the lifespan of the machinery while limiting expenses accrued in maintenance.
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Schedule regular maintenance checks
In the same way that you need an annual medical checkup, your equipment needs frequent visits to the mechanic. A routine checkup on the functionality of your machine keeps its performance on track with its expected lifespan. Regular inspections should be coupled with repairs, which should be done as soon as issues occur.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 20% of industrial accidents are related to maintenance operations. As a result, it is advisable to have only experts handle the maintenance aspects of your machinery. In addition, ensure you only use genuine spare parts, which you can find in this HD part catalog.
2. Thoroughly train your operators
If your operators have precise knowledge of the capabilities and functionality of the equipment, they are less likely to misuse it or cause damage. They will also keep your workers safe and be more productive than untrained workers. Knowing the typical layout and functionality means that they can detect malfunctions early enough and take appropriate actions.
Knowledgeable operators have expertise beyond running the machines; they are acquainted with maintenance schedules, daily routines, and safety equipment storage. It would be best to keep clear communication with your operators on steps to be taken in case of accidents on or off construction sites.
3. Stick to the performance limits
A quick search online for ‘heavy machinery spins’ will give you dozens of results. However, heavy construction equipment is not developed to withstand high-speed movements and turns, and they can cause massive damage and fatalities.
Routine machinery operation is cumbersome and draining, which often pushes operators into overloading machinery in an attempt to clear work as quickly as possible. Such actions are not recommended as they violate the set load limits and accelerate the wear and tear of machine parts. It is advisable to stick to the set performance limits in terms of speed and load sizes.
4. Monitor fluid systems
Most construction machinery utilizes fluid systems to facilitate the movements of different parts. It would help if you kept a keen eye on the fluid levels and quality. Low fluid levels will lower the pressure on the systems, leading to breakage when handling standard-sized loads. On the other hand, contaminated oil increases friction between moving parts and reduces the density of the fluid, affecting its overall performance.
5. Lubricate moving parts
Heavy machines come with the manufacturer’s recommendations on the type and amount of grease needed on different parts. Lubricant reduces friction on the moving parts, and it is wise to have them thoroughly oiled before setting out to work. The frequency of oiling depends on the type of construction materials that your machine interacts with on the site.
Heavy machines carry a considerable cost of maintenance on top of a high price tag. Keeping the equipment in optimum condition is the only sure way of getting a good return on investment.