It goes without saying that all the heavy equipment found at any construction site are very costly. Further, once bought, after a span of time or few years, they are bound to depreciate due to their increasing life and continuous usage. Hence, it becomes imperative to use the equipment in the right way, maintain it properly and take all the possible steps to increase its life. The same is the case with heavy equipment like motor graders/road graders/graders as well which are majorly used in the construction and maintenance of roads and for making smoother surfaces, fine grade, levelling soil and shifting small amounts of dirt.

If you intend to increase the life of your motor grader, then the most basic step is having a proper maintenance plan and applying proper operating techniques. We list all the steps that can help to increase the life of your motor grader at the construction site...

1. Have a proper preventive maintenance plan in place:

In order to increase the life of heavy equipment like motor grader, it is necessary to have a proper maintenance strategy in place that can identify all the faults before they happen. For that, the first step is to formulate a plan detailing all the minute things. You need to create and follow a maintenance schedule which would have notations on how often each part of the machinery should be inspected for problems, repairs and general maintenance. Further, during each scheduled service, the machine should be examined from top to bottom and special attention should be paid to possible weaknesses, defects or component faults. By proactively detecting and repairing flaws, you can save your considerable time and money.

2. Carry out checks in between the maintenance schedule:

If you see any change in certain conditions like reaction time, vibration or temperature, it is usually indicative of a developing problem. Hence, it is necessary to carry out checks in between the maintenance schedule to rectify the defects as soon as possible.

3. Maintain the equipment for extreme operating conditions:

If your motor grader is exposed to extreme operating conditions like extremely rocky terrain which puts extra pressure on the cutting edge and leads to fine dust clogging up in the air filter, thereby compromising the blade slide and turntable functionality, then you may have to readjust your maintenance schedule and carry out maintenance more frequently. Due to extreme operating conditions, you may have to check the blade more frequently for wear or change the oil filter and lubricate or replace slide guides and other small moving components.

4. Check the equipment on day-to-day basis:

Apart from having a regular maintenance schedule, it is extremely necessary to maintain and inspect the equipment regularly so as to keep it safe, corrosion-free and in the best condition. The day-to-day machine inspection list should include the machine frame, circle, tyres, wiring, cylinders, hoses, tools and any areas susceptible to damage or wear and tear. Also, check for leaks and any noticeable abnormalities. If you hear any unusual sounds from the engine, then take it as a warning sign. Always keep the motor grader properly greased during winters.

5. Hire an experience motor grader:

Being highly technical equipment, motor graders demand well-trained and experienced operators who can handle the equipment wisely, maintain it regularly and identify defects and malfunctioning of the equipment. In fact, a good machine operator is extremely necessary to increase the life of your grader. By using the proper techniques, an experienced motor grader operator can keep the cutting edge sharp and even, position the mouldboard for optimal performance and adjust the tools to align with the conditions. Also, a skilled and experienced motor grader is well-aware of the techniques to reduce wear on the cutting edge. Here are some steps that trained operators need to take so as to help increase the life of the equipment:

a. Since, the motor grader easily face wear and tear or malfunction or damage due to harsh or rocky terrain, operators need to know as to how to handle the equipment at any such site and prevent any unnecessary damage to the equipment.

b. The operators should essentially know about the correct positioning for the moldboard. The mantra is that it should be always kept straight up and rolling the grader blade forward to make the edge blunt.

c. Operators should never roll the moldboard back as it can negatively affect the final grade and ultimately produce low quality results. Thus, in order to avoid any damage, operators need to keep an eye out for both sides of the edge.

d. While grading along gutters and curbs, operators need to pay extra attention to the task as any slight error can result in the machine running up against the curb and the edge being chipped as well as the mouldboard being highly affected. They need to switch from left lead to right lead to minimise wear on the blade.

e. During the fine grade operations, the mouldboard should be tilted sporadically to ensure more even wear of the blade. Further, operators can even change the blade to the back position to sharpen the edge and achieve a better grade.

f. Operators should never articulate the grader when operating on steep slopes. Grader can roll over and sever personal injury or death can be caused.

g. Operators need to note and avoid all hazards and obstructions such as over-hands, ledges, slide areas, electrical lines, underground cables, water mains or gas lines.

. Rebuild or recondition the equipment for a new second life:

Last but not the least, in order to extend the life of your motor grader and breathe new life into it, you need to recondition or rebuild the equipment. With this, your machine will be re-engineered according to the original specifications, properly tested and thus, will be able to work for long.

So, if you own a motor grader, then do take the above mentioned steps to increase the life of your equipment and use it happily for some more years without any of the major wear and tear!