Motor grader is a heavy equipment that is used for creating a flat surface at the time of grading. It comprises of a long blade and also includes axles with engine and cab on the top of the rear axles. Motor graders are generally used for road construction and maintenance. Although, motor graders are highly versatile, yet they are very complex equipment and operating them is not at all easy. Hence, the operators need to know certain fundamentals before and while operating the motor graders.

Factors to be considered before operating motor graders

1. Your requirement: Since buying motor grader is a costly affair, you need to have a clear understanding of what it can and cannot do and whether it is the right equipment for the job that you are planning to perform with it. Various types of motor graders can be used for performing similar but different grading tasks. So, before buying any type of motor grader, you need to know your exact requirement and determine the purpose for which you will be using the motor grader. Generally, motor graders can be used for construction work, forestry and mining applications. It is advisable to use small graders if you wish to perform tasks like maintaining roads or building landscapes.

2. Ground conditions: Considering the ground condition is very important too as it can help you to select the right type and size of the motor grader. Certain ground conditions put tremendous pressure on the motor grader’s blade and vice versa. It is recommended that you use heavy motor grader at the sites which are full of rocks and gravels because such a terrain can hugely impact the machine’s pins and basic structure.

3. Other considerations: For road maintenance, motor graders which have wider and thicker edges should be used as such graders have better features such as superior abrasion and collision resistance ability. Motor graders with curved edges give better performance in terms of superior infiltration and rolling action beneficial for fine grading and finish work. Apart from this, there are various other points that should be considered.

4. Basic understanding on part of the operators:

a. Operators should not operate the grader until they completely read and understand the warnings and instructions written in the operating manual. Failure to follow the instructions or understand the hazard alerts, safety signs and precautions can result in machine damage, injury or death.

b. Operators should also know proper techniques. For example, 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.

c. Also, a skilled and experienced motor grader should be well-aware of the techniques to reduce wear on the cutting edge.

d. Operators should also know about using latest technologies such as GPS and laser control system.

e. Further, motor graders require different blades to fulfil different jobs and it is the operators who should clearly know about which blade to be used for which job.

f. Understanding of various motor grader attachments and their uses should also be known to the operators.

Factors to be considered while operating motor graders

1. Generally, the task of grading the site should be done with those motor graders which have hydraulic engines with cooling fans to improve the cooling performance of the motor grader while operating it in hot weather. It is the cooling fans which prevent the machine from getting overheated.

2. It is advisable to use less RPM to grade the construction sites as it is fuel-efficient and also increase the productivity of the motor grader.

3. The mouldboard should be always correctly positioned. The mantra is that it should be always kept straight up and rolling the grader blade forward to make the edge blunt. This also results in better rear visibility and the operator can finish the task easily.

4. Operating speed of the motor grader highly affects the quality of work. So, while ditching or blading, there should be no hurry. Higher speed can sometimes cause the motor grader to bounce and gauge the surface rather than smoothen it. Sometimes, in extreme cases, bouncing can cause the operator to lose control of the grader, producing a potential accident situation. So, the machine travel speed should be low enough to prevent machine bounce (generally 3 to 5 mph).

5. When sacrificing or ripping across a slope, operators need to keep the mouldboard parallel with the front axle, centred to the frame and lowered close to the ground to provide protection against rolling over.

6. When using the ripper, they need to lower the teeth into the ground with the grader in motion. If the rear wheels lose traction, operators need to raise the ripper until the wheels regain traction.

7. Only required amount of downward pressure should be applied to accomplish any task as excessive unnecessary downward pressure on hard and dry surface can cause rapid cutting edge wear and will require more horsepower and fuel, thereby, reducing productivity.

8. When turning around the motor grader, the wheels should always be leaned in the direction in which the turn is being made. This will help the motor grader to turn with ease.

Thus, above mentioned are some fundamentals that the operators should know before and while operating the motor graders, so as to operate the equipment smoothly and efficiently and get the best out of it.