Maintenance of Heavy Earth Moving Equipment
1. Trained handlers - For most part of their shelf life, the heavy machinery go through most damage due to mishandling by unexperienced people. Most people handling the machines are not qualified enough to use the machines appropriately. Ensure that your machines are handled by company trained or appropriately certified operators to minimise the wear and tear on the machine due to man handling. People responsible for regular maintenance of the machinery should ideally be certified by the OEM to handle the machine, problem shooting and its up keep or be working with a certified service centre.
2. Regular maintenance - This is the best preventive measure one can take to keep the machines at their best performance over time. Regular maintenance of heavy earth moving equipment means catching the problems while they are still small and starting and solving them in the bud before they can cause major damage. Incase most machines in your fleet belong to the same company, its best to get a maintenance contract in place with the company’s service centre on a yearly basis. Having the machines regularly maintained by certified people will increase your machine’s shelf life by a good couple of years in addition to reducing its cost depreciation over time.
3. Regular cleaning and storage: Heavy machinery usually work in a very soiled environment and gets muddled more often than not. If dirt and grime get into any sensitive areas it can lead to malfunctioning and break downs. Any seals either broken or damaged should be replaced immediately failing which the sensitive parts of the machine will be damaged. The machines should be kept clean of any dirt and debris once the job for the day is done. The machines should be stored in closed areas away from water to keep environmental damage at bay.
4. Lubricate well - Lubrication can single handedly make or break even the best of heavy machinery over time. All moving parts of the machine should be kept properly lubricated at all times to prevent wear, tear and damage to the parts due to friction. Under lubrication will lead to frictional wear and tear while over lubrication will increase grease deposit, issues with the seals and loss of energy. Similarly its important to use a good quality company approved lubricant for best results. Using the wrong type of lubricant will do more damage than good.
5. Track wear and tear - Seasoned operators at good at noticing signs that might point to wear and tear in the machines during regular operations. Keeping an eye for the smaller details will help one catch problems before they become big enough to require repair or replacement of parts. Common signs of wear and tear are excessive heating, abnormal vibration and belt shape etc. Its best to fix any issues that are noticed immediately before they become huge. Excess heating may point towards lubrication issues while vibration may be caused due to glitches with the gears and alignments of the belts etc. Misshapen belts are another red flag that needs attention.
6. Using the right parts and tools - While cheap parts and tools will say you money in the short run, it will cause heavy expenses in the long run. It best to use original company manufactured replacement parts when required.