Motor Grader Tips: Changing and Keeping the Blade Sharp
Before getting into the tips for changing and keeping the motor grader blade sharp, let us first understand the motor graders. Motor graders are basically used to level or smoothen out an area. They have a long wheel base that can span short depression or humps. Typically, motor graders possess a centrally located blade that can be angled to cast out on either side. The part of the grader which is used to cut, mix, windrow and spread material is called the mouldboard. Mouldboard with the cutting blade is attached to the circular part of the motor grader located under the frame i.e., the circle. The mouldboard allows the blade to be adjusted for height, angle, pitch and reverse direction. Blade angle refers to the angle of the blade in relationship with the mainframe which generally represents a 180 degree or straight line.
By the above description, you might have understood that motor graders are a little tricky to handle and generally, out of all the heavy equipment, they are perceived to be the most difficult vehicles to drive as they differ in terms of setting the controls such as the angle and height of the blade which requires certain skills, especially when setting them to obtain fine degree of result. Hence, motor graders demand experienced and trained operators who can move the maximum amount of material in the minimum possible time, safely run the machine and are aware about how to cut down on the unnecessary wear and tear. Above all, one of the most important roles of the motor grader operator is to keep the cutting edge sharp. This involves knowing how to operate the grader to protect the blade and when necessary, to whet its edges.
Why the hoopla about motor grader blade?
You might wonder as to why so much worry about the blade. Well, you must know that the efficient working of the motor grader depends on its blade, its condition and position. Further, since blade is the most expensive or time-consuming part to replace, it is crucial for the motor grader operator to always think about the blade and operate it wisely.
In fact, if the blade is not in a good condition, then it might pose many problems. For example, if you want to penetrate and cut material but your blade is dull or badly worn out, then it can give an excessive shock, putting pressure on the rest of the motor grader (including the frame and drivetrain). This can even damage or significantly shorten the life of components that may be very expensive and difficult to replace.
Further, a worn out blade can also make the motor grader less efficient. How? Well, more horsepower would be needed to force the blade through each cut. This may result in higher fuel costs, more wear and tear on tyres, thereby, lowering overall productivity.
Tips for keeping the motor grader blade sharp
1. It goes without saying that an expert motor grader operator can significantly reduce wear and tear on the graders cutting edge and help to keep it even and sharp. Here, it is to be noted that in order to keep the blade of a motor grader sharp, its vital for the motor grader operators to position the moldboard correctly and use appropriate speed avoiding jerky movements.
2. When operating a grader, the operator may choose to keep the moldboard pitched forward so as to see the cutting edge. However, this can be a disastrous move and can prematurely blunt the edge. This can make the task of cutting and trimming very difficult. Instead of this, in order to keep the motor grader blade sharp, experienced operator need to keep the top of the blade just slightly forward of the cutting edge, so as to pitch the blade forward only when its necessary to make a cut.
3. It is also required of the motor grader operators to change the blade angles periodically. If the mouldboard is kept forward, it might result in wear just along the front of the cutting edge. Hence, periodically tilting it back like in case of carrying, mixing, spreading or combing material can even out the wear across the edge, thus, helping keep it even and sharp.
4. Employing the motor grader to scarify or rip a surface can also help keep the blade sharp. This can prevent the cutting edge from becoming rounded along just one side.
5. At the time of grading curbs, it is very important to switch between leading with the left and right side of the blade. In fact, the entire length of the moldboard should be used, preventing uneven wear only to the outer sides of the leading edge.
6. Typically, in the grading processes, the motor graders should be operated slowly and smoothly, so as to avoid unnecessary wear and tear of the blade. In fact, it is best to keep the speed below 10 kilometres per hour and should never be exceeded above 16 kilometres per hour.
7. Last but not the least, avoidance of jerky motions also help minimise the stress on the blade and prevent shock loads that can damage other parts of the motor grader.
Tips for changing the motor grader blade
It should be remembered that even if the motor grader operator is highly experienced and trained, yet the cutting edge of the motor grader can show signs of wear due to continuous usage and will have to be replaced eventually. Hence, it is very essential that the blade is regularly inspected and replaced if it shows signs of excessive wear or bending, or if there are missing bolts.
In a nutshell, changing and keeping the blade sharp are two of the most crucial tasks of the motor grader operators. Above mentioned are few tips that the operators should always follow in this regard to achieve maximum efficiency and productivity with their motor graders at the jobsite.