Tips For Heavy Machinery: With new technologies, factories can tend to be retrofitted rather than replaced, which makes maintenance more and more important.
Whether it is a mining company or a manufacturing unit, no company wants to experience downtime. Unplanned downtime can incur huge financial costs and may cause your business to lose its competitive advantage.
According to a study sponsored by Service Max and conducted by Vanson Bourne of GE Digital, 82% of companies have experienced unplanned downtime in the past three years. These interruptions take an average of 4 hours and cost an average of US$2 million. As a result, no unplanned downtime has become a top priority for nearly 72% of organizations.
6 Maintenance Tips For Heavy Machinery To Prolong Its Service Life
Nevertheless, in most manufacturing units, heavy machinery is the backbone of the business. Active maintenance of heavy machinery may be the best way to avoid unplanned downtime. Preventive maintenance can also ensure better performance, save fuel and energy consumption, and promote a safe working environment.
The following is how to maintain and extend the service life of heavy equipment.
1. Regular lubricating oil replacement guarantee
All types of heavy equipment rely on lubricants to improve performance. These fluids reduce friction around moving parts, thereby reducing wear. Lubricants also help keep the interior of heavy machinery clean by preventing soot buildup.
Please keep the following points in mind:
- Check the lubricant level frequently.
- Also regularly look for excessive grease accumulation and oil seal leakage.
- Always use the lubricant described in the operator’s manual or recommended by the manufacturer.
- Use an appropriate amount of lubricant. Using too little lubricant may increase friction and wear.
- On the other hand, excessive lubrication can cause grease to accumulate and cause performance problems.
2. Thoroughly clean the machine
Thorough cleaning is as important as maintaining lubricant levels. Unfortunately, most organizations tend to pay little attention to this step. Soot, dirt, and dust can clog filters, seals, cooling fans, and vents, reducing overall performance over time. Make sure to check every component of the machine carefully.
The easiest way to clean any heavy equipment is to use a hose that can forcefully remove traces of dirt. However, some parts of machinery, such as iron chains and pins or brass bearings, are difficult to clean with simple water pipes. It may also contain stubborn contaminants such as grease or dirt. You may need to use special cleaning methods, such as electric or pressure cleaning, steam cleaning, and pickling, to clean these parts.
3. Check the worn-out machine
Over time, there are several different factors that can cause wear and tear, including poor operating habits, accidents, environmental factors, and aging. Despite all precautions, aging will eventually affect many important parts of the machine. For example, belts may deform over time, seals may dry out or crack, and bolts may bend or stretch beyond their original shape. This is why you should check all parts of the machine for wear.
In addition to mechanical parts, be sure to check electronic and electrical wiring. Environmental factors such as high temperature caused by long-term use, misalignment of gears and belts, and environmental factors such as dust and water can damage the wires and circuits that are usually covered. You should also check your starter, alternator, and other electrical components regularly to ensure smooth performance.
4. Avoid exceeding performance specifications
All heavy equipment has a specific set of performance limits, such as maximum load capacity, preset working pressure and temperature ranges, and other limits. Be sure to check your operator’s manual to thoroughly study the performance limitations of your equipment.
Exceeding performance specifications and limits will increase wear and reduce service life. Unfortunately, sometimes exceeding performance specifications can affect equipment efficiency and cause accidents. Work-related injuries can cost your business a high price. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers usually pay nearly $1 billion in direct workers’ compensation costs every week.
5. Train your staff
Lack of operator training can lead to wear, equipment failure, and even injury. Training your staff is also the best way to ensure that your equipment is operating within the pre-set operating limits because they will understand the equipment in detail. In addition, local, state, and federal laws may also require the hiring of certified and trained personnel to handle certain types of heavy equipment.
Make sure all your employees know how heavy machinery is operated, what the emergency action plan is, and what safety precautions they should take when operating the machinery. Most business owners usually train their employees when installing heavy machinery. However, operator training is not one-time. Over time, skills will rust, employees will come and go, and equipment may receive software or hardware updates. This is why you should regularly check and update the knowledge base and skills of operators.
Sometimes, operators may want to skip some safety steps or speed up the process to speed things up, especially when they are behind the deadline for action. However, you should never make your operators anxious, because errors or even fatal crashes can occur. When operating heavy machinery, you should not allow the operator to use cell phones or other distractions. Keep your phone or other personal belongings only during lunch or coffee breaks.
6. Detailed records of preventive maintenance and services
Record keeping is an important part of the preventive maintenance system. You will need to inspect every part of heavy machinery, from lubricants to electrical systems. This is a complex process that requires a complete record of the date and time of each maintenance, service specifications, replacement parts, and the next scheduled service. However, it can help you create a dedicated maintenance plan, handle parts warranty claims more easily, and maintain accountability.
For small organizations, using electronic forms to record inspections, repairs, and replacements is sufficient. However, large organizations often need to use a preventive maintenance plan to track their maintenance activities. Record keeping shall store all maintenance and service records in an appropriate manner.
Heavy equipment requires substantial financial investment and comprehensive operator training. This is why you need to ensure that it runs smoothly, is in a healthy state, and has a long shelf life. We hope these six tips can help you maintain heavy equipment and extend its life. Start doing it as soon as possible, and then see the results for yourself.