Your heavy machinery requires a lot of maintenance to keep it working for you and not against you. Poorly maintained machinery not only runs inefficiently, but are extremely expensive and can compromise the safety of you and your workers. If you follow these five simple (but important) tips, your heavy machinery will perform better and last longer.
Many types of large machinery have multiple operators, and you need to make sure all operators are trained the same way to have consistent maintenance. Overseeing the correct operation of your equipment should be an ongoing inspection for you. Before you train your operators, make sure your machinery is inspected thoroughly! This inspection should take place right after you purchase the machinery.
Employees can come and go, skills become rusty and people grow more lax on policies and procedures, so make sure you’re keeping your training up to date. Operator manuals can be revised or condensed and given to your operators—especially if you’re paperless, you can rest assured that your operators will have access to the most current version of each manual.
Take the time to identify best practices so you can send the best versions of your information to other facilities or geographic locations. Determining the most effective knowledge and using that everywhere will help you maintain consistency, and therefore efficiency, throughout your staff.
Lubricants are essential to a well-functioning piece of machinery. They reduce friction around any moving part, which leads to smoother operation and a longer life for the machine. You should schedule lubrication maintenance to ensure that it’s done frequently and consistently. This will be one of your most important maintenance checks, so make sure these schedules are passed on to your operators. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations so you’re getting the right kind of lubricant for your machine as well as the right kinds of oil and grease for its specific parts.
It’s also crucial to get your lubricants checked by an expert. They can analyze particles in the used oils and employ this information to diagnose possible problems with your machine. The makeup of any contaminant will indicate which part may be suffering from wear or breakdown.
Signs of Wear
A lot of different things can contribute to the breakdown of one of your machines, so it’s important to address all of them. Vibration from gears or belts that are out of alignment, shock from accidents or poor operator technique, high temperatures from extended use or poor lubrication and so many other things can wear your machine down faster than usual.
The key is to have frequent inspections and to replace any worn parts as soon as you notice something is worn down. Changing these parts sooner rather than later will save your machine in the long run, and it’ll save you money.
There are plenty of external things that can affect your machines, so pay attention to what’s going on around them. Large machinery should be stored in a shed or other large building if possible, to avoid the effects of wind and rain. Exposure to bad weather like this can lead to rust and rot. Just like your car, if you don’t plan on using your machine for a while, make sure to run it periodically.
There are a lot of seals and filters in place on heavy machinery that keep working parts clean and free of contamination—you should inspect and replace these regularly. Breathers should be kept clean, too, to avoid contaminants in the cab of your machine. The electronics in the cab are very susceptible to breakdown if contaminated, so make sure these inspections are scheduled as well.
Schedule and Keep Records of Heavy Machinery
Staying organized will significantly increase the life of your heavy machinery. Knowing what needs to be inspected, how often and when will increase the productivity and efficiency of both your machines and your team.
For more manufacturing tips and services, contact O’Neal Manufacturing Services today.