• If applicable
Posted Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

Keeping heavy machinery in good working order is crucial for businesses globally. Mining, Farming and Industrial equipment requires routine maintenance to keep it in functioning working order. Conversely, poorly maintained large machinery equipment runs inefficiently. Breakdowns are costly and safety is also an important consideration.

Here are six top tips for large machinery maintenance to ensure it continues to make you money and not cost you money:

1. MACHINERY OPERATOR TRAINING

Many types of large machinery have multiple operators. One of the ongoing inspections on any checklist should be overseeing the correct operation of the equipment. Your employees are an asset so training them efficiently on the equipment they are using to ensure they are operating this correctly is key to the longevity of the equipment.

Large machinery should be inspected as soon as it is purchased. Operator training is usually done at not long after that point, but training needs to be kept up. Employees come and go, skills become rusty and poor operation leads to breakdowns.

Operator manuals can be revised for the specific work situation, these can be converted into visual aids through video – a great tool for people to learn first-hand off the actual piece of equipment. Alternatively, a shorter laminated manual can be kept in the machinery for easy reference.

One other note is to identify best practices, which can then be applied to other facilities or geographic locations. The knowledge you learn about how to maintain your equipment can become quite valuable – be sure to best leverage this important knowledge and use it at every applicable location.

2. ADD/TEST LUBRICANTS FREQUENTLY

Lubricants reduce friction around any moving part. A schedule of good lubrication maintenance extends the life of large machinery equipment and parts. Lubrication is one of the first and most important of maintenance checks. Look for signs of excess oil or grease build-up on pistons. Check for leaks around oil seals.

Be sure to use the right lubricant. There are specific kinds of oil and grease for every component. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Getting the lubricants checked is a good way to diagnose problems with large machinery. Experts analyse particles in the used oil. The makeup of any contaminants will indicate which part may be suffering from wear or breakdown.

3. CHECK FOR SIGNS OF WEAR AND TEAR

Vibration, shock, high temperatures, friction, seasonal changes and age all contribute to the breakdown of parts in heavy machinery. Vibration can come from gears and belts that are out of alignment. Shock can come from accidents and from poor operator technique (hence the importance of point one). High temperatures can come from extended use, friction, poor lubrication and worn parts, among other reasons. Seasonal changes from extreme colds can also affect machinery.

Age affects many key components too. Over time, belts will warp. Seals will dry and crack. Bolts will loosen and stretch out of shape. Age is a factor to monitor in equipment.

Should you discover wear and tear on any moving parts within your heavy equipment, be sure to quickly perform the necessary replacement of any worn parts and ensure routine maintenance is continued.

4. KEEP MACHINERY CLEAN AND MAINTAIN CLEAN ENVIRONMENT

There are many seals and filters in place on heavy machinery to keep working parts clean and free of contamination. Seals should be inspected regularly to make sure they’re in good condition. Filters should be inspected and changed regularly. Breathers should be kept clean to avoid creating a vacuum in the cab which will suck contaminants into the cab. The electronics in the cab are susceptible to breakdown if contaminated. This impacts the clutch, for example.

Large machinery should be stored in a shed or other building if at all possible. Exposure to wind and weather can lead to rust and rot. The machinery should be run periodically if it is not in use.

5. INVEST IN ONSITE REFUELLING TO KEEP COSTS DOWN

Many companies who have a collection of vehicles, machinery or have dispersed geographical sites where the machinery is used realise that fuel usage can add up. Noted as one of the biggest costs to businesses in farming, manufacturing and mining, fuel onsite eliminates long term expenses and improves ROI through downtime, reduced labour costs, and the ability for fuel to be monitored across all machinery for tax purposes. Not only this, but onsite fuelling allows business owners to shop around and purchase fuel at wholesale prices, putting them in the power seat.

Machinery Maintenance

6. HAVE A MAINTENENCE/REPAIR SCHEDULE AND KEEP GOOD RECORDS

Fluids, tires, tracks and electrical systems are among the components that have to be checked regularly for preventive maintenance. Know what needs to be inspected and when. Here are some examples.

Power transmissions have many moving parts that need to be maintained in top condition. Gearboxes need to be checked for lubrication, vibration and damage to parts.

Friction materials, seals, gaskets and bearings all need to be inspected for wear and replaced. Gears and shafts usually last a long time and don’t need to be replaced often, if at all.

Drive train components need constant monitoring. Check pulleys and v-belts on CVT transmissions for alignment and wear. Check sprockets for correct meshing with chains and for breaks.

Test the oil to diagnose problems. Change filters frequently. Ensure your fuel is kept clean.

If you have an onsite fuel tank, then do ensure that it too has routine maintenance so it continues to put clean fuel into your machinery.

Bearings keep great amounts of force running smoothly and are vital to large machinery performance. Check bearing lubrication often. Maintaining bearings well extends their life.

Lubricate gears frequently.

Do a seal check to prevent bearing raceway contamination.

Run torque checks on the bolts. Bolts can elongate and creep over time.

 

 

 

To conclude, following the above 6 steps can significantly extend the useful life of heavy machinery, improving the Return on Investment from these important purchases. In today’s global manufacturing world, even greater value can be extracted if you have a global knowledge capture and distribution system such that this knowledge of machinery maintenance can be effectively shared across your organisation – letting you reap even greater benefits on a much wider scale.

 

 

Resources: John Deere, Komatsu, Reliable Plant,

Machinery Maintenance

Machinery Tank Solutions

Below are some of the products that can help you manage your machinery and also save money through onsite fuelling.