6 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Heavy Equipment

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The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a worldwide economic downturn not seen in decades. The impact on business has been immense with some companies shutting down for good. The ones that didn’t close had to find ways of navigating the storm. 

For businesses that rely on heavy machinery for their day-to-day operations, extending the life of that equipment has taken on greater significance more now than ever before. Working with thin budgets due to the economic crisis, many businesses cannot afford the high cost of replacing such machinery. Here are some of the ways such companies can make their heavy equipment last longer.

 

  • Replace Parts On Time

 

Heavy equipment parts do not come cheap. That’s why some companies will exceed the timeline or usage limits recommended in the operator manual. Their rationale is that if it is not broken, it does not need fixing. This would seem like a smart way of cutting down on the cost of replacing parts, but the long-term impacts of delaying these replacements often negates any short-term savings. 

Worn out parts lead to reduced efficiency and could also cause damage to other equipment parts. Timely procurement of the necessary replacement parts through sites such as Costex Tractor Parts is important so your machinery works well for longer.

 

  • Operator Training

 

Heavy machinery may have multiple operators. Differences in skill and experience working the equipment can accelerate wear and tear. 

All operators should undergo exhaustive training before they are allowed to run the equipment. This should be complemented by regular refresher sessions to ensure operator skills are always adequate and to prevent operational drift. Each operator should be provided with a training manual they can refer to while on the job.

 

  • Do Not Overwork Machinery

 

Just because they are referred to as heavy equipment does not mean they can be applied to any task. All heavy machinery has performance limitations and specifications that can be found in the owner’s manual. Since heavy equipment is used for commercial and industrial processes, adhering to these specifications is crucial for operational efficiency and effectiveness. Understand and abide by the recommended weight limits. Set equipment to the correct power mode in line with the task at hand.

 

  • Check for Signs of Wear

 

Heavy machinery is usually operated in environments where it is exposed to a wide range of forces. Friction, shock, vibration, heat and age all contribute to the deterioration of parts in heavy equipment. Check for signs of these forces if you want to catch wear and tear before it gets out of hand. 

Vibration may be as a result of belts and gears that are out of alignment. Shock could be caused by accidents that are triggered by improper operator technique. Heat can come from excessive use, poor lubrication, friction and worn out parts.

 

  • Lubricate Regularly

 

Heavy machinery has multiple moving parts in the engines, power trains, hydraulic lifts and bearings. Regular lubrication is key to preventing damage and wear. As much as possible, equipment should be inspected daily or weekly to confirm that any parts or joints that require lubrication are oiled quickly. 

Lubrication not only blunts the wearing power of friction but also reduces corrosion from water damage. Make sure you replace filters and maintain seals as well, as this will ensure the lubricant is less prone to contaminants.

 

  • Keep a Maintenance Schedule and Meticulous Records

 

Your heavy equipment needs a preventative maintenance schedule. Electrical systems, tires, fluids and joints have to be inspected regularly. Check gearboxes, gears, shafts, seals, gaskets, bearings, pulleys and belts for friction, deformation, misalignment and failure. 

A maintenance schedule is only as good as the quality of its record. So each time a maintenance task is concluded, the record should be updated accordingly and include a note about when the next scheduled maintenance is required. 

What You Do Matters

Two companies can procure the exact same piece of heavy equipment at the same time but that does not mean both will retire their machinery simultaneously. The equipment’s life is dependent on the actions taken during its operation. Apply these tips and you will have your heavy machinery working longer for you.