5 ways to make your heavy equipment last longer

Heavy equipment on a farm
You need your machines to be working properly or you will lose time and money fixing them. Photo: MemoryCatcher, Wikimedia Commons

Heavy equipment and machinery used in farming, mining, and industrial works need constant maintenance to make sure it is always in perfect working condition. Overlooking the subtlest signs of damage or failure could lead to equipment breakdown and decrease productivity. Operational downtime can be costly and equipment damage could compromise the safety of your staff. 

Lower the risk of heavy equipment damage and operational downtime by doing the following:

Proper and appropriate training in operating the machines

You cannot operate industrial machinery unless you know how it works and how to use it properly. Before entrusting your machine to your staff, make sure that they receive proper training on how to use the machine properly. Not only will it help them run the machine smoothly, it will also help them detect if there are any changes in the behaviour of the equipment they are operating.

Aside from receiving proper training, it will be ideal to let your new employees familiarise themselves with the contents of the user’s manual provided by the manufacturer. If you made any changes in the manual to fit the specific work conditions, be sure to inform your employees. It will help them have a better grasp on how to handle the equipment properly.

Adding and testing lubricants

Lubricants play a significant role in keeping your heavy equipment in peak condition by reducing friction on moving parts. Proper maintenance and good lubrication can help in prolonging engine life.

Whenever possible, look for signs of grease build-up and excess oil and check if there leaks. If you find any damages or leaks, let experts check the machine to find out what’s wrong with it. They can also look at oil samples from the machine to analyse the particles and check if there are any contaminants that can cause wear and machine breakdown.

When changing oils and lubricants, it would be best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on the manual. It can help in determining the right grade for your machine/equipment.

Identify the possible causes of heavy equipment breakdown

Having a maintenance schedule is important, but in order to achieve its maximum efficiency, you have to be able to identify the potential causes of equipment breakdown. Knowing the things that could cause heavy equipment to breakdown will not only help you make an effective maintenance schedule, it can also help save hundreds of dollars.

Once you have anticipated the possible causes, it will be easier for you to detect if there are changes in the behaviour of your machine.

Maintenance and repair schedule

Recording every work done by and to the machine can help in keeping the machine in top shape. If the machine gets damaged, it can help the maintenance personnel or operator to easily diagnose what caused the problem. It also helps in determining the lifespan of the machine. A machine that breaks down too often can affect the productivity of the business.

Following maintenance and repair schedules allow operators and business owners to see if their large machines are working properly.

Check for any signs wear or fatigue, especially on moving parts. Friction and vibration can cause gears to separate or break. Make sure that the temperature is not too high, especially when the machines/equipment are used for extended hours. Also, check if there are no leaks fuel, oil, and other liquid containers.

Knowing the limits of your machine

Once you have anticipated the possible causes, it will be easier for you to detect if there are changes in the behaviour of your machine. It includes details on proper maintenance and repair in case the machine/equipment is broken.

Being able to meet the daily quota is important to the business, but it’s also essential to understand the capabilities and limitations of the heavy equipment you are using. It is ideal to follow the recommended weight load limit indicated in the manual in order to keep your machine in its best condition. Avoid overusing the machine to prevent overheating and potentially damaging the machine/equipment itself.

As a business owner, you may not always pay attention to these details since you leave the equipment in the capable hands of your staff, but note that making sure that your equipment is safe for work is also a part of your responsibility. Making sure your equipment is functional and looking after it is also a good way to reduce your expenses.