It's time to move some Earth!
It's earthmoving season, and that means earthmoving equipment is in high demand and heavy use. We've collected some key tips and tricks to maximize use and prevent breakdowns so that you can finish your project on time (or even ahead of schedule).
1. Make a schedule for the lubrication of moving parts. Regular lubrication helps machines work more efficiency by reducing friction and torque, both of which can cause premature wear and tear or even equipment failure.
- Tip: Make sure to visually inspect equipment on a daily basis, usually at the beginning of the day before use.
- TIP: Remove leftover soil and other debris from moving parts or exposed shafts at the end of each workday.
- Tip: Schedule lubrication for all equipment on a weekly basis for machines that pass daily visual inspection.
2. Focus on cleaning machines after each use. Moving earth and other objects is a messy job, so making sure equipment is clean of caked-on dirt and debris will improve efficiency, prolong the life of the machine, and increase safety.
- Tip: Enforce a pre-use visual inspection so that if there are issues with a machine, it can be repaired before the next work day. This prevents workflow problems that can put a serious dent in your productivity, especially on smaller sites.
- Tip: Schedule routine mechanical inspections so that wear and tear issues can be mitigated before repairs are needed. This includes checking seals and ensuring that moving parts are functioning and well-lubricated.
3. Educate employees to properly care for equipment. Fostering a worksite culture that prioritizes the care of tools and equipment is an excellent way to reduce maintenance needs and prevent equipment failures. You won't even need a mechanic to perform simple maintenance tasks, including regularly cleaning debris from equipment. And by making these tasks a team effort, you'll increase efficiency and prolong the life of your equipment.
- Tip: Employees assigned to a machine know that machine best, and they'll know when something changes about the way that machine operates. If possible, assign operators to specific pieces of equipment, and check in frequently about the status of their machines.
- Tip: Create a gap role: someone who can bridge the gap between operators and maintenance mechanics. This allows someone other than the mechanic to schedule tasks and sort out maintenance priorities; this individual should also be able to troubleshoot easy repairs without involving mechanics.
Earthmoving season can hectic, and machines will experience a lot of wear. Keep them in the game longer by performing inspections and providing preventative maintenance on a regular basis. These include visually inspecting and regularly cleaning machines as well professional maintenance on a trackable schedule. Good maintenance practices increase up-time and equipment performance.