A construction or manufacturing team is only as good as its equipment. Procuring heavy machinery is an essential part of establishing a construction firm.
Proper maintenance on your part will increase the life cycle of your vital equipment and improve the business’s overall productivity. Such pro-active measures will also save money on repair and replacement. In this article, we provide you tips to strategize a preventive maintenance plan for machines and equipment that you own.
List Out Causes of Machine Breakdown
One of the foremost steps in equipment management is identifying the plausible causes of machine breakdown. For example, when there are large temperature fluctuations or overheating of the device, the equipment may give up.
Similarly, if the machine parts are not lubricated or adequately aligned, it may result in overexertion, collision, shock, vibration, and other forms of mechanically induced failure.
Sudden overloads on electrical and hydraulic systems and hardware malfunctions are other forms of intermittent failure that you can expect. If you have a thorough understanding of the causes, you can tackle them before they become a significant issue.
By making amendments to accommodate such reasons, you ensure that there is no disruption to your business continuity.
Visually Monitor Your Equipment for Wear & Tear
As obvious as it sounds, visual monitoring is an integral part of preventing damage to equipment. Check the alignment of the belts, chains, and pulleys every month. You should also keep a tab on the cracks and misalignment of gears and sprockets of your equipment.
Depending on the equipment, you need to include fluid analysis as a part of your wear and tear inspection. When you identify the contaminants in the machine fluids, it will allow you to pinpoint the source and act on it before it is too late.
Know Your Machines
Do not neglect the importance of product knowledge in machine usage. The user manuals of most heavy machinery come with a detailed recommendation guide on the use of servicing products and basic troubleshooting.
Spend time reading through those manuals to understand the prescribed maintenance steps and come up with ways to incorporate those in your maintenance schedule.
As a business owner, it is understandable that you will not be using the equipment controls daily and will employ machine operators for the same. You need to realize that machine operators have a sixth sense about the equipment that they handle.
It is an excellent preventive maintenance practice to listen to their inputs when they suspect a problem between scheduled maintenance periods. The flexibility of proactive intervention will save you thousands of dollars on repair work.
Keep Spare Parts Ready
For every heavy equipment that you use, reach out to the equipment provider for a recommended list of spare parts. While you do not need to buy everything that is on the list, it is vital to have a brainstorming session with your technical team on the list.
Find out the most critical spare parts in the list and evaluate how often you will need them. That way, you can procure them inexpensively in bulk. Also, if you can have spare parts before they are required, you minimize the downtime in the event of an equipment failure, thereby mitigating the production loss.
Establish a Heavy Equipment Maintenance Checklist
Once you have a clear picture of the manual-recommended maintenance activity, it is crucial to create a checklist of the maintenance tasks.
Depending on the machine in question, you can associate the tasks at daily, monthly, and seasonal intervals. That way, you can ensure that people who have not read the manual are also on the same page about the maintenance activity.
Such pro-active measures will remind you of the timely replacement of fluids, filters, and other disposable parts. If the maintenance activity requires outsourcing, such checklists will allow you to plan dealer site visits more efficiently.
Account for Seasonality
Production maintenance is an inevitable aspect of any manufacturing or construction business. However, with proper planning, it is possible to schedule maintenance activities during the slower seasons.
While the exact time may vary, the average preventive maintenance activity for heavy machinery takes 4 to 8 hours. This is significantly lesser than the 3 to 4 days of corrective maintenance that you will need when a piece of equipment gives up during active production.
Document Service Visits
All heavy machinery requires maintenance visits from an equipment manufacturer to ensure their smooth working. When you schedule any such visit, make sure that there is detailed documentation of the inspection.
Ask the service representative for a copy of the document that talks about the equipment checked, services performed and recommended changes.
If the manufacturer representative recommends your employees inspecting some parts on their own, make sure that you get the same document. Such written records will help you understand what needs action from your end and enable you to plan such future visits as well.
Make Employees Accountable for Their Tasks
Once the heavy equipment preventive maintenance plans are in place, the next step is the distribution of labor and its accountability. Start by assigning machine operators, coordinators, and technicians’ specific roles and responsibilities. Then, have the designated employees sign off the maintenance activities that they undertake.
By making employees accountable for maintenance activities, you ensure that they are serious about it and follow your instructions to the dot. It is an excellent practice to personally monitor such employee actions to ensure that every member of the organization is in alignment with the preventive maintenance expectations.
Protect Equipment During Storage
A significant cause of damage to heavy machinery is improper storage conditions. One of the easiest ways to prevent unnecessary damage to equipment is to store them in a recommended setup.
If keeping in a warm and humid environment is inevitable for you, try to opt for oil-mist lubrication for the long shelf-life of your heavy machinery.
For example, equipment like mixers, turbines, or motors needs to be rotated frequently. If you can arrange the same during storage, they are likely to last longer. Similarly, inspecting your idle heavy machinery for contamination, condensation and rust is an essential preventive measure.
Thus, you see that it requires proper planning to take good care of heavy machinery. Doing so will help you save unnecessary expenditure and prove to be beneficial for your business.