Maintaining your heavy equipment isn’t an option — it’s a necessity to keep everything running smoothly and ensure you have everything you need to complete a job. One way to manage your heavy machinery maintenance is to create a maintenance plan. Here are six quick tips to help you create the perfect plan for your company to keep your heavy equipment moving.
Traditional repairs are reactive. Something goes wrong, so you take the equipment off the jobsite and repair it. While this can work in some situations, it leaves you vulnerable to loss caused by downtime — especially if you only have one of a particular piece of equipment.
Instead of being reactive and waiting for things to fail, a heavy machinery maintenance plan helps you to become proactive. In essence, preventative maintenance is just servicing your equipment whether it needs it or not. Parts are replaced on a set schedule, and all pieces of equipment are regularly inspected to see if any small problems are starting to occur that could be repaired before they take the entire piece of equipment offline.
Every piece of equipment in your fleet came with an operation manual that details the machine’s maximum specifications and limitations. Don’t overwork your equipment by exceeding these specs. It will lead to premature equipment failure and costly downtime.
Make sure no one on your crew is pushing the equipment too hard. Even if you’re sticking to the listed specifications, that doesn’t mean everyone operating the machine is. Setting firm rules in place about equipment use can make managing maintenance simpler.
Leaving your equipment on the job site might seem more convenient because they’ll be right where you need them the next morning. Unfortunately, this also exposes them to the elements and potential added damage, which can lead to the need for increased maintenance and repairs.
If it is possible, depending on the size of the equipment and the needs of the jobsite, you should store your equipment in dry or climate-controlled facilities when not in use. This will also reduce the possibility that the equipment could be stolen from the site when it’s not being monitored.
You should regularly inspect some common failure points, even between regular maintenance, to ensure they aren’t going to create problems. Hydraulic systems, for example, can leak or lose pressure even if they appear to be intact after a casual inspection.
Make sure you note these common failure points on your maintenance plan, and that the staff pays particular attention to them. Mark them with an asterisk or print them in bold text — whatever it takes to make these inspection points stand apart from the rest.
What should you include in your comprehensive heavy machinery maintenance plan? In general, there are three categories you need to consider:
From there, you’ll need to create a plan for each piece of equipment in your fleet. A backhoe won’t need the same sort of maintenance as a jackhammer, for example.
It’s also important to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance intervals for each piece of equipment. The owner/operators manual for each item will detail these intervals, but if the manual is missing, you can also obtain a maintenance schedule from most manufacturers.
Everyone who utilizes one of your pieces of heavy equipment should be responsible for ensuring the machine continues to run smoothly. Start by implementing your machinery maintenance plan and making sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.
Continue by enforcing the strict maintenance schedules for each piece of equipment. It might take some getting used to – and some micromanaging – before everyone is on board with the maintenance plans, but once you’ve achieved that, keeping your fleet running will be much easier.
A heavy machinery maintenance plan can help keep your equipment running and prevent costly downtime that might accompany emergency repairs. Take the time to implement and enforce a comprehensive maintenance plan. It might take some adapting, but the effort you put in will pay off in the long run.
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