Tips for maintaining heavy equipment

Tips for maintaining heavy equipment

If your business relies on the use of large machinery, it is absolutely imperative that it is well maintained. Any issues can heavily impact or completely halt productivity while potentially putting your workers at risk. Clearly defining your maintenance strategy is a start, but there are a number of ways in which you can ensure machinery continues to run smoothly, your business remains efficient and cost of repairs is minimised.

Record and oversee all operations

Unskilled operators are one of many factors that can contribute to damage or malfunction of machinery. Enforcing strict record-keeping is a way to help you keep track of movement and operation — some businesses even use GPS for access to accurate data that helps identify issues early on.

Conduct regular inspections for damage

Keeping an eye out for potential problems is one of the simplest ways to nip them in the bud before it leads to much larger issues. Examples include checking gears for broken teeth; belts and pulleys for misalignment and deterioration; and moving parts for corrosion. A daily walk around is a great way to spot potential issues, and should involve:

  • Checking equipment and machinery both before and after use
  • Inspecting in the same direction each and every time
  • Informing the next operator of any changes that have occurred to the machinery since the start of the day and including this information on a shift report

Uphold a planned maintenance schedule

Parts and equipment are bound to eventually suffer from wear and tear, but being consistent and strategic with maintenance is a great way to keep everything in good condition. Plan maintenance ahead of time based on the forecasted lifecycle of each component, while ensuring any repairs are only carried out by qualified technicians. These should also be recorded to ensure scheduled maintenance is never forgotten.

Clean and lubricate parts as often as you can

Depending on the type of heavy machinery, you may need to maintain and lubricate parts as often as every day as water and other contaminants can lead to corrosion and other nasty problems. Moving parts and engines are particularly vulnerable and should be lubricated as much as possible.

Keep machinery protected during storage

Whenever possible, equipment and machinery should be kept under cover when stored for an extended period of time. They should also be regularly inspected for rust and contamination, while lubrication is often necessary in warm, humid environments. Just because they aren’t in use does not mean they don’t require ongoing inspections and maintenance.

Remember, failing to follow proper maintenance practices is not just putting your business at risk of higher expense down the track. Wear and malfunction of industrial machinery and equipment can become a hazard that threatens the safety of you and your workers.

Published 19 April, 2016
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