7 Tips For Extending The Life Of Your Heavy Machinery

extending life heavy machinery construction equipment maintenance

We all know that 2020 has been a whirlwind year thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the toll on human life has been horrific, the economic impact has been staggering as well. Gross domestic product collapsed as lockdowns, shutdowns and social distancing reverberated across the industries in countries around the world. 

Businesses have had to slash spending in order to keep their operations at sustainable levels. Large capital investments in heavy machinery have been put off as more effort goes to extending the life of existing equipment. With that in mind, here are some practical tips on stretching the lifespan of your heavy machinery. 

1. Replace Parts As Needed 

The more frequently your heavy machinery is used, the greater the chances the smaller parts will begin to wear away. These parts require replacing regularly if the machinery is to continue running at optimal levels. Many brands of parts, including Cat® parts should be changed regularly and as often as possible, to prevent degrading over time. 

Parts degradation can cause wear and damage to other components of the equipment and compound repair costs while endangering operator safety. It’s best that you maintain a healthy stock of parts on-site, so you always have what you need. 

2. Read Manufacturer’s Manual 

Hands-on experience is a valuable thing, but experience can sometimes create a presumption of absolute expertise in equipment operation. So, it’s a good idea to refer to the manufacturer’s manual often for additional tips on the heavy machinery’s operations. 

Read the manual to understand what the equipment is for, how it works, the expected life span, the warranty information and any known issues. Spending time reading the manufacturer’s manual could unearth crucial information that helps you have a more well-rounded usage and maintenance regime. 

3. Use The Right Equipment 

Heavy machinery may appear impregnable, but it can actually become fragile when subjected to the wrong environment. All equipment is built for performing specific tasks. You can avoid needless wear and tear if you use heavy machinery only for the purpose it was intended. 

Equipment misuse may not seem like a big problem in the short term, but it does significantly increase the speed at which your equipment approaches its retirement. 

4. Regular Inspection 

Routine inspection is a great way to highlight inconsistencies that aren’t apparent during everyday usage. Replacement or repair can subsequently be arranged before the problem worsens, damages the equipment or introduces safety problems. 

Depending on the heavy machinery in question, it may be a legal or regulatory requirement for inspection to be conducted by a qualified individual. 

5. Regular Maintenance 

Whenever you identify a problem with your equipment, it’s crucial that it’s rectified quickly and correctly. Having a regular equipment maintenance schedule can save your business from the large outages you would otherwise encounter to rectify a problem that has been neglected for too long. 

The maintenance schedule should indicate what was serviced, when it was done and when maintenance is next due. Regular maintenance ensures regular inspection doesn’t bring up ongoing hidden problems. 

6. Clean After Use 

Cleaning heavy machinery may feel arduous and time-consuming, but it’s something you must do if you want to keep equipment working well for longer periods of time. Gradual accumulation of dust, dirt, debris, grime, concrete, rock and mud can inhibit the smooth movement of equipment parts. This could cause diminished function, breakage or a total equipment failure. 

A quick jet of water at the end of each shift can save you a lot of cleaning time the next day, while keeping the equipment functioning well. 

7. Store Well 

Heavy machinery is rugged and often designed to withstand the harsh forces of nature and difficult environments. That said, it doesn’t mean heavy equipment can be stored anywhere and anyhow. Poor storage can lead to expensive construction equipment problems in the long run. Heavy equipment lasts longer when it’s stored correctly and safely. 

Cost Savings And Improved ROI 

Extending the usable lifespan of heavy machinery not only saves you from requiring new and costly purchases, but also improves your return on investment (ROI).

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