Mar 06 2014

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5 Maintenance Tips to Extend Equipment Life and ROI

importance_of_equipment_maintenanceHeavy machinery, especially Mining, Industrial or Farming Equipment, requires constant maintenance to keep it in good working order. Conversely, poorly maintained large machinery equipment runs inefficiently. Breakdowns are costly and safety is also an important consideration.

Here are five top tips for large machinery maintenance:

1. Stay on top of large machinery operator training

Many types of large machinery have multiple operators. One of the ongoing inspections on any checklist should be overseeing the correct operation of the equipment.

Large machinery should be inspected as soon as it is purchased. Operator training is usually done at that point, but training needs to be kept up. Employees come and go, skills become rusty and poor operation leads to breakdowns.

Operator manuals can be revised for the specific work situation. They can be rewritten in simpler language. A short manual can be provided to each operator for easy reference. And, if you operate in a paperless environment, you can rest assured operators use the most current version of each manual.

One other note is to identify best practices, which can then be applied to other facilities or geographic locations. The knowledge you learn about how to maintain your equipment can become quite valuable – be sure to best leverage this important knowledge and use it at every applicable location.

2. Add and test lubricants frequently

Lubricants reduce friction around any moving part. A schedule of good lubrication maintenance extends the life of large machinery equipment and parts.

Lubrication is one of the first and most important of maintenance checks. Look for signs of excess oil or grease build-up on pistons. Check for leaks around oil seals.

Be sure to use the right lubricant. There are specific kinds of oil and grease for every component. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Getting the lubricants checked is a good way to diagnose problems with large machinery. Experts analyze particles in the used oil. The makeup of any contaminants will indicate which part may be suffering from wear or breakdown.

3. Check for signs of wear

Vibration, shock, high temperatures, friction and age all contribute to the breakdown of parts in heavy machinery.

  • Vibration can come from gears and belts that are out of alignment
  • Shock can come from accidents and from poor operator technique
  • High temperatures can come from extended use, friction, poor lubrication and worn parts, among other reasons
  • Age affects many key components. Over time, belts will warp. Seals will dry and crack. Bolts will loosen and stretch out of shape. Age is a factor to monitor in equipment.

Should you discover wear and tear on any moving parts within your heavy equipment, be sure to quickly perform the necessary replacement of any worn parts.

4. Keep large machinery clean, and maintain a clean environment

There are many seals and filters in place on heavy machinery to keep working parts clean and free of contamination. Seals should be inspected regularly to make sure they’re in good condition. Filters should be inspected and changed regularly. Breathers should be kept clean to avoid creating a vacuum in the cab which will suck contaminants into the cab. The electronics in the cab are susceptible to breakdown if contaminated. This impacts the clutch, for example.

Large machinery should be stored in a shed or other building if at all possible. Exposure to wind and weather can lead to rust and rot. The machinery should be run periodically if it is not in use.

5. Have a maintenance and repair schedule, and keep good records

Fluids, tires, tracks and electrical systems are among the components that have to be checked regularly for preventive maintenance. Know what needs to be inspected and when. Here are some examples.

  • Power transmissions have many moving parts that need to be maintained in top condition. Gearboxes need to be checked for lubrication, vibration and damage to parts.
  • Friction materials, seals, gaskets and bearings all need to be inspected for wear and replaced. Gears and shafts usually last a long time and don’t need to be replaced often, if at all.
  • Drive train components need constant monitoring. Check pulleys and v-belts on CVT transmissions for alignment and wear. Check sprockets for correct meshing with chains and for breaks.
  • Test the oil to diagnose problems. Change filters frequently.
  • Bearings keep great amounts of force running smoothly and are vital to large machinery performance. Check bearing lubrication often. Maintaining bearings well extends their life.
  • Lubricate gears frequently.
  • Do a seal check to prevent bearing raceway contamination.
  • Run torque checks on the bolts. Bolts can elongate and creep over time.

To conclude, following the above 5 steps can significantly extend the useful life of heavy machinery, improving the Return on Investment from these important purchases. In today’s global manufacturing world, even greater value can be extracted if you have a global knowledge capture and distribution system such that this knowledge of machinery maintenance can be effectively shared across your organization – letting you reap even greater benefits on a much wider scale.


Author Bio

This is a guest post from Jessica Noonan, who is a freelance writer knowledgeable on manufacturing operations. One of her clients is Statewide Bearings, an Australian supplier of bearings, linear motion and power transmission elements. Got an opinion on something within this article? Connect with Jessica on Google+ to discuss!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2014/03/5-maintenance-tips-to-extend-equipment-life-and-roi/


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  1. Lillian Moore

    Thanks for the article! I thought it was interesting that you suggest keeping a consistent maintenance and repair schedule for your machinery. Materials on the machines may require more attention to be able to run at the top level. I can see how making sure that each machine is specifically cared for can make jobs more efficient and effective. I really appreciate your input and hope to apply these tips to my own work.

  2. Zequek Estrada

    There are some really good quality points for keeping good machinery maintenance. Organization seems to be a key factor when it comes to keeping good maintenance. I’d imagine that forgetting to do one of these five things could really throw off the schedule.

  3. Jack Davis


    Very useful information. Thanks for sharing!!

    For proper maintenance cleaning of machines is also important. Cleaning machines have been developed to provide fast and efficient cleaning of manufactured components. Their are different cleaning machines models available to suit various component sizes.

  4. Sandy Hopes

    Its really a good blog on plant and machinery inspection. I appreciate your article. Its important to get quality plant and machinery inspection informative site. This blog is really helpful to give a light in this issue. So thanks for sharing all that important information.

  5. Hazel Owens

    I like your tip to have a maintenance and repair schedule for you equipment. Heavy construction equipment can start to have safety and efficiency issues if it gets worn down. Performing simple maintenance tasks and making repairs when needed can make your equipment last longer. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Howard Reed

    Thanks for pointing out that maintaining a good schedule can help extend the life of the equipment. With such large machines, they can experience a lot of stress, and making sure that they are looked at properly will keep the equipment as well as the workers safe. I’ll have to make sure that the companies that i hire are doing this as well.

  7. Christina Grover

    I agree that keeping machinery clean and in a clean environment is important for proper function. My grandfather owns a farm and all of his tractors are always kept maintained. I remember helping him clean them when I was a kid. I’m sure making repairs is a lot less expensive than having to buy new.

  8. David - Walshmfg.com

    Great maintenance tips! Machine maintenance can be a bit challenge if we don’t know the characteristic of each machines. Making a repair schedules with regular reports is a good idea to monitor the condition of the machine itself, in which we will know better time to do some parts changing or cleaning.

  9. Daniela Adams

    Safety should be a top priority when working with heavy machinery. I like your point about training and maintenance. We always strive to have professionals who are experts at using the equipment, and we have them train others on how to use them and do checkups properly.

  10. OnTrac Parts

    We’ve been saying this for years!! Time is money in this industry.

    I mean.. look at our tracks for example! They are the EXACT same product manufactured sometimes literally in the same exact plant, but John Deere, CAT and other dealers charge anywhere from $500 – $2,000 more for them!

  11. Mark

    Thanks for the useful tips and advice Jessica.

  12. Visit Header Machine Website

    The equipment maintenance tips are more useful for every machinery operators. Thanks for your post sharing.


  13. MachineryZone

    These maintenance tips should be common practice for every heavy machinery operator. Indeed, a carefully maintained equipment is more likely to attract potential buyers when resold as a used machinery on the market.

  14. Machinery Sheds Supplier

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Katco CQ Plant Hire

    This is such a great post. Every construction operator should know these maintenance tips to extend equipment life.

  16. Polyurethane Rollers

    with proper maintenance and care these machinery can run for longer time and you cant believe how much you can save end of the year by increasing the lifetime in 5 mins in every single replacement. Not like small machinery, these spare parts cost lot of money and by running them for 5 minutes longer mean,saving lots of spare parts cost.

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