How to Increase the Lifespan of Heavy Equipment Pieces

How to Increase the Lifespan of Heavy Equipment Pieces

Protecting your investment in heavy machinery is not as straightforward as it may seem. There are numerous aspects of heavy equipment ownership that tend to be neglected.

In most cases, the owner buys the equipment and relies on operators to use it properly and mechanics to maintain it. While this hands-off approach of putting good faith in employees and mechanics may suffice, being proactive can add decades to the lifespan of your equipment. Let’s consider the critical aspects of increasing the lifespan of heavy equipment below.

#1: Develop Preventative Maintenance Schedules

Every piece of heavy machinery will have different intervals for fluid changes and lubrication. In most cases, you will need to grease, but not over-grease, the zerk fittings located on the joints of your equipment each day. It is also critical to use the appropriate type of grease for the specified fitting.

In most cases, a grease containing molybdenum disulfide is required because it will sustain lubrication under heavy work cycles when petroleum lubricants may deteriorate. Lithium is another important grease additive that protects against corrosion. Lithium is commonly found in both marine and heavy-duty equipment greases.

Creating a checklist for employees to conduct a thorough inspection after washing the equipment down is advisable. The buildup of dirt, mud, and rocks on equipment will soften and damage the paint over time and lead to corrosion. Dust in the air and blocked vents can also clog up filters and suffocate the engine, reducing its performance.

Checking for leaks, fasteners loosened by vibration, damage, corrosion, and fatigue are also critical aspects of preventative maintenance.

#2: Replace the Final Drive Motor

The final drive motor is what powers the tracks of a mini excavator. The power-to-weight ratio of these devices is amazing. The engineering and physics that went into developing the planetary and sun gear system produced an incredible volume of torque. When these devices approach the end of their lives, maneuvering the equipment becomes problematic and slows down the entire operation.

If your mini excavator doesn’t seem as spry as it once was, it is better to replace the final drive motor than to accept the reduced output of your operation. The upgrade and power available at the tracks are comparable to installing a new drivetrain in your car after decades of wear.

#3: Ensure Proper Training and Use of Machinery

A lot of damage to heavy-duty equipment occurs because of operator error. Operators are often tempted to stretch heavy-duty equipment beyond its limits to complete a job quickly.

They may overload the bucket or extend the boom past the recommended range for an application. Some operators will even use the bucket to press down on materials or move something sideways rather than for its intended purpose of scooping. Reviewing the manufacturer’s technical specifications regularly with each operator and ensuring that they remember the limits will help to prevent premature failures.

Increasing the lifespan of heavy equipment pieces will help save a company money, and thankfully, it can easily be achieved by taking a few preventative measures and taking care of the equipment while using it.