How to Take Care of Your Heavy Machinery

Modern Excavator Operator. Caucasian Construction Worker and the Industrial Machinery.

If your job requires you to use heavy machinery and equipment regularly, it’s important to practice proper maintenance on your machines. You rely on heavy machinery to get your job done, and when equipment is not treated properly, it can break down and require costly repairs. Machines will break down eventually, but you can save time and money by properly handling and maintaining your equipment to ensure it works as long as possible.

Here are a few ways to take care of your heavy machinery so it stays in good condition and keeps you and other workers safe on the job!

Clean Your Equipment Often

You probably clean your handheld tools regularly because you’re aware that a buildup of dirt interferes with their functionality. The same applies to heavy-duty equipment, but because of its size, we tend to underestimate the amount of dirt on it.

Since heavy equipment is almost always used outside, sun, rain, and wind will cake the coatings, making the cleaning process even more difficult. When there is caked dirt on the machines, they might overheat. Also, if the accumulated dirt gets into bearings or seals, you’re risking damaging your equipment severely.

The easiest way to clean any heavy equipment is to use a hose that forcefully removes the traces of dirt. However, some parts of the machines, such as iron chains and pins or brass bearings, are tricky to clean with a simple water hose. They may also have stubborn contaminants such as grease or grime. You may need to use special cleaning methods like power or pressure washing, steam cleaning, and acid washing, among others, to clean such parts.

Regularly Lubricate

Making sure all moving parts are sufficiently lubricated is one of the essential parts of heavy equipment care. Lubrication reduces friction by creating a film between two surfaces, allowing them to slide smoothly. This film also helps protect your equipment from corrosion. Moving parts grind against each other without proper lubrication, exacerbating wear and tear.

Know Your Equipment’s Limits

When heavy-duty equipment runs for too long, the components’ temperature rises, creating an unsafe environment for workers without heat-protective equipment. Additionally, a buildup of pressure can lead to a pneumatic air burst, resulting in soft tissue injuries in your workers.

Overworking machinery is also dangerous for the equipment itself. Pressed by the approaching deadlines, machine operators sometimes tend to load more weight than a machine can handle or move it around the site faster than they should. Whether you’ve purchased or rented a piece of equipment, you want to keep it in a functional condition so it doesn’t interfere with your operations.

Train Your Workers

The lack of operator training can cause wear and tear, equipment failure, and injuries. Training your employees is the best way to ensure your equipment works within the pre-set operating limits as they learn about the equipment in detail. The local, state and federal laws may also require you to hire certified and trained employees to handle a specific type of heavy equipment.

Ensure all your employees know how the heavy machine works, the emergency action plan, and which safety precautions they should take when operating the machine. Usually, most business owners provide their employees with the training at the time of the installation of a heavy machine. However, operator training is not a one-time deal. Over time, skills become rusty, employees come and go, and equipment may get software or hardware updates. You should regularly inspect and update operators’ knowledge base and skills.

Heavy machinery isn’t the only equipment you need to operate a safe and productive work site—the support mats that stabilize it are just as important. At Ritter Forest Products, we offer top-quality hardwood crane mats, dragline mats, outrigger pads, and various custom products to help support your heavy equipment and keep it in good condition.

Get in touch with us today by phone or browse our inventory online!