Machine condition monitoring for off-highway heavy equipment
Machine Condition Monitoring based on oil analysis has become an important, if not mandatory, maintenance practice for the construction, mining, and agricultural industries. Equipment in these industries are frequently exposed to severe environmental and working conditions. An effective oil analysis program will keep important assets in operation by reducing unexpected failures and costly unscheduled downtime.
- Remote sites
Many sites that use off-road vehicles, like mines, are at remote locations. It can be difficult for them to rely on outside lab analysis to test their oil because it can take weeks to send samples into a lab and receive results. By the time they determine there is a problem with the vehicle, it has been returned to service and could suffer a major breakdown. Testing oil on-site allows them to make instant service decisions and keep their vehicles running.
- Harsh environments
Construction and mining equipment operate in conditions that are hard on the components. Just the nature of the work they do exposes the vehicles to large amounts of contamination and debris that can cause damage especially to the hydraulics and gears which are sensitive to particulate contamination. Continually monitoring the oil condition can prevent unexpected breakdowns
- Oil drains are expensive for large vehicles
By monitoring oil condition with on-site analysis the maintenance staff can determine if the oil drain interval can be extended safely. Reducing the number of oil drains required per vehicle by even just one time per year can provide significant savings across a fleet of vehicles, especially when it involves the large vehicles used in mining and constructions
- Repair costs can be high
Oil analysis can help identify potential problems early – before they become catastrophic and costly repairs. On-site analysis provides the service technicians the information about the vehicle while it is still in the garage so repairs can be made immediately before it goes back out on the road. Large mining and construction equipment can be enormously expensive to repair so catching a small problem before it becomes a major issue can be a huge cost savings.
- Downtime of vehicles impacts service and revenue
When a vehicle is unavailable due to mechanical problems it means it is not available to provide necessary service like in the case of a city transit bus or if it is part of the public works fleet for things like snow removal. For companies like freight haulers or mining equipment it means it will impact the revenue generating service it provides. Oil analysis can help fleet managers to ensure their vehicles will be up and running when they are needed.