Mention ―routine maintenance,‖ and most people think of oil changes. But scheduling regular preventive maintenance goes beyond an ordinary oil change. Keeping an eye on wear parts can mean the difference between productivity and expensive downtime.
The benefits of scheduling routine maintenance are clear: longer life of wear parts, less ―emergency‖ downtime, greater productivity, optimal performance, and improved cost-efficiency. In a tough economy with tight profit margins and competitive bidding for jobs, all costs of doing business become critical. Ensuring uptime by keeping equipment in good running condition figures into that financial calculation.
It’s all about uptime, summarizes Brian Bergman, operations manager for CW Mill Equipment Co., manufacturer of tub, horizontal and feed-style industrial grinders. ―Loss of operation is costly; time spent maintaining equipment is less costly than downtime.‖ Illustrating the benefit of routine maintenance, he says, ―Our first Hogzilla is still out there, 20 years later.‖
Every machine owner wants to use equipment to its full potential. The impact of lack of maintenance can be hard to measure unless you have a major event. At that point, the consequences of neglecting routine maintenance can be ―severe and costly,‖ emphasizes Ron Miller, product support manager for Case Construction Equipment, and include downtime, lost productivity, lost revenue, unexpected costs such as machine rental and reduced trade-in values. ―Any one of these factors is a strong argument for a focused effort on maintenance.‖
It’s a Man(ual) Thing
With so many different pieces of equipment in a fleet and so many wear parts and maintenance intervals to consider, scheduling routine checks can become overwhelming. Where to start?
Start with the owner’s manual, advises Mike Kamp, senior marketing research consultant for Caterpillar. It suggests service interval schedules, which can range from daily or weekly to 250-, 500-, 1,000- or 2,000-hour services.
Have, read, and understand the manual,‖ Bergman emphasizes. Then, follow the maintenance guidelines provided, adds Paul Moore, senior marketing manager for Komatsu parts. It covers filter changes, fluids, and wear items, including bushings, bearings, pumps, drives, engines, and transmissions.