Why Staying on Top of Your Heavy Equipment Maintenance Schedule Is Important

Why Staying on Top of Your Heavy Equipment Maintenance Schedule Is Important

As with most large investments, maintenance is crucial for the continued performance of your heavy equipment. Having a regular schedule supports a proactive maintenance strategy, which allows you to find problems before they affect your work or budget. Staying up to date on your heavy equipment maintenance schedule requires planning, dedication and the right tools, but the payoff is worth it.

The Benefits of Staying on Top of Your Heavy Equipment Maintenance Schedule

The proactive approach of having a maintenance schedule for street sweepers, sewer trucks, tractors and other machines can help you maximize the value of your equipment, regardless of its size or use. Here are some advantages of a heavy equipment maintenance schedule:

Increased Equipment Longevity

With good care, your equipment lasts longer. You can mitigate wear and tear and ensure your machinery has everything it needs for dependable operation, such as fresh lubrication and filters. When you give your equipment a better operating environment, you can also reduce the risk of premature breakdowns. If you find a problem, you can intervene quickly before it becomes a more expensive issue. After all, if you don’t schedule time for maintenance, your equipment will schedule it for you!

Enhanced Safety and Efficiency

By increasing longevity and quickly identifying problems, you can reduce accidents and improve equipment safety. Better safety offers clear benefits for your team, and it can also help you avoid the costs of an incident, including delays and reputational effects.

Aside from safety concerns, unexpected breakdowns can dramatically affect your productivity. Proactive maintenance can help avoid unplanned downtime and keep your equipment running more reliably.

Cost Savings

All of these benefits translate to cost savings. Preventative maintenance can help minimize the cost of serious repairs by catching problems early, and it helps your equipment last longer, so you don’t need expensive replacements as often. Keeping your machinery in top shape often reduces operating costs, too. For example, fixing a hose leak would eliminate the extra expenses from the leaking fluid, while a smooth-running engine could help improve fuel efficiency.

Lastly, good maintenance can help boost your equipment’s resale value. It keeps your machines in good shape and, if you maintain your records, offers proof of your exceptional ownership.

Components of an Effective Heavy Equipment Maintenance Schedule

While every operation is different, most heavy equipment maintenance schedules include the following components:

Components of an Effective Heavy Equipment Maintenance Schedule
  • Regular inspections: Frequent inspections — including visual and functional testing — can help you spot problems early. These can range from normal wear and tear to more serious issues like leaks and broken parts.
  • Lubrication and fluid checks: Lubrication is a vital part of equipment operation that reduces friction between parts, absorbs shock and reduces operating temperatures. Other crucial fluids in equipment operation include oil, coolant and fuels. Your maintenance schedule should include checking the levels of all fluids, changing them when necessary and performing fluid analysis to monitor for contaminants and debris that could signify a problem.
  • Filter replacements: Your equipment might use many types of filters to clean air, oil and hydraulic fluid. Inspect these filters regularly, and replace them according to manufacturer guidelines. These instructions will typically specify the number of operating hours after which the filter needs changing. Your oil, air and fuel filters might need changing every 300 to 500 hours, while a hydraulic filter may not need changing until 5,000 hours.
  • Scheduled maintenance tasks: This category includes other regularly performed tasks, such as belt replacements, battery inspections, tire rotations and injector cleanings. Remember to inspect the cab area, ensuring components like lights, horns, alarms and locks work as expected. Stick to manufacturer guidelines and recommendations when determining how frequently to perform these tasks.

Tools and Technologies for Effective Maintenance Management

You might be able to manage this schedule manually for one or two machines, but once you have a fleet, you’ll likely need some technological assistance. Two valuable systems for equipment maintenance are computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and telematics or IoT solutions.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS)

A CMMS is a software system that tracks and centralizes maintenance tasks. It keeps a robust database of your equipment and associated information, such as:

  • The model and type of equipment
  • Measurements of usage and operating hours
  • Location
  • Statistics on performance and downtime
  • Analysis and inspection reports
  • Documents and manuals

A CMMS can also have resources for work orders, inventory management and reporting tools. These platforms can be quite advanced, helping you make decisions about the most cost-effective maintenance options.

When choosing a CMMS solution, look for one with the features that matter most to you. For example, if you struggle to manage your inventory of supplies, look for a CMMS with inventory management. Other factors to consider include your budget, the implementation timeline and integrations with other systems, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) program.

Telematics and IoT Solutions

Another excellent and increasingly accessible way to monitor equipment health is through telematics and the Internet of Things (IoT). Telematics systems use communication devices connected to your equipment to record and send usage information to a monitoring program. They can help you locate equipment and see how it’s used on a job site. Telematics uses IoT sensors — sensors that connect to the internet — to monitor diagnostics, engine hours, fuel consumption and other details.

Telematics and IoT enable real-time data collection that you can use to detect problems and make predictive maintenance decisions. They work well alongside a CMMS, which can use telematics data to predict when maintenance is necessary or bring awareness to a potential problem based on usage.

For example, maybe your sewer truck maintenance schedule says you won’t need to check on fluid levels for a few months, but telematics data tells you that the truck is using more hydraulic fluid than usual. You can add an extra check and potentially find a leak or another problem early.

Tips for Implementing Heavy Equipment Maintenance Schedules

Keep these tips in mind when implementing your heavy equipment maintenance program to ensure its effectiveness and longevity:

  • Create a detailed schedule: Make your schedule as detailed as possible to minimize miscommunications and guide the people conducting maintenance through the process.
  • Assign responsibilities: Place specific people in charge of certain tasks to improve accountability and prevent items from falling through the cracks.
  • Track progress: Establish a procedure for recording maintenance tasks and readings, such as fuel levels and inspection dates. This step can help you improve your recordkeeping and enhance the data you use to draw insights.
  • Provide training for operators and maintenance staff: Provide plenty of education to help your team use your maintenance schedule properly and conduct tasks according to guidelines.
  • Make resources accessible: Existing documentation, such as manuals and industry best practices, can help with education — but only if you make it accessible to all team members.
  • Work with your local dealer: Local dealers know the ins and outs of your equipment. They can answer any questions you have about the ideal maintenance frequencies and processes, and their technicians can provide reliable service.
Start Your Proactive Maintenance Plan With MTech

Start Your Proactive Maintenance Plan With MTech

Proactive maintenance is an extremely valuable approach for any equipment fleet. It helps you maximize the value of your investment, and you can use modern digital tools to make it as simple as possible. Whether you are creating a maintenance schedule for street sweepers, sewer cleaning equipment, sidewalk tractors or anything in between, you are setting yourself up for success.

MTech offers a wide range of services and products to support proactive maintenance. From our shops in Ohio and Michigan, we help businesses with everything from service to maintenance training for your team. Our on-site services allow you to get back to work without a trip to the shop. We also offer a wide equipment selection that includes telematics options to help you optimize your approach to maintenance. Contact us today to learn more about how MTech can help you jump-start your proactive maintenance plan.

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