For construction and mining operations, heavy equipment is the lifeblood of your operations and your business. When your equipment is running well, you are likely efficient, productive, and profitable. When equipment isn’t operating at peak performance – or not operating at all – the costs can be significant, both in terms of repairs and in profits lost.
Keeping equipment running isn’t easy, especially when you are talking about complex machinery with thousands of moving parts that take a beating every day. It takes a comprehensive and effective maintenance plan to keep your equipment moving.
The key parts of the comprehensive maintenance plan
Avoiding unexpected downtime requires a comprehensive maintenance plan, consisting of two main types of maintenance strategies: routine maintenance and preventive maintenance.
Routine maintenance is a common part of most construction operations and includes things like:
- Fluid changes
- Filter cleaning and changes
- Greasing bearings
- Tire and track inspections
Routine maintenance should be done on a scheduled basis, either on a set number of hours or a regular calendar schedule like every 4 weeks. The appropriate routine maintenance schedule depends on the type of equipment and how much it is used.
Routine maintenance is the very minimum level of care needed to keep equipment operating.
Preventive maintenance takes routine maintenance to the next level. This maintenance strategy is designed to proactively address issues before they arise, and before they can lead to down time.
Preventive maintenance includes:
- Replacing parts as they near their standard end of life cycle, but before they fail – this avoids surprise repairs and downtime
- Comprehensive visual inspection of all parts to proactively identify issues that need to be addressed
- Detailed record keeping of repairs, part replacement and predicted lifespan of parts
The benefits of a comprehensive maintenance plan
Combining routine and preventive maintenance into a comprehensive maintenance strategy offers many benefits, including:
- Increased availability: Routine and proactive maintenance combined can help limit unexpected downtime due to sudden equipment failure.
- Controllable costs: This type of strategy is a great way to help control maintenance costs – when you know what parts need to be fixed before they break, you can budget for that expense. Unexpected failures and repairs often go beyond budget, leading to out of control or unexpected spending.
- Increased safety: Equipment that is properly maintained runs better and is safer and easier to operate.
- Optimized equipment lifespan: Heavy equipment is a big investment, so you want it to last as long as possible. A comprehensive maintenance plan can help make that happen – the better a machine is maintained, the longer it will last and the better return you’ll get on your equipment investment.
Developing your own maintenance plan
Creating a customized maintenance plan for your construction or mining operation isn’t as simple as scheduling service or adding maintenance checks to your calendar. There are many different factors that must be considered and included in your maintenance planning.
When developing your own maintenance plan, be sure to answer the following questions.
What equipment requires maintenance?
In order to develop an effective maintenance plan, you must first inventory the type and number of machines that require maintenance. Keep an accurate rolling inventory of equipment, and as you purchase or sell equipment, adjust your maintenance inventory as necessary.
What type of maintenance will be included in the program?
Once you’ve inventoried your machinery, chart out the exact type of maintenance each piece of equipment requires. Remember to factor in both routine and preventive maintenance requirements. Consider the current state of each machine as well – older equipment may require more maintenance than a newer piece of the same type of machinery.
Develop a checklist for every type of machine and individual piece of equipment and ensure that your service technicians are trained on every type of maintenance.
Who will be responsible for the maintenance program?
Identify roles and responsibility across the maintenance program. Remember to identify the team and individuals who will be responsible for:
- Overseeing the maintenance schedule
- Conducting the maintenance
- Checking off scheduled tasks
- Documenting the maintenance
- Adjusting the maintenance plan as your business evolves
When will the maintenance occur?
When the maintenance will be conducted is just as important as the type of maintenance included in your plan. When developing your maintenance schedule, decide when maintenance should be conducted. Your schedule may be based on milestones, time or project, or a mix of all three.
Where will maintenance plan information be stored?
Identify where hard copies of the maintenance schedule and records will be stored and create digital backups of all records. This will help you keep all parties updated on the plan and completed maintenance cycles.
Remember, maintenance doesn't have to be tackled alone
Developing and supporting a complex maintenance program can be difficult. It requires a detailed knowledge of equipment maintenance needs and the right people to conduct the necessary service. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this maintenance alone.
RMS offers maintenance support designed to help you keep your machines running. Our PSSR (Parts and Service) program includes the guidance and service support you need to develop a customized maintenance program of your own. Our shop and field technicians are also available to help conduct the maintenance included in your program.
Contact us to learn more about our PSSR program and maintenance support offerings.
A message from Vice President of Sales and Marketing Andy Schwandt:
The pandemic has brought with it new challenges and supply chain issues across a variety of industries. Construction equipment is no exception. Click the video below to learn what you can do to mitigate these issues.