Why Taking Better Care of Your Industrial Equipment
Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution
The beginning of a new year inspires many of us to adopt better habits (even if it is only for a short while) as part of a New Year’s Resolution. Most resolutions involve taking better care of ourselves, and we don’t really give much thought to taking better care of the critical business assets like hydraulic machinery or air compressors that we use during the workday. With the temperatures getting colder every day, adopting best practices listed below will ensure your equipment avoids unnecessary breakdowns and delays in the coming year.
Set up and follow a maintenance schedule
Keep in mind that manufacturer recommended preventative maintenance schedules define minimum standards and are based on standard working conditions. Depending on temperature, humidity levels and the amounts of dust, ice, snow, rain, mud, you may need to schedule maintenance more often. Use the advice of your field service technician to determine the best preventative maintenance schedule. Schedule your field service now. After each service visit, save your service records including date, type of service performed, parts that were replaced, next regular servicing dates in your maintenance facility or inside of the machine to maintain accurate history. Failure to follow a maintenance schedule requested by the manufacturer can void your warranty.
Inspect equipment for signs of wear and tear (at least) annually
The following 4 factors affect the wear and tear of your equipment the most:
- Corrosion- Watch for any changes in humidity levels or explosion to the corrosive liquids and gas. Pay attention to the labeling of the products and materials used in your facility. Corrosion causes rust and oxidation and should be avoided as much as possible.
- Abrasion- Abrasion occurs when friction is created by particles that are trapped between two sliding surfaces. Moving parts and softer machine surfaces could be affected by cuts, scores, and gouge of the materials. Provide proper lubrication and test your lubricant for quality control to ensure smooth operation between two parts that are in contact, or to the parts that strike against fixed objects.
- Fatigue- Fatigue happens when cyclic (or fluctuating) stress causes the cracking of materials and structural components. Watch out for foreign object impact damage, vibration, temperature changes (thermal shock). Further damage of surrounding components can happen. Consider installing advanced condition monitoring sensors to get accurate and continuous data on flexible displacement measurements.
- Adhesion- Adhesion takes place when localized bonding between contacting solid surfaces occurs and this starts the friction. Use lubrication to prevent friction get to high levels.
To avoid your machinery getting out of order set up clear inspection guidelines. Watch out for any unusual vibration, shock or overheating. Keep track of the key components’ aging. Make sure your gears and belts are aligned, there is enough lubrication and no friction. Monitor the condition of your seals for any cracks. Check if bolts are screwed tight and are not loose.
Provide a proper storage place
If your equipment is stored outside, attempt to provide a shed to avoid rusting over time. Keep your equipment in a clean environment with low humidity levels and minimize temperature fluctuations if possible. When not in use, run your equipment once in a while to keep it in a working condition.
Provide a clean environment
Inspect all seals and filters on a regular basis to keep your machine parts clean, and avoid contamination. Contaminated air, parts and components may cause system failures and shutdowns. Changes in inline pressure can warn you when something is amiss (like contamination or debris) before a breakdown occurs. Installing ‘smart’ system pressure sensors will give you a chance to monitor the conditions of your filters in real time. A lot of businesses use tools like Parker’s SensoNODE pressure sensor, which is available in a variety of pressure ranges up to 8700 psi and provides the system pressure data to your phone so that you can be sure anywhere and anytime our system runs smoothly.
Ensure proper training for equipment operators
Typically companies provide extensive training when employees first join the company or when the new equipment is being introduced, but as the time goes by most businesses rarely offer any additional training. Poor operation of your machinery leads to breakdowns. Always revise operator manuals for being up-to-date. Periodically run a demonstration of the systems and all controls. Consider introducing employee testing as a part of the training to ensure operators possess the necessary skills including pre and post operation maintenance procedures. After each breakdown investigate the cause and make changes to your manuals and procedures. Consider adding checklists and clear navigation to your manuals. Always keep researching industry best practices and be ready to implement changes to your employees’ education as needed.
We are sure you have lots of exciting plans for this year, so our task at The Hope Group is to make sure you have a breakdown free year (or get you back up running if you do). We will be posting more useful tips on our blog this year, so check back for new posts soon. If you have any questions or would like to schedule your preventative maintenance visit for hydraulic or air compressor equipment, please call 508-393-7660 or fill out the form online.