Maintaining and purchasing equipment represents a significant ongoing expense for the majority of construction companies, which rely on specialised tools and processes. However, whether you’re a small contractor or the manager of a large construction firm, there are usually ways to reduce and minimise the cost of repairing and replacing equipment by practicing proper maintenance to extend the lifespan of your gear. With that said, here are seven tips any contractor or company can use to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on all sorts of construction equipment:
1. Prevent Exposure to Dust and Ash
Dust build-up is one of the main causes of equipment and electronics failures in the construction industry, yet it’s a highly preventable problem. Dust has a way of making its way into every crack and crevice within a machine. Eventually, filters can become clogged, fans become less effective, and electrical components begin to overheat leading to shortages and other issues. Any time you’re building in a dusty environment, it’s important to clean up after every shift using a HEPA shop vac that doesn’t emit any dust back into the air. One of the best products on the market right now is the dustless wet dry vac from Dustless Tools. This can capture even the finest dust from wood, drywall, concrete wall and many more products. Its key feature is that it can go between wet and dry surfaces without needing the filter to be switched.
2. Develop a Maintenance Routine
Maintenance simply won’t work as well as it should if you’re not doing it on a routine basis. If your company uses a variety of tools it can be easy to overlook the individual maintenance needs of each piece of equipment. Thus, it might be helpful to create a pre-defined schedule that lists all required maintenance procedures, along with the suggested frequency of each. How do you know how often you should be performing maintenance and what of maintenance you’ll need to be doing? Start by following the advice in the next tip.
3. Always Follow the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Recommendations
Reading the manual for every piece of equipment you own and developing a comprehensive maintenance schedule based on the manufacturer’s recommendations can seem like quite a challenge, but it can usually be done within the span of a single workday. You could also outsource this task to an equipment maintenance specialist to have a maintenance schedule developed without much effort.
4. Adjust Cleaning and Filter-Changing Frequency to Suit Your Application
While the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance regimen will give you a good basis for general use, in some cases you might need to change filters or conduct cleanings more regularly. For example, daily inspections might be required for vehicles or tractors with undercarriages that are exposed to abrasive materials like sharp rocks and pebbles or corrosive soils. Use your discretion and perform frequent inspections to create a suitable maintenance plan that’s tailored to your application.
5. Make Sure Equipment Users are Properly Trained
If an employee doesn’t know how to properly use their equipment, it could lead to premature wear and unnecessary damage. Thus, it’s imperative to ensure that all staff members are knowledgeable about how to safely and effectively operate any equipment they’re going to be using on the job. This might involve requiring users to pass a test to show that they have a solid understanding of the instructions and manuals for the equipment. Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that every user has the appropriate credentials to show that they’re a certified operator of the equipment type they’re using.
6. Leave Repairs and Complex Maintenance to the Professionals
Attempting to make minor repairs on equipment and tools might seem like a good way to save money, but you could actually be costing your company more in the long-term if you fail to do the job right. Any fairly complicated mechanical maintenance should be performed by a qualified professional to prevent the possibility of equipment failure, property damage or personal injury on a construction site.
7. Pay Attention to Warranty Terms
Sometimes it’s possible to violate the terms of your equipment’s warranty by performing your own maintenance outside of the dealers or repair services that are approved by the manufacturer or warranty provider. While you might not be accustomed to reading every warranty for every piece of equipment, it’s a good idea to at least go over the maintenance section to determine what you are and aren’t allowed to repair, restore, and replace without violating the terms of the warranty.
Equipment Maintenance Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
Ultimately, by heeding the tips above you can make equipment maintenance as simple as setting up a schedule and sticking to it. Starting with the solid foundation of maintaining a clean and dust-free working environment will go a long way in keeping your mechanical tools working smoothly for many years. With these straightforward tips in mind, you should be able to maximise the lifespan of your tools and equipment while also reducing the cost of maintenance and repairs in the long-term.