Maintaining these large capital investment machines properly is something that can make a big difference to your business and getting the best from your equipment. There are a range of things that need to be done to keep them running at their optimum and being proactive means doing maintenance often and building it into a daily routine.
Jeff Pickett, Senior Technician for Equip2 outlines what good maintenance is for a Quarrying Plant whether it’s mobile or fixed, and gives advice on how these different types of maintenance aid uptime and profitability.
Though it may seem obvious, outlining the different types of maintenance and what they involve helps everyone understand the process and how it improves operations.
To understand the first major reason why Quarries need a good maintenance schedule, one should ask, what happens when the machine isn’t running? The answer is simple, the Quarry will be losing money; which is also the same for a plant that isn’t running as well as it could be. Proper maintenance enables efficiency, which improves the return on investment by ensuring the plant is always running at its optimum.
Proper maintenance also reduces risk. When a machine is tuned, serviced, and regularly checked, there are more opportunities to discover issues that need attention thus reducing the risk of a failure, which wastes both time and money.
This decreased risk directly translates into increased uptime and better ROI. The ultimate goal of maintenance is maximising uptime while decreasing risk to make the machine as reliable as possible, so it can run day in day out without interruptions to regular processes and keep making money - or as we like to say the most profit per tonne.
The Types of Maintenance
When approaching maintenance, it is important to distinguish the different types of maintenance there are, and when they should be done. Understanding what types of things need to be checked, serviced, or replaced, and when; will lead to a maintenance schedule that will greatly reduce downtime, and increase the efficiency of the machinery to reach optimum output.
There are three main types of maintenance:
- Preventative Maintenance
- Regular daily and weekly maintenance.
- Daily pre-start checks.
- Keeping the machine clean.
- Recording outputs.
- Greasing and other machine-specific tasks.
- Scheduled Maintenance
- Scheduled hour based services with time reserved to do it.
- Oil changes.
- Wear part replacement.
- Rectifying issues found in daily checks.
- Corrective Maintenance
- Breakdowns and fixes that are unplanned.
- This is the type of maintenance to be avoided.
Ideally, a solid combination of Preventative and Scheduled Maintenance results in never having to do Corrective Maintenance.
Something that techs see occasionally is “run to failure.” This is where an avoidable issue has become a serious problem that causes the machine to fail, break, or stop. When this happens there’s only one question to ask, how much was gained versus lost, with these breakages, the answer is always more lost.
Tips for Good Maintenance
There is a range of things that will help with machine upkeep, maintenance and problem identification, which is good practice to follow.
- Train staff to know what optimal running feels, sounds, and looks like, so they can catch issues sooner.
- Make time for staff to learn and train on a new plant
- Training is a tool, and the better equipped your staff are, the better your processes will run.
- Ensure all staff are part of machine inductions, then re-do them later with more training.
- Just do them, something is better than nothing, and they don’t need to be complex.
- Make a pre-start checklist.
- Get machine-specific checklists, Equip2 has them for free!
- Keep a KPI and create accountability.
- Get the right tools for the job.
- Keep tools and spares with the machine.
- Every tool you equip your team with is a tool they can use to do their job better.
- Use remote management software to track performance.
- Remote management software helps achieve accurate reporting.
- You can't measure what you don’t track!
- Remote management systems allow support techs to adjust settings and solve problems remotely and quickly.
- Keep mission-critical parts on hand.
- Get a service trailer that will be kept with the machine that is equipped with wear parts and consumables.
- Keeping necessary parts on hand removes the wait time to order and receive parts you regularly go through.
- Build a good relationship with your equipment supplier.
- They have lots of knowledge which can help you run the equipment better.
- They are there to help, so don’t hesitate to ask questions .
Just Do it
Maintenance has the potential to turn into a much bigger and more expensive process if it’s left and not done. The most cost-effective way to keep plant running is to keep everything serviced, checked, and in good working order. When things aren’t kept in that condition, you can expect expensive breakdowns.