Introduction to Module 3
In module 3, we’ll discuss how to keep your equipment in its best condition to get its longest life and best performance throughout its life.
Routine and regular equipment maintenance affects the mat you lay and can have a serious impact on worker safety.
Preventive maintenance hours, on average, account for three and a half of every ten hours worked in the construction industry. This commitment of time helps contractors avoid big downtime from big repairs, such as clutch replacements, coupling changes and complete refurbishments.
You might think this time-commitment puts a lot of pressure on the mechanic, but you won’t leave something this important up to just one team member. Each member of the crew should know what’s expected from him at the beginning of the shift to maintain the equipment he’s responsible for. We covered some of that in the job descriptions of Module 1.
Having responsibility for a machine means you need to know that machine. You need to know how to inspect it, how to care for it, how to clean it, how to start it up and shut it down. You should only use equipment according to its specs and rated capacities, or you’ll reduce its productivity, slow the payback period and shorten its operating life. Maybe your employer has provided maintenance sheets to show you exactly what to do to care for your equipment according to company policies.
On a daily basis, operators are expected to makes notes of anything that might be “off” about their equipment on the daily maintenance sheet. This way, the mechanic will have a heads-up of upcoming issues.
Giving the mechanic a heads up is very important because it gives him or her time to order new parts, if necessary, or locate the part and tools for the repair in his inventory. This gives the mechanic and foreman time to schedule the equipment’s downtime for repair, based on when the parts will be available and when the machine can be out of service.
Communication among the mechanic, the machine’s operator and the project foreman means the repair can be completed before it becomes an emergency that causes a disruption on a project in the field.
Here’s a Quick Tip:
You want to put in place a preventive maintenance schedule, either on paper where operators fill out a mechanic’s sheet and inspection form, or with the help of technology. With some technology today, you use electronic inspection devices or telematics programs.
Sticking to a schedule is key for maintaining the value of equipment and cutting down on repair costs.
While the operator checks his machine and completes daily maintenance, he should make notes on a daily maintenance report to log several things. First, he will log what might be wrong. Then he will log what is operating correctly and what is properly greased. Then he will log what should be watched during the shift or checked in the near future.
For example, the operator will notice if the augers are speeding on the paver. A daily maintenance report gives him the opportunity to communicate this to the mechanic before production is halted for emergency repairs.
Before conducting any maintenance, follow proper lockout/tagout procedure. It’s important that you follow all safety procedures before conducting any maintenance.
Here’s how you need to lockout/tagout equipment. First, set the vehicle’s parking brake, or immobilize it in some way. Then, you need to remove the key from the ignition switch and keep the key with you until the repair work is complete. If applicable, shut off all master switches. Then, to take your safety precautions a step further, put an out-of-service sign like the one on the last slide on the vehicle’s steering wheel or operator station control panel. Only then should you perform the repair. Once you’re done, you can remove the sign, place the key in the ignition, turn master switches back on, and notify the operator that the maintenance is complete.
The sign is available for download in this lesson.