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Machinery & Equipment Risk: How To Get The Most From Your Maintenance Strategy

Equipment owners and operators typically know their gear better than anyone – so when it comes to keeping it operating effectively, the experts behind NTI’s Yellow Cover say you are likely best suited to deciding and executing the ideal maintenance strategy.

Check out below some of the key variables to consider when determining your maint-enance strategy.

From the onset, one thing to keep in mind is that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance guidelines are considered a baseline you can apply your specific knowledge to.

The aim of developing your own maintenance regime is to create the lowest cost per hour whilst retaining equipment reliability. Achieving this requires input from experienced technicians who understand how your usage or nature of operations affects your equipment.

Taking the below variables into account with your maintenance provider ideally allows you to optimise your strategy and gain further control of your equipment availability and costs.

The way your equipment is treated is the greatest contributor to your maintenance costs. Sometimes even the most experienced operators have accumulated ‘bad habits’ which apply undue load or stress on your equipment.

The single best opportunity to identify faults is the daily pre-start check. Knowledgeable and observant operators will highlight small issues before they impart further damage.

As a starting point, ensure your operators are trained and competent to your expectations; are you confident in their ability to perform pre-start checks? Do they know the key faults to look for and is your workforce encouraged to perform these kinds of assessments? Considering these points and make a great difference.

Similarly to operator input, the environment your equipment operates in contributes significantly to your maintenance requirements. For example, working in a saline swamp poses different wear characteristics to a rocky metalliferous mine, so this needs to be considered in your maintenance plan. Further considerations are contaminants, temperature, humidity and altitude to name a few.

Think about how your operating environment may impact your maintenance strategy. You might need to consider the same about your equipment moving between sites – how far it travels, how it travels and the varying environments it operates in.

One of the biggest impacts on the cost of maintenance is choosing when to perform it; too early and you lose residual life from your components; too late and you risk the deterioration impacting other components and increasing the cost to repair.

Equipment owners need to juggle these decisions with the working requirements of the equipment to select the best time for servicing and repairs. This can be difficult and finding the solution that suits your operation is imperative to long term implementation, it could be spreadsheet, whiteboard or management software based.

Where practicable, forecast your requir-ements for machinery and include the maintenance requirements. It is ideal to have your maintenance and operations teams work cohesively in this endeavour.

The usage cycle of the equipment should also be considered when devising the maintenance strategy. This refers to hours of use. A machine that might do a few hours a month is vastly different to one operating 24/7.

Be sure to notify your maintenance provider as the duty cycle of your equipment changes. It is simple, but easily overlooked – you do need to consider how much you use your equipment and when. Is it 24/7? Is it seasonal? The same piece of equipment can have a vastly different maintenance schedule and life expectancy.

Want more from Australia’s leader in mobile plant and equipment insurance? Check out NTI’s Yellow Cover a

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