Well-managed construction equipment fleets have a detailed preventative/predictive maintenance program designed to achieve specific desired results and increase efficiency. These programs include specific actions to be taken at specific intervals to eliminate unplanned equipment failures, excessive downtime and associated costs. The program must address and identify component wear before it reaches specific impending failure levels which, if left unchecked, can compromise equipment productivity and the company’s production capabilities and schedules. ‘organization.
Learn more about asset management here.
The program’s goal is to maximize fleet efficiency by increasing scheduled maintenance activities and reducing unscheduled repairs, breakdowns and downtime. This requires a coordinated and constantly evolving effort. Equipment managers, operators, technicians, and others must invest significant time reviewing every aspect of the organization’s preventive/predictive maintenance program to ensure it meets fleet maintenance requirements. current and planned future equipment.
Professional equipment managers are normally very proactive in reviewing and updating their preventive maintenance programs to maintain a planned and systematic approach to efficiency. Yet, as we move out of the pandemic era, data indicates that some organizations may have been hesitant to update their preventive maintenance program. According to a mid-year construction equipment economic survey, only 44.6% of respondents said their fleet was in “very good” or “excellent” condition. Another 39.6% said their fleet was in “good” condition and 15.7% said their fleet was in “fair” or “poor”.
Recent construction costs have risen at a rate never seen before, causing equipment managers to review all aspects of equipment operations to increase efficiency and reduce these rising costs. Likewise, technological advancements in construction equipment and operations are rapidly changing, far outpacing long-established maintenance programs and compounding the need for continual improvement of a proactive equipment maintenance program.
Extended life cycles and second-life equipment rebuilds undertaken in response to recent supply chain issues and limited equipment availability further compound the current complexity of cost-effective equipment management. Many organizations now have equipment assigned to primary production tasks spanning decades of technology and diverse maintenance requirements, all of which require an individualized preventative/predictive maintenance plan and schedule.
Now is the time to start tweaking the maintenance program to meet the challenges of future equipment needs. The complexity of operating a fleet of equipment in today’s economic and technological revolution requires constant attention and updating. As newer, alternative-fuel vehicles and equipment advance and replace older equipment, these machines are undergoing second-life rebuilds. New and old equipment require a similar, but individualized, preventive maintenance program and schedule.
Actions to redevelop the PM program
- Comparative analysis of the existing PM program. Include planned and unplanned maintenance percentage as well as red (failure) events. Include the average time taken by operators to perform pre/post operator care and each specific level of scheduled preventive maintenance. These values become the baseline, or standard repair time, and form the basis for evaluating changes in the maintenance program.
- Review each specific PM level checklist and planned actions, paying particular attention to completeness and any deferred repairs documented from the previous review period. It is in these documents that the equipment managers can verify what the technicians discover during the PM. Perhaps a pattern has emerged that indicates an overlooked area of attention, an underspecified component, or a potential operator problem. Review of breakdowns and unscheduled repairs should also be assessed, as this information is invaluable for updating operator and PM care checklists and planned actions.
- Determine optimal fluid change intervals with a comprehensive fluid analysis program. A detailed and scheduled fluid analysis program provides an overall view of the condition of lubricated equipment and a detailed analysis of their percentage of wear. OEM warranty compliance should take priority for newer and recently completed second-life machine extensions, as OEMs will require documentation of recommended preventative maintenance when submitting a warranty claim. Fluid change interval search extensions. Extensions should not be implemented if additional service intervals are required to inspect other wear items and components during their scheduled inspection and maintenance intervals. With extended fluid change intervals, monitor inspection processes carefully as some early signs of detrimental wear could be missed, leading to higher repair costs. Without such an established fluid analysis program, OEM maintenance interval recommendations must be implemented.
- Incorporate inspection and maintenance requirements of advanced technologies and equipment into the preventive/predictive program. Many of the newer machines and equipment are highly advanced, incorporating hundreds of sensors and electronic components communicating simultaneously with the machine’s electronic control system. These components and systems are subject to climatic and operational constraints, requiring periodic inspection and maintenance. If left unchecked, these components may experience an unplanned failure causing the machine to shut down 100% until repairs can be made. At specific PM intervals, a full electrical system scan and vibration analysis should be performed on components vulnerable to voltage changes or vibration.
- Solicit key stakeholders in the maintenance and operations areas of the organization for their participation and input. Equipment operators should be included as they have a clear idea of the operational characteristics and capabilities of the equipment and are likely to detect changes first. Technicians are the first to discover wear at or above acceptable limits and act to correct it before failure. Operational personnel should review and accept the updated maintenance schedule to plan the time required for scheduled maintenance. Certainly the fleet analyst and information technology personnel familiar with fleet telematics data should also be involved.
- Training for everyone involved in the updated process should be incorporated to meet changes in technician and operator requirements. Classroom and hands-on training is necessary to eliminate any potential shortcomings in the process. During implementation, develop revised standard repair times to measure and minimize scheduled PM machine downtime. Training for new employees should be mandatory and comprehensive of the revised PMI program, including periodic follow-up trainings.
The complexity of construction equipment will continue to increase, requiring preventive maintenance actions to adapt. Ongoing measurement and refinement of the PM plan and program must remain focused on the objective of the Equipment Manager to maintain profitable and sustainable equipment operations.