The Importance of Regular Heavy Equipment Maintenance 

Your heavy equipment does the heavy lifting in your line of work. It’s what enables your staff to do their jobs and keep your projects moving. When it malfunctions or breaks, you notice — and so do your profit margins.

Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your heavy equipment from breaking down or getting your team back to work quickly when it does. While some instances are unavoidable, you can keep downtime to a minimum by having a construction equipment checklist that helps you keep an eye on your most crucial machines.

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Maximize Equipment Performance and ROI with Proactive Maintenance

Take proactive steps today to enhance equipment reliability, minimize downtime, and extend the lifespan of your valuable assets.

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Types of Equipment Maintenance

Equipment maintenance comes in a few forms. All of them work together to keep your machines in good health for the long term, so it’s important to understand their roles in maintaining your heavy equipment.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is how you keep your other maintenance needs as minimal as possible. These maintenance appointments can be scheduled far in advance, as they occur even when your equipment appears to be in perfect shape. During an appointment, a technician will inspect your equipment to perform any necessary tuneups and ensure everything is working as it should.

The goal of preventative maintenance is to catch minor issues before they turn into larger, more expensive concerns that can shut down your operations or require a costly machinery replacement. Since you can schedule it whenever is best for you, preventative maintenance should be a permanent part of your construction equipment checklist.

Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance, on the other hand, requires immediate action. Corrective maintenance is more often called a repair, as it only occurs when your equipment has broken down and cannot work as intended. This kind of maintenance usually requires a technician or personnel who are very experienced with the specific equipment so they can determine whether there’s a way to fix the issue or if you’ll need a new part or machine.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance falls somewhere between preventative and corrective maintenance. Like preventative service, predictive maintenance is not an urgent matter, as the equipment can continue functioning for some time. However, predictive maintenance does involve some elements of repair, as it’s required when there’s something wrong with your equipment.

Most industrial equipment these days relies on technology to collect data and inform operators of trends. This recording system can also indicate when something is going awry during operations. Some technologies may alert you to this, while others require operator evaluation. Regardless, it’s only when your heavy equipment is working differently than expected that you’ll need predictive maintenance. In most cases, it’s better to schedule service sooner rather than later to keep the issue from becoming an expensive problem.

Benefits of Regular Equipment Maintenance

Many companies see corrective and predictive maintenance as the most important forms to address, as they’re usually emergent or time-sensitive. However, the opposite is generally the case. Corrective and predictive maintenance take care of a malfunction when it’s already become a problem, while preventative maintenance aims to solve the situation before it affects operations. Moreover, brands that invest in preventative maintenance often appreciate more of these benefits:

  • Cost savings: While scheduling preventative and predictive maintenance may seem like an extra, unnecessary expense in the first place, it’s more likely to result in cost savings over time. Since corrective maintenance contributes to downtime and is most likely to result in you needing to pay for repairs, it’s the most expensive kind. You want to do everything you can to avoid it, and in most cases, the best way to do so is to make regular service part of your heavy equipment maintenance checklist.
  • Safety improvements: Equipment that doesn’t work as it should is a liability. Broken or malfunctioning heavy equipment is unpredictable and capable of hurting you, your staff or your property. By making your equipment as safe as possible to use, you ensure your team can put it to work with confidence and yield high levels of productivity.
  • Better performance and efficiency: When your equipment receives regular inspections, the service professionals can resolve minor issues quickly to keep the machine performing at its best. Preventative maintenance means your heavy equipment can work at maximum capacity more often, speeding up workflow and allowing you to deliver better, faster results.
  • Extended equipment life span: A well-maintained machine works better, for longer. By making sure all the parts in your equipment work together in harmony, you keep those parts — and the machine as a whole — in peak condition for longer. This is another cost-saving benefit, as spending less money on replacements enhances your profit margins.

How to Maximize Heavy Equipment Life Span — Our Maintenance Checklist

Cat® equipment sets itself apart through its rugged construction and long life spans, and at H.O. Penn, we want to help you maintain that legacy with our equipment. The best way to stay on top of your maintenance needs is to create a heavy equipment maintenance checklist that encourages your staff to closely examine their machinery, work tools and any other construction equipment they may use on the job.

Below, we’ll discuss five of the most crucial jobs that should be on every maintenance checklist. As you start creating your own daily, weekly and quarterly lists, make sure these points get the attention they deserve.

1. Schedule Preventative Maintenance

As we’ve discussed, preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to avoid major malfunctions. Scheduling service with an experienced team like the technicians at H.O. Penn lets you stay on top of budding concerns and keep efficiency and productivity at their peak.

With all heavy equipment, check with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for how often the machine should be serviced. Incorporating routine fluid sampling and analysis as with Caterpillar’s SOS program and HO Penn’s in-house lab provides timely valuable information used to manage and reduce machine operating costs. This information can be invaluable in identifying trends within components and providing lesser-cost recommended repairs rather than much more expensive after-failure rebuilds or complete component
replacement costs. It’s a good rule of thumb to get everything inspected every six to 12 months, but some equipment may require more frequent upkeep.

2. Provide Regular Operator Training

Even if your operations are mostly run by technology these days, human observation and intervention can help correct small issues and ensure your machinery is working correctly per its programming. Real people can also identify solutions to make your processes more efficient and take note of places or instances where safety could be better maintained.

To do all this, your people need training on what to do. Make sure you make time in their schedule — quarterly or annually are good time frames to consider — to remind them of their duties and update them on any policies or industry standards that have changed.

3. Record Maintenance Efforts

Every time you perform maintenance and offer training to your employees, you should document it. This shows that you’re putting in the effort to make your facility safer and more efficient, reducing your liability. It will also help you keep track of the last time your equipment was examined, so that in the event it fails, you can better understand when and how it happened.

4. Record Equipment Malfunctions

Just as you should record any maintenance efforts, you’ll want to take detailed notes if your equipment experiences any kind of malfunction. This record can help you gauge approximately when you can expect certain parts to need replacing in the future and provide information to a technician when they come in to perform repairs or maintenance.

5. Replace Equipment Parts Regularly

Many companies only replace parts after they’re broken, but the buildup to a machine’s belt, engine or other part failing is often preceded by days, weeks or months of substandard performance. Replacing these parts before they break can stave off unexpected downtime and keep productivity more consistent.

To keep your operation moving, make a parts replacement schedule that anticipates components’ life spans and when they might start declining in efficiency. As part of your equipment maintenance checklist, you’ll want to service or change out these parts based on your planned timeline.

Build Your Cat® Equipment Maintenance Schedule Today

Even when your tools come from a brand as reliable as Caterpillar, a maintenance checklist is an important step to keeping them running strong. The best maintenance jobs are done by expert technicians who understand your equipment and have studied methods to help it thrive.

The service team at H.O. Penn has the experience you need to keep your construction equipment in order and get you back to work quickly when you need support. Let us help you build a heavy equipment maintenance checklist when you schedule service with our team today.

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