An Rx for Excavator Maintenance
Among the most potentially useful preventive-maintenance tools available today are wireless information systems that communicate pertinent machine information to the machine owner. Caterpillar’s system, Product Link, for example, is standard equipment on all its new excavators and reports information on three levels: Asset Watch (reporting such data as location and hours); Maintenance Watch (allowing maintenance scheduling and history); and Health Watch (reporting fault codes, event codes, and fuel consumption).
The point is this: If your machine is equipped with such a system (you can also usually retrofit a system to an existing machine), consider subscribing to its reporting capability at the highest level. This level likely will provide immediate alerts (via cell-phone text or e-mail) about machine abnormalities (out-of-range temperatures or pressures, for instance) or machine “events” that could negatively affect the machine’s heath (such as poor operating techniques).
If the machine owner acts on this real-time information, potentially serious problems can be averted — which is the ultimate goal of preventive maintenance.
Kent Pellegrini joined Caterpillar in 2001 and currently is the marketing manager and a product application specialist for hydraulic excavators. He previously held the position of product marketing manager for skid-steer loaders and multi-terrain loaders.
Check items on this checklist once every 10 hours of operation to keep your excavator in peak condition.
· Check coolant level;
· Check engine-oil level;
· Check hydraulic-oil level;
· Drain water from fuel separator/tank;
· Test indicators and gauges;