Extending Equipment Life, Plus Top Quick Tips to Keep it Running Smoothly
How about replacing small components before failure? Yes, says Connelly, “We certainly attempt to replace components such as starters, alternators, and water pumps before failure,” he says. “We advocate condition-based maintenance.”
The level of service that Oldcastle procures from equipment dealers depends on the relationship of each division with its local equipment dealers, Connelly says. Each division has multiple shops that do preventive maintenance and some repairs.
Oldcastle also uses Viewpoint management software, which has an equipment module that identifies each piece of equipment by a unique number. Revenues, as well as operating hours and all costs, including oil changes, parts, and repairs, are tracked for each piece of equipment. “We take data that is housed in Viewpoint to determine the optimum equipment life cycles,” Connelly says. “We look at each piece of equipment multiple times each year.”
Keeping it longer
The Washington Division of URS Corp. keeps equipment based on site-specific applications, says Bob Merritt, director of maintenance at the Boise, Idaho-based firm. The Washington Division owns 2,000 plus pieces of equipment that work at construction sites, quarries, and mines around the world.
“We keep equipment on long-term projects based on application and production,” Merritt says, noting that while many operators try to get rid of machines before the first major rebuild, his company may hold it longer and go through one or two rebuilds on many pieces. “The number of hours is driven by the class of equipment,” he adds.
Take 50- to 70-ton excavators, for example. Washington has some that range from 14,000 hours up to around 25,000 hours on longer-term projects. Front shovels and mining excavators run longer — up to 60,000 hours.
How about dozers? “Typically we try to get rid of the less-than-300-horsepower class at about 10,000 to 12,000 hours; the 300- to 500-horsepower class in 20,000 hours, and the above-500-horsepower class in 50,000 hours,” Merritt says. “Even at those hours, that’s longer than most people run them.”
Washington Division will do a major rebuild at 12,000 to 14,000 hours on a construction dozer. That means the complete power train gets rebuilt components —engine, transmission, torque converter, and final drives.
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