By Greg Sitek
In construction one of the key components in being successful is completing a project on time or ahead of schedule. Another is completing the project at or under budget. There are many factors that can and do impact both the productivity and cost of a project but a lot depends on the equipment.
If the equipment is dependable and reliable; if the equipment doesn’t perform at it was designed to it’s difficult to be productive and operating costs are up. Throw in a major failure and costs can skyrocket and productivity plummet.
One critical production machine being down can throw a job behind in every sense and every way.
There is insurance that can prevent this from happening or at least minimize the potential for such a catastrophe happening – good equipment management and good equipment maintenance program.
Equipment, all equipment has always demanded maintenance and management. If the equipment isn’t properly maintained, i.e. following the maintenance programs and procedures as outlined in the owner/operator manuals or online programs provided by the machine’s manufacturer.
The routine daily inspections and procedures need to be done by your operation either by the equipment operator or company maintenance staff. Periodic or interval maintenance requirements can be fulfilled either by your operation or through contractual arrangements with your equipment dealer.
To make certain that you are going to get the most out of the equipment make certain that the machine operators and maintenance staff are properly trained, use the correct tools and equipment to do the inspections, repairs and maintenance and use wear-products, i.e. filters, lubricants, belts, hoses, replacements parts, etc. recommended by the manufacturer.
Cutting corners with any of these “components” won’t save you money long term. Quite the contrary, usually it will end up costing much more than you could possibly have saved.
Manage the use and application of the equipment. Establish and follow, religiously, inspections, routine maintenance, wear-part replacement and periodic maintenance as prescribed by the manufacturer. Don’t put off a scheduled maintenance/inspection because you need the machine on the project. Don’t tempt fate. If you need the machine and a routine inspection or maintenance procedure comes up, shut the machine down or bring it in and follow the schedule.
Use all the available maintenance aids you can to make the job easier, more efficient, more exact. Things like oil and/or fluid analysis provide excellent data on the internal conditions of your equipment.
Use maintenance software programs to help with the scheduling and recordkeeping. Good records are essential to good management and maintenance practices.
Use your equipment in applications for which it was designed, engineered and manufactured. A piece of equipment that’s too big for an application doesn’t mean you get the job done fasted.
Intelligent Sizing Drives Success
We’d all love it if we could justify owning and operating the biggest equipment – just to have it in case certain jobs come up that may require that added capacity. But it’s not practical in terms of owning and operating costs, and zoning in on equipment size ranges that best complement your work will make the most sense for your business in the long run.
What size equipment is right for you?
Determining what size of equipment is best for you depends on many factors. Primarily, it’s the application or exact task you require the machine to do. It also depends on what you expect as a return on investment. Generally, larger and more complex machines have higher purchase and operating costs, and have to be billed out at a higher rate. Smaller machines are more affordable to own and run, but they don’t command the large dollar-per-hour fees their big cousins do.
Equipment sizes vary according to volume demands. Often, the machine’s physical weight and dimensions affect the capacity more than engine horsepower or hydraulic pressure. Transportation is another prime issue when it comes to deciding on the right-sized piece of equipment. Having to purchase or arrange for large-capacity hauling between worksites can be an additional overhead that doesn’t pay back. (Source Warren CAT.com)(https://www.warrencat.com/news/construction-equipment-size-guide/))
It’s March and for most of the country time to start getting the equipment ready for the surge of work and from all indicators, this is going to be a busy construction season across the country. If you have questions about maintenance programs, equipment applications, training for operators and/or maintenance staff contact your local dealers. They are a good and reliable source for virtually all equipment related questions.
This feature appeared in the March 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:
California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder