Fleet Management Strategies

Fleet Management Strategies     Heavy Equipment Fleet Management Strategies   The larger your grow your fleet, the more critical effective construction equipment management becomes. Properly servicing and maintaining your machines is crucial to ensuring a continued return on investment. A general rule of thumb is to replace equipment once its maintenance costs exceed 30% of the machine’s resale value. To help you keep your investment working productively for as long as possible, we’ve put together some important heavy equipment fleet management strategies that you can follow.   Stay ahead of downtime   We recommend enrolling your entire heavy equipment fleet into preventive maintenance contracts. It is essential to complete routine service at the intervals suggested by the manufacturer to optimize performance of your equipment and to document maintenance for warranty assurance. Proactive maintenance is a key part of construction equipment management, because it helps stabilize operational costs and lowers expenses by identifying small issues before they turn into big problems.   Always follow the 80-20 rule   It’s important to remember that about 80% of all maintenance costs are spent on 20% of machine problems. If you can recognize common or repeat issues and take preventive action to fix them, then you can eliminate the things that eat up your operating budget and are the main culprits behind costly downtime.   Implement equipment monitoring tools   Understanding how your machines are performing is a key part of construction equipment management. There are now innovative, advanced tools that accurately monitor equipment, collect data, and convert raw data into actionable information. Software is available to help fleet managers determine a machine's resale value, calculate ownership and operating costs, and estimate repairs, parts and labor expenses. If you need help understanding these tools, just ask!   Conduct routine fluid analysis   Regularly completing fluid analysis and comparing contaminant levels to normal wear rates helps identify potential issues with components before a major breakdown occurs. Analyzing fluids is one of the most important heavy equipment fleet management strategies we can share with you, because it gives you a picture of how your machine is working internally and will help you avoid unnecessary downtime and costly repairs.   Keep comprehensive records   Maintaining tight records of all the machines in your fleet will help you predict equipment productivity and operational costs, including working hours, fuel consumption, maintenance expenses, and more. Consistent, reliable information allows you to make the best decision possible when determining whether to replace or repair a machine. Keep a file for every piece of heavy equipment in your fleet and document all service and repairs.   Pay attention to equipment age   Generally speaking, the average total cost of owning and operating machines follows a parabolic slope. That means that total cost decreases during the early years of owning the equipment, as capital costs are spread over a longer period of time. However, operating costs increase during the same period, eventually causing an increase in average total cost. The point at which the sum of ownership costs and operating costs is at its minimum is the best age for operating your machines efficiently. One of the most crucial heavy equipment fleet management strategies is to stabilize the average age of all your machines near this point to minimize the total cost of ownership.   Should you rebuild or replace a machine?   Construction equipment management often involves deciding between rebuilding and replacing a machine. You can use this simple formula to calculate and compare the costs of each choice:   Cost to rebuild (new equipment price x .5)/equipment life (estimated hours x .75) = cost per hour   For example, a new piece of equipment that is $140,000 with an estimated life of 10,000 hours would cost $14 per hour to operate. To compare, calculate the cost to rebuild.   ($140,000)(.5)/(10.000)(.75) = $9.33 per hour   If the cost to rebuild is $70,000 for an estimated equipment life of 7,500 hours, at $9.33 per hour, it is more cost effective to rebuild than to replace.   If you have any questions about heavy equipment fleet management strategies, contact our team today!

Hydraulic System Maintenance

Hydraulic System Maintenance   Tips for Maintaining Your Hydraulic Equipment     Equipment hydraulic systems provide the power needed to perform heavy lifting, digging, and maneuvering tasks. To ensure the longevity and reliable performance of construction equipment, regular hydraulic maintenance is crucial. Below are the best practices for maintaining hydraulic systems in construction equipment, ensuring optimal performance and minimizing downtime.   Regular inspection and cleaning   The most important part of hydraulic equipment maintenance is regularly checking the system for any leaks, damaged hoses, or worn out seals. You should also pay close attention to connections, fittings, and hydraulic fluid reservoirs. Inspect the filters and screens to ensure they are clean and free from debris that can hinder proper flow. Regularly remove dirt, dust, and other particles that may accumulate on the equipment, as they can adversely affect the system's performance.   Monitor fluid levels and quality   Fluid is the lifeblood of the system and a key part of hydraulic maintenance. Check fluid levels frequently, following the manufacturer's recommendations. Low levels can lead to cavitation and inadequate lubrication, causing premature wear and reduced performance, while contaminated or degraded fluid can impair the hydraulic system's efficiency and cause component failures. Regularly test the fluid for contamination, moisture, and degradation, and replace it if necessary.   Maintain proper fluid temperatures   Hydraulic systems generate heat during operation, and excessive temperatures can lead to fluid breakdown and component failure. A key part of hydraulic equipment maintenance is regularly monitoring the system's operating temperature to ensure it stays within the recommended range. If the temperature exceeds the acceptable limit, consider using coolers or heat exchangers to regulate it. Adequate ventilation and airflow around the hydraulic components can also help dissipate heat effectively.   Lubrication and seal maintenance   Proper lubrication is essential to minimize friction and wear within the hydraulic equipment. Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for lubricating moving parts, such as cylinders, pistons, and bearings. Lubricate seals and O-rings to prevent leakage and to help maintain their integrity. Confirm that the lubricants are compatible with the hydraulic fluid and the system's components before applying them. Using the wrong lubricant can lead to seal swelling, reduced performance, and potential system damage.   Regular filter replacement   Filters play a critical role in hydraulic maintenance by capturing contaminants and preventing them from circulating in the system. Over time, filters become clogged and lose their effectiveness, compromising the system's performance. Replace filters at regular intervals as recommended by the manufacturer or based on usage conditions.   Maintain system pressure and optimize settings   Proper pressure settings are essential for operation of your hydraulic equipment. Regularly monitor and adjust pressure levels according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Excessive pressure can cause damage to system components, while inadequate pressure can result in poor performance. Regularly inspect and calibrate pressure relief valves to ensure accurate and consistent pressure control.   If you have any questions hydraulic equipment or maintenance, then just reach out to our team today!

Turf Maintenance: 6 Essential Lawn Care Tips

 A great looking lawn is a beautiful sight, but maintaining lush, green turf requires consistently taking the right steps. Turf maintenance involves providing your grass with the necessary nutrients, water, and care to keep it healthy and vibrant throughout the year. To help you out, we’ve put together six turf maintenance tips to remember when you are working to cultivate a healthy lawn.   Aerate your turf—Aerating is an effective way to reduce soil compaction and allow nutrients and water to penetrate deeper into the root system. You can use a lawn aerator or a garden fork to create small holes in the soil. Aerating your turf six to eight times a year can improve soil health and promote healthier turf growth. Fertilize regularly—Fertilizing is an essential task for turf maintenance. Fertilizers provide essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are necessary for healthy growth. Choose a fertilizer that is suitable for your turf type and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions. A regular fertilizing schedule can keep your lawn healthy and vibrant throughout the growing season. Water your lawn correctly—Watering the correct way is crucial for maintaining healthy turf growth. It’s important to water grass deeply and infrequently, rather than shallowly and frequently. This approach encourages deep root growth, which makes your turf more resilient to drought and other stress factors. Use a sprinkler or irrigation system to water your lawn, and avoid overwatering, which can lead to fungal growth and other turf diseases. Plus, always water at night or in the morning or evening. Avoid the hottest part of the day when you will lose water to evaporation. Mow regularly—Mowing is an essential aspect of turf maintenance. Regular mowing promotes healthy turf growth and prevents weeds from taking over. Choose the right mowing height for your turf type, and avoid cutting too low, which can damage the grass blades and root system. A general rule of thumb is to mow no more than one third of the grass height at a time. Control weeds—Weeds can quickly take over your turf, so it's essential keep them away from the turf. You can use herbicides or manually remove the weeds, but be sure to choose a method that is suitable for your turf type and safe for the environment. If clearing weeds from a smaller area, then removing them by hand is your best option. Repair bare spots—Bare spots can be unsightly and make your lawn more susceptible to weeds and turf diseases. Repair bare spots by raking the area and adding new grass seed or turf. Keep the area moist until the grass seed has germinated and established a strong root system.   Following these steps consistently will make turf maintenance easier and more successful, providing you with a healthy, resilient lawn. If you have any questions about maintaining your turf, then contact our team today!

Avoiding Wear on Pins and Bushings 

Tips for Avoiding Wear on Pins and Bushings  Pins and bushings are often the first structural components that require maintenance. Depending on the material you're working in, like soil, rock, gravel, or pavement, how much you use the machine, and who the operator is, pins and bushings may wear slower or faster. We've put together several tips to help slow wear rates of pins and bushings on your tracked equipment.    Why should you care about pin and bushing wear? Replacing a damaged pin and bushing can cost several hundred or a few thousand dollars. Plus, your equipment may need to be transported to an offsite workshop to complete the replacement, leading to costly downtime. If the worn pin or bushing has damaged the structural steel of the equipment, you might be faced with the cost of replacing the pin and bushing and the repair costs for line boring, welding, and refitting.  There are two primary ways to avoid pin and bushing wear and avoid these costs and downtime: lubrication and turning.   Ensure Proper Lubrication Pins and bushings wear excessively when there's a lack of lubrication, and they don't wear evenly. The pin wears on the side that makes contact with the bushing and wears on the mating surface of its inner diameter. Worn pins and bushings lead to tracks' stretching (called pitching), which decreases the performance of the tracks and has negative impacts on the life of your undercarriage. Most pins and bushings today have 'grease grooves' on the inner diameter where lubricants form a film layer for the pin to rotate on. Adding lubricant at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer slow wear rates and help purge contaminants from the bushing by forcing out foreign materials from the grooves.    Pin and Bushing Turning  In order to avoid pitching, pins and bushings can be regularly turned, so the wear side is not along the side that makes contact with other components. The pin and bushing turning provides new surfaces to working areas both internally and externally. By bringing new surfaces to working areas, the wear for the difference in load is more evenly distributed. Turning restores pitch on the track between pins and can prolong undercarriage life by enabling the chain to last until links and rollers need attention. It's a good idea to check your pins and bushings before you bring out your machine for the season. If you see your tracks pitching, you know you have to address the pins and bushings. How often pins and bushings need to be turned can vary based on the conditions of your working environment, but you will likely need to do it at around 2,000 hours. If you have any questions about pin and bushing wear or need us to handle turning or replacement, contact our team today!  

Fluid Maintenance

Fluid Maintenance It is especially important to monitor fluid levels in your equipment during the summer months when temperatures are high.  The summer heat will cause the engine to warm at a faster rate.  As the engine warms, the machine’s fluids will suffer vaporization loss, eventually leading to a lower fluid level.  Perform daily checks on the hydraulic fluid, coolant, and machine’s oils to ensure that the equipment will not run into problems while operating.    Fluids to Check Hydraulic fluid Hydraulic fluid is used to transmit the force required to operate the machinery and to lubricate the hydraulic system and protect it from corrosion.  Low hydraulic fluid levels will cause the machine to overheat and reduce the power of the equipment.  Before checking the level of hydraulic fluid, make sure the machine is on even ground.  The fluid should be kept at the level indicated on the tank’s gauge.   Coolant Coolant keeps an engine running at peak performance in all temperatures.  Coolant adds antifreeze and corrosion inhibitors, to prevent freezing, corrosion, cavitation, and rust.  Operating with low coolant can lead to major problems, because unprotected surfaces could sustain damage.  When checking coolant levels, allow the engine to completely cool.  Then, locate the coolant reservoir and fill the tank to the indicated line.  Oils - engine, transmission, gear Engine oil is used mainly to lubricate parts.  It also cleans, inhibits corrosion, improves sealing, and cools the engine by carrying heat away from moving parts.  To check the engine oil level, some machines require a dipstick inspection while others require removing the fill cap to check that the oil is at the fill line or the top of the fill hole. Transmission oil lubricates the transmission gears and helps keep the transmission operating temperatures reduced.   To check the transmission oil, turn off the engine and locate the transmission dipstick.  The level should be just under the full mark. Gear oil lubricates gear teeth and helps prevent the machine from overheating.  When checking the lubricant level, make sure the gear oil is at the level of the filler plug.  Fluid level is critical to effective and efficient operation.    Additional Fluid Questions? Contact your local branch with your fluid maintenance questions.  Be sure to ask about fluid analysis to track contaminant levels in your equipment’s fluid, so we can predict component failure.  We will provide guidance and oil change intervals, based on the results for your equipment.

Mower Maintenance Tips

The Most Important Lawn Mower Maintenance Tips Get a jump on the Spring mowing season. Your mower works hard every day, and you depend on it for your business. To help you keep it as productive as possible during the upcoming season, we have put together some of the most important lawn mower maintenance tips.   Change the oil To avoid problems with your mower operating properly, change the oil regularly. When spring is coming, it is the perfect time to complete this important task. In order to protect your lawn mower engine, we recommend changing the oil at least once a year or after every 50 hours of use, whichever comes first. If you are operating in especially dusty or dirty conditions, you may need to change it more frequently. Check your owner’s manual to determine which type of oil is best for your machine and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil change frequency to avoid issues requiring mower service.   Inspect your spark plugs One of the most important lawn mower maintenance tips is to ensure your spark plugs are in good condition before the busy season starts. A loose or dirty plug will make the mower difficult to start, waste fuel, and cause it to run choppy, producing poor cutting results. We recommend pulling off your mower’s spark plug wire, removing the plug, and using brake cleaner and a wire brush to gently clear any dirt or signs of corrosion. After removing the dirt and grime, buff the plug with a soft cloth, and then reattach it.   Replace your mower’s engine air filter The next important lawn mower maintenance tip is to swap out the air filter. A dirty or clogged filter will put extra strain on your engine and keep your mower from operating as efficiently as it otherwise would. By changing the air filter this spring, your machine will breathe easy, run better, and you can avoid costly mower service down the road.     Clean the mowing deck If your mower deck is clogged with grass and debris, it won’t cut as efficiently and can lead to accelerated corrosion. A dirty mower deck can also spread plant diseases from property to property. A good lawn mower maintenance tip is to use a brush and soapy water to remove any other dirt and debris. Once the area is dry, coat the underside of your mower with a thin layer of vegetable oil in order to prevent debris from sticking to it.   Sharpen the blades Your blades are the money makers on your lawn mower. To ensure a great cutting performance this spring and summer, remove the blades from your mower and take them into your nearest Burris Equipment location so they can be sharpened. If you have the right skills, tools, and equipment, you can also sharpen them yourself. Be sure to check the balance.   Check the tire pressure Under or overinflated tires can cause uneven mowing and add additional stress on the blade and internal components that can lead to performance issues and costly mower service. Check the tire pressure before each shift to make sure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels.   If you have any questions about these lawn mower maintenance tips, then please reach out to our team today!

Best Practices: Dealing with Changing Tire Pressure During the Winter

Dealing with Changing Tire Pressure During the Winter Underinflated tires are a drain on your business. Low tire pressure increases fuel usage and wear. Follow these best practices to get optimal performance from your equipment.   Check tire pressure regularly You can't check tire pressure with a visual inspection. Many tires will look properly inflated even if they're not, which is why it's important to check regularly with temperature changes. In the winter, check tire pressure weekly. The best time to ensure an accurate reading is before you operate the machine or three hours after shutting down. A general rule of thumb is that 10° F air temperature change correlates to a tire pressure change of 1 psi.   Measure tire pressure at the working temperature Don't measure tires in a warm shop if you'll be working in the cold. Make sure you're taking accurate tire pressure readings in the setting that the equipment will be used.   Inflate tires with nitrogen To combat pressure fluctuations, consider using nitrogen to fill your tires. There's no added risk of combustion or fire and it prevents ice crystals from forming that could hold open the tire's valve stem. When inflating your tires with nitrogen, continue to fill the tire to the manufacturer's recommended psi.   Slowly roll tires if they have been sitting for long periods in cold weather When first using a machine after it has been parked, gradually move the machine at first. Cold temperatures can cause the contact surface of tires to go flat against the ground and this will allow the tires to return to their correct shape.   As temperatures warm, continue to keep an eye on tire pressure Don't let your tires over inflate as temperatures increase. Faster, irregular wear can occur, shortening the tire's life. Measuring tire pressure regularly throughout any temperature fluctuation ensures you'll be working at optimal pressure.  

Best Practices: How to Get Your Equipment Out of the Mud!

How to Get Your Equipment Out of the Mud! When you're operating heavy equipment off road, there's a possibility that at some point you could get stuck in the mud, especially on wet, soggy jobsites. Almost any type of equipment can be vulnerable to ending up in this situation, including skid steers, CTLs, wheel loaders, and excavators. Below are some procedures to follow to help avoid this potentially time consuming problem. Better to avoid getting stuck in the mud in the first place Removing equipment from mud can be an arduous task that wastes time and money on the job. Here are some best practices to avoid having your equipment stuck in the mud. Before you start work for the day, thoroughly examine the jobsite to get an idea of the terrain you will be working on. Clearly mark off dangerous areas full of mud or sticky soil to avoid taking the machine in that direction. Use wide tracked compact track loaders and excavators to minimize ground disturbance on your worksite. As wider tracks enhance flotation and traction, they are ideal for working in softer soils and muddy areas. Remove mud or debris from your equipment's tracks, tires, and undercarriages between jobs and at the end of each workday to help improve traction in wet conditions. Tips for extracting equipment from mud No matter how careful you are, your equipment will probably get stuck in the mud at some point. Here are some suggestions on how to handle those situations: Make sure you have robust straps, ropes, chains, or cables handy in your toolkit to pull your equipment out of the mud in the event that it gets stuck. To make the process of getting your equipment out of mud easier, remove anything from the machine that can be removed to make it lighter. This way, you will be able to pull it out more easily. Place planks behind its wheels to assist with traction when you set up the machine to extract it from the mud. To avoid damaging your machine, attach your straps to a tow hook or the frame itself. Doing so will give you the best chance of getting your equipment out without breaking anything. Sometimes, the chains snap during towing, and the tow hooks transform into deadly projectiles that fly through the air. To ensure they fall towards the ground instead of flying up, insert them with their tips up. Similarly, it's important to keep a safe distance away from towing chains or straps in case one breaks. Chains and hooks can launch through the air at a high rate of speed and will cause serious injury to bystanders. Removing equipment from the mud is a difficult and dangerous task. Follow our tips and best practices to avoid getting stuck in the first place. If you do, though, our tips for removing machines effectively will be helpful.

Best Practices: How to Maintain Trench Safety?

How to Maintain Trench Safety?   Working in and around trenches is a regular part of many construction and utility projects. It’s so common that crew members can sometimes forget that working near trenches can be dangerous if the right precautions aren’t taken. The good news is that most jobsite accidents involving trenches can be easily avoided. Follow this guide to help prevent dangerous, costly situations on your next excavation job.   Common trenching hazards   Insufficient safety precautions surrounding trenches can lead to problems on your jobsite. Some examples of potentially dangerous consequences of not monitoring trench areas sufficiently are: ·         Slips and falls into the trench ·         Cave-ins and collapse of the trench walls ·         Heavy equipment sliding into the trench ·         Flying rocks and other debris from above the trench ·         Nearby structures collapsing into the excavated area ·         Striking underground utilities, resulting in gas leaks, electrocution, flooding, or explosions Below are tips and best practices that will help you avoid hazardous conditions surrounding trenches.   Trench safety tips 1.      Install protective systems – When your trench is deeper than 5 feet, protective systems are required. One way to accomplish this is through sloping and benching, which involves cutting back the trench wall at an angle to create a slope, then developing steps to travel in and out of the trench. The other way is by using shoring and trench shields. These systems use metal supports for the trench walls to help prevent cave-ins. 2.      Routinely inspect your trenches – All trenches should be carefully checked before work begins for the day and then rechecked several times throughout the shift to look for signs of collapse or any other dangerous conditions. Signs of danger include cracking, sagging, or bulging of the trench walls or bubbling on the floor of the trench. If it is raining or snowing, then trenches should be inspected even more often. 3.      Have an OSHA Competent Person on the job – A Competent Person is responsible for noticing and identifying potential hazards on the jobsite, as well as taking necessary steps to maintain safety. This role is required on every job by OSHA regulations. 4.      Ensure your crew is well trained and uses proper protection – All excavation workers should be able to identify and respond to potential trenching threats, and they must wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times, like hard hats, eye protection, and long sleeves and pants. 5.      Know your jobsite – Underground utility lines can be hazardous to construction workers. It’s important to know if there are any gas, electricity, or water lines running through your work area. Their locations should be identified and clearly marked for the excavation crew. 6.      There needs to be a way out – Any trench more than 4 feet deep must have simple access and egress routes within 25 feet of every worker. These routes may be ladders, ramps, or stairs. 7.      Keep a safe distance – All workers should keep a safe distance from excavators digging a trench, in order to avoid injury from falling loads or debris. You should also keep supplies, equipment, and excavated materials stored at least two feet away from the trenching edge to avoid the possibility of having them fall into the trench. 8.      Test for dangerous substances – Trenches must be tested for oxygen levels as well as potentially toxic gases like methane and carbon dioxide. Safety First  Trench safety is important to avoid injuries and downtime on the job. You can help prevent accidents and maximize the efficiency of your project by understanding and implementing these tips and best practices for working in and around trenches.

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