- Materials & Industrial Technology
Tips Mobile Equipment Maintenance - Maintenance Cruz
Equipment care takes many forms although it seems to get lumped together often. One separation I like to make clear is the difference between machine maintenance and mobile equipment maintenance. Mobile equipment maintenance is a time consuming and specialised skill set. Taking on mobile equipment care and servicing must be weighed very carefully.
At first look it seems that there is a lot of money to be saved servicing the on site equipment. It soon becomes very clear that the techs in your shop do not have the time to keep up with the never ending care required. Of course this is not true of all situation, but it does describe issues in larger facilities with many pieces of mobile equipment.
The broken equipment starts to pile up while waiting on parts and techs trying to spread their time between pm duties and servicing equipment. It is not to say it can not be done, but dedicated personnel need to be assigned to focus on this equipment. Most mobile equipment gets regular rigorous use that promotes break downs and increased service rates.
I have four basic situations;
- In house servicing
- Outside repair service
- Minimal inside service (oil changes)
- Lease contract
In house is by far the toughest road with the workload, parts ordering, and specific training involved. Also, there are specialised tools required such as ECM scanners and other automotive diagnostic equipment. To really have a shot at pulling off in house service, a trained experienced mobile equipment mechanic needs to be employed. This is generally an added person to the shop above and beyond present staff. This is a costly endeavor already and add the price of parts with some factor for down time cost and soon the reward isn't there.
Outside repair services are costly, but probably the best option if the equipment is owned. Of course this too has drawbacks high cost, parts costs, and scheduling. The best situation I was witness to was a encompassing service contract that was like a flat rate except for extremely high cost repairs, like motor replacement or mast replacement.
Minimal in house is a descent option that shaves some cost and time can be controlled. The savings from performing your own oil changes and a few other minor service needs are significant if you're outside service vendor charges per itemized service call, like most do. Again, thorough evaluation of time available for this kind work must considered carefully, your techs probably do not have as much extra time as you might think.
Leasing equipment has the most benefit in my opinion as equipment starts deteriorating the moment you first put it into service. When this equipment is worn and you want to replace it you first have to figure out how and where to get rid of the old equipment. This absorbs some resources in your company that now have to deal with his old equipment. Then a shopping trip to choose new equipment and if you choose wrong generally you are stuck with it. Leased equipment gets changed out for new at some interval and if a unit goes down a replacement is delivered.
There is also the issue of liability when performing maintenance on mobile equipment. If a tech make a mistake with a repair that results in an accident the full responsibility rest with the company. There really isn't a replacement for a factory trained mechanic that already knows the equipment inside and out. A certified mechanic sees this equipment everyday and is much faster at repairing this equipment than your crew will ever be, time is money
Many equipment service vendors are also trained to repair high lift equipment, I prefer these mechanics to service this type of equipment. Shop techs should receive training from certified mechanics to inspect equipment for issues before they turn into costly repairs. Regular professional inspection is the one place your crew really could save the company substantial money.