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Best practices: Equipment maintenance

By |  December 5, 2016

Producers sometimes make the mistake of assuming equipment maintenance is nothing more than “greasing the plant.”

But according to Wade Lippert, a field service representative at Kolberg-Pioneer, equipment maintenance entails more than occasionally greasing equipment at the end of the day. He says equipment maintenance is an investment in people, tools and documentation.

Lippert has worked for Kolberg-Pioneer for about 27 years. Today, he trains Kolberg-Pioneer employees and customers about the company’s equipment and helps customers with technical issues. Recently, Lippert hosted an educational session on equipment maintenance practices at AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo in Nashville, Tenn.

During the AGG1 session, Lippert discussed the importance of building a crusher maintenance program. He recommends aggregate producers follow the three calls to action below to create better maintenance programs and safer work environments.

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Wade Lippert of Kolberg-Pioneer shares best practices for producers to improve their maintenance programs. Photo: KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens.

1. Record everything, but keep documentation simple. When equipment needs to be repaired, Lippert says it’s necessary for aggregate producers to have a method to document that information. He adds that all producers should keep a general maintenance log, a wear parts log and a grease log. Click here to see a sample log.

Lippert recommends producers keep these charts as simple as possible, not requiring lengthy reports with each item logged.

“Simplification to these charts is key,” he says. “Having simplified charts without lengthy reports will really help new guys – and old guys – when doing walk-arounds.”

2. Make walk-arounds everybody’s business. While some maintenance tasks need to be delegated, everyone at the quarry needs to play a role in maintenance and be conscious of any dangerous situations. Both the plant manager and truck driver should be looking for anything that needs to be repaired on a regular basis. Lippert adds that it’s important for aggregate producers to perform walk-around inspections throughout the day.

“Don’t just have one guy make a concentrated effort on checking one machine for an hour and a half,” he says. “Instead, have everyone identify the issues noticeable by the naked eye and ear throughout the day.”

And naturally, if any issues are spotted on equipment, write those down and take steps to fix problems.

3. Regularly train employees on maintenance. Maintenance is much more than equipment and grease, as it also includes employee knowledge of equipment.

“To understand maintenance, your employees need to understand the equipment,” Lippert says. “And investment in training is often overlooked.”

A lack of education about maintenance can lead to a number of problems. Lippert says uneducated employees might use the wrong type of grease or the wrong amount of grease on a piece of equipment if they lean on assumptions.

“Training employees is as essential as putting gasoline in a car,” he adds. “You have to keep adding gas to a car to make it go. If you don’t continue investing in your employees with maintenance and application education, their performance might suffer.”

Ongoing training can boost employee knowledge of the equipment with which they work. Training doesn’t have to be a timely investment. Lippert suggests hosting an annual equipment refresher training session with employees during the off-season. He adds that manufacturers can assist with training sessions.

Importance of training

A lack of education about maintenance can lead to a number of problems. Lippert says uneducated employees might use the wrong type of grease or the wrong amount of grease on a piece of equipment if they lean on assumptions.

“Training employees is as essential as putting gasoline in a car,” he adds. “You have to keep adding gas to a car to make it go. If you don’t continue investing in your employees with maintenance and application education, their performance might suffer.”

Ongoing training can boost employee knowledge of the equipment with which they work. Training doesn’t have to be a timely investment. Lippert suggests hosting an annual equipment refresher training session with employees during the off-season. He adds that manufacturers can assist with training sessions.

About the Author:

Megan Smalley is the associate editor of Pit & Quarry. Contact her at msmalley@northcoastmedia.net or 216-363-7930.

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