If you’ve ever worked with machinery for any length of time, you’ve probably looked beyond the basic mechanics of the equipment and begun to see the parallels that exist between machine and man. In the case of heavy lifters, these parallels are even easier to detect. The boom of a crane is like the sinew of your muscled arm, and the rigging represents the tendons that pull and tug as you grasp a heavy object. The metaphor works well, drawing further comparisons with your nervous system’s electrical signals and the electrical distribution network that links crane electrics to hydraulic actuators. Finally, these vehicles are just as liable to encounter a breakdown as your own biological system. A maintenance program for crane trucks acts like your own annual health check-up in this carefully constructed metaphor.
Initiate a Predictive Maintenance Strategy
Maximize the capabilities of every member of a truck fleet by initiating a superior maintenance plan, but keep one caveat in mind when adopting this strategy. Your physician mandated exam asks that you turn up before health issues occur, and this is exactly the approach we encourage when caring for heavy-duty vehicles. Maintain the vehicle with a preventative or scheduled plan, thus anticipating problems before they develop into major breakdowns. A preventative approach accounts for the following:
- Crane trucks move heavy loads. The preventative plan supports a healthy safety margin
- Defined as a workhorse lifter and mover, crane trucks can’t afford down time. Planned maintenance cares for the vehicle and replaces worn components before they break
- It’s expensive to replace large sections on a big mover. Replace the parts over time and spread the cost
Safety and productivity are naturally buttressed by intelligent maintenance plans. An annual inspection looks at every component of the crane, taking the mover out of the fleet to conduct a detailed evaluation of known and suspected issues. Meanwhile, monthly and bi-monthly inspections test critical systems, looking at outriggers and structural integrity during one planned period and the totality of primary operating channels during the next period. This check could evaluate the functionality of the hydraulics system, looking for system leaks, or look for damage to electrical subsystems.
Offsetting Damage and General Wear
Crane apparatus works within hazardous environments, inside construction areas where knocks and scrapes are all part of a day’s labour. As such, damage is to be expected. Beyond this unavoidable fact, aging is the next negative aspect that can be offset by maintenance. The vibration of the crane moves fasteners out of specified range settings, upsetting rigging and loosening formerly secure assemblies. Similarly, lubricated parts relinquish ease of movement and wire ropes become frayed. These trends are related to the inevitable wear of physical components, but fresh lubrication can be added, moving parts tightened, and frayed rope replaced, all thanks to a strong maintenance program.