How best to maintain equipment to keep that competitive edge

How best to maintain equipment to keep that competitive edge

by ESTELA ESTRADA (Estraem), Caterpillar 

You can lower your bid costs and get more jobs done by utilizing a healthy machine, so implementing a strong maintenance strategy is critical. It’s easy to overlook the hydraulic system when completing machine workarounds as it’s not always visible from checkpoint areas. That doesn’t mean it’s any less important. A machine’s hydraulic system determines how much material you move and how fast you move it.

Your local Cat® dealer can help you detect system issues earlier by providing simple diagnostic tests and acceptable specifications. The hydraulic system is comprised of pumps, motors, hoses, cylinders and hydraulic fluid. Depending on the operating environment and maintenance practices, components may show signs of wear as early as 2,500 hours.

We recommend that the operator periodically consider factors that may indicate issues with the hydraulic system, such as:

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  • Cylinder drift (unactuated cylinder movement)
  • Tracking (experiencing tracking pull one way or another while in forward motion)
  • Inconsistent swinging motion with the equipment (jittery movement)
  • System noise (pump or relief valve squealing)
  • Increased system heat (above 190 degrees F)
  • External cylinder, hose, pump or motor leakage

Your competitive advantage depends on your machine’s ability to maintain productivity and your operator's proficiency on recognizing when to service something before it fails. Preserving your hydraulic system and acting on the indicators listed above can help you avoid costly repairs and reduce downtime. Your dealer can help you perform simple machine operation tests to gauge if it’s time to service the machine before repair costs increase.

We can work together to maintain your machine and your business’s competitive edge.                                             

We’d like to hear from you. Tell us about your strategies for maintaining a healthy machine.

  • What would you add to our list of hydraulic system maintenance tips?
  • How has hydraulic system maintenance affected your project or operation?
  • What can Caterpillar do to help you improve hydraulic system maintenance?

The author is a marketing & communications specialist for Caterpillar with more than 12 years of experience in both Latin America & North America.


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