Heavy equipment must be maintained in peak operating condition for both optimum efficiency and safety. Big machines breaking down or unable to get the job done cost the owner money. Unreliable equipment can also be hazardous for operators and those in the vicinity. An inspection checklist will help ensure that the equipment is ready to go when the work starts. Going through the checklist each day before start-up or regularly during around-the-clock operations will reduce downtime and improve the bottom line.
Manufacturers are regulated and also motivated to install various safety features on heavy equipment to avoid accidents and possible injury. Check all lights and alarms for proper functioning. Stationary heavy equipment such as printing presses, forging equipment and other big machines will have safety covers. The machine will not operate or start if the cover is open. Inspect all safety covers and connections.
Road-going heavy equipment such as bulldozers, dump trucks or other earth moving machines will have various safety features in the cab. Check all switches and displays indicating safe operation. Burnt out light bulbs or damaged speakers could mean missing an important safety warning.
Lubrication and Coolant
Just about every heavy machine requires lubrication for moving parts. Constant operation from shift to shift can result in fluids and lubricants going dry. The inspection checklist will make sure the levels are topped off and ready for a day's labour.
Some machines with either fuel or electric motors will have cooling systems for the engines or other components that generate high heat. Check all lubrication and coolant reservoirs for proper levels. Fans and circulating pumps should be inspected. Also inspect any lubrication points for grease gun injection and make sure the associated gears, cams, shafts or bearings are operating smoothly.
Drive Train and Power Source
Whether heavy equipment moves or is stationary, it will have a drive train for transmitting power to the machine and a power source. Heavy construction equipment will have gasoline or diesel engines. Heavy production equipment on the factory floor will be powered electrically, hydraulically or even by steam. Inspect the engine for all filters, connections, fluid levels and response to operator input.
Heavy equipment that moves will have wheels or track treads. Even if the machine never goes on the road, be sure the tires have plenty of tread and acceptable wear. Track treads should be fully lubricated and with plenty of depth (tracks treads wear thin with use and will fail the same as a rubber tire.) Production equipment must operate according to specification for maximum output. Inspect for worn moving parts, gears, shafts, cams or bearings. Follow manufacturer recommend procedures for examining all access points.
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