The Ex Factor
Donít Let Downtime Keep Your Mini Excavator from Working Hard for You
Compiled by CE Staff Jun 21, 2012
Productivity is the name of the game in the construction industry, and machine downtime costs money. Effective maintenance is very important, especially in todayís economy, when owners are under pressure and looking for ways to increase efficiency and productivity. Compact excavators typically donít accumulate as many hours as their full-size siblings, but maintenance is still key to a long machine life. Unlike larger excavators, the smaller machines are more likely to be serviced by owners. And, if owners do a thorough job of maintaining their equipment, that means fewer technician calls, which saves money and downtime.
When selecting a compact excavator for purchase or lease, carefully evaluate the ease of completing routine maintenance checks. Because proper and regular maintenance are key to effectively managing your compact excavators, the easier it is to perform those checks, the more likely operators will perform them on a routine basis. Check points that are difficult to access will run the risk of not being inspected. Compact excavators are typically easier to service than the larger machines, with easy ground level access. Look for machines that have service points grouped in common areas to make good use of an operator or technicianís time. Fluid drain ports can help speed up the maintenance process. Even tight tail swing excavators, which have less room, should be designed with simple access to the service points.
When your compact excavator is hard at work on a large project, routine maintenance can often be missed or overlooked. Donít let that happen. Maintenance checks (which will be clearly spelled out in the ownerís manual) are imperative to extend the life of your machine. Follow the OEM recommended procedures and use the recommended materials and fluids to keeping your machine properly maintained.
Each and every walk-around should start with a check to make sure thereís no obvious physical damage. Check under the machine to ensure nothingís leaking. Engine and hydraulic oil levels should be checked daily. The few minutes it takes to complete these simple checks could save thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs in the future. Preventative maintenance is extremely important and simple daily checks keep you appraised of the machineís condition and can help identify issues before they get bigger.
And just like with larger excavators, neglected maintenance can impact any of the main components of a compact excavator. Be sure that those key components are getting the maintenance they need and they are being looked at regularly. Below is a list of daily checks you should perform on a compact excavator:
► Engine oil level
► Hydraulic oil level
► Air filter dust indicator (engine air cleaner)
► Coolant reservoir level
► Fuel filter (water separator)
► Window washer fluid
► AC filters (fresh air and recirculation)
► Working lamp switch
► Electric wiring
► Track shoe bolts, track tension and shoe condition
► Work equipment greasing
► Swing machinery oil
However, itís very important to remember that the best guide for maintenance is the operatorís manual. Read and follow it carefully for a complete list of maintenance items.