The Most Common Equipment Malfunctions to Avoid Rose Morrison, Managing Editor, Renovated.com It goes without saying, but construction equipment failure can have significant consequences. These can include downtime, high repair costs or even injury. Some types of malfunctions are more common than others. This is due to the environmental conditions construction equipment is exposed to or the components that are put under the most strain on a typical worksite. Knowing these types of equipment malfunctions and their causes is a great way to improve equipment management practices and make a construction site safer and reduce costs.
An electrical failure can be a major risk on any jobsite with power-generated equipment or heavy machinery. It can lead to electrocution, fire and damage to machines. The causes for electrical failure can vary significantly. These are some of the most common causes seen in construction equipment: ■ Dust and corrosion ■ Loose power connections ■ Moisture and humidity ■ Deterioration of or improper insulation ■ Power overload Good equipment management practices can prevent electrical failure. Regular maintenance can help prevent issues like the buildup of dust and debris that may lead to fires and other problems. In addition, good electrical safety practices can go a long way in keeping workers safe onsite. The use of cord insulation and voltage regulators, thorough training and regular risk assessments can all help reduce safety risks to personnel.
On the construction site, the ingression of contaminants like dust, dirt and debris can happen when intake filters fail or when contaminated oil is used as lubrication. Internal components can also shed contaminants over time, producing additional contamination. This can damage weaker materials and introduce more particles that can cause problems. As with other types of equipment malfunction, regular inspections can help prevent the contamination of lubricants. Maintenance is also key. Keeping the hydraulic lubricant or oil fresh can help avoid issues with a machine’s hydraulic pumps and controls. Regular replacement of damaged and clogged filters is essential for keeping hydraulic fluid contaminant-free. Finally, a fluid inspection can tell if there’s external contamination from something like a loose seal or a damaged internal component.
A significant portion of lifetime maintenance costs go to the upkeep of undercarriage equipment, which is constantly exposed to stress and wear. This also means undercarriages are a common failure point. Undercarriage damage can cause problems quickly. A machine with broken components may perform less efficiently or face issues like water or oil leaks, misalignment that causes uneven strain on its roller Hydraulic Lubricant Contamination frame and excessive track wear. Even in small quantities, contaminants like dust, metal, Good maintenance practices can help prevent maldirt and water can wreak havoc on a machine’s hydrau- functions due to undercarriage damage. Prevention lic systems. and regular repairs are a good foundation for any Almost every common type of construction upkeep plan and help managers keep their equipment equipment relies on hydraulics in one way or another. running longer. Visual inspections can’t replace regular Understanding their hydraulic systems – and how they maintenance checks, but they are a good way to catch tend to fail – is essential for preventing malfunctions major problems that may crop up. and downtime. Operating conditions will also greatly impact how Contaminants can enter a hydraulic system in long a machine’s undercarriage lasts before needing several ways. Metal and dust particles can cause con- maintenance. Rocky soil and steep grading can speed tamination during the manufacturing process. If the system isn’t properly flushed out, those particles will linger and cause performance issues or failure. Continued on page 34 www.floridaroof.com | FLORIDA ROOFING