Conducting site audits and regular fleet inspections on mobile earthmoving equipment is essential in managing service life, replacement forecasts and identifying changes in digging conditions.
Some operations have a “fit and forget” strategy and do not track the service life of their G.E.T and wear parts, however, better monitoring will allow your operation to save money, improve processes and drive productivity, according to Luke Jackson, Manager of Mining Solutions at Cutting Edges.
“Site audits and regular inspections are about tracking wear parts usage which enables you to plan maintenance cycles and identify problem areas. Cutting Edges will work with the customer to engineer better outcomes in problem areas.”
Create “parts pages”:
Luke said an audit should begin with producing “parts pages” for every machine, which will lead to a better understanding of digging conditions and the replacement G.E.T parts required to service the various machines.
“Parts pages lead to much quicker change-outs as you know exactly what parts are required. This means heavy equipment downtime will be reduced during planned and unplanned maintenance schedules,” he said.
Luke’s site audit parts page checklist:
Loaders and excavator buckets: confirm what style and type of G.E.T is fitted. This is important due to the number of G.E.T suppliers and products in the market.
Dozers: what type of blade is fitted along with the style and size of the rippers.
Graders: review what is fitted currently and the type of work that is being undertaken.
When you have the above information, it should be shared in a format that can easily be understood by maintenance, production and warehouse personnel.
Follow-up fleet inspections:
Once the initial site audit has been conducted and parts pages have been created, regular scheduled fleet inspections should be conducted by a competent person on site or in conjunction with a Cutting Edges product support representative.
Monitor the following:
- Previous part measurement
- Machine operating hours since last measurement
- Operating terrain since last measurement
- Current part measurement and amount of wear since previous measurement
“This is an excellent way of working out how different parts are wearing and whether you have enough replacement stock in order to keep that machine in service,” Luke said.
“Dozers and graders are easy to track wear. They have a bolt-on edge that starts at 203mm and wears to 140mm before replacement is required. If a part is 70 percent worn I suggest you schedule a replacement on the next service.”
“Bucket teeth are more dynamic with different shapes and designs meaning they are harder to measure and be certain about wear rates.”
“Rotating bucket teeth is important to help determine wear patterns, as teeth on the outside of the bucket will wear faster than others”, Luke added.
Benchmarks may take two years:
Given that many operations use their machines in different terrain with different abrasion characteristics, Luke said it may take two years before accurate usage data is identified.
“If you have a small fleet of machines operating in the same conditions then an audit and two follow-up fleet inspections are generally enough. But where operating conditions change you need data points over a couple of years to accurately forecast when you are going to see increased or reduced wear.”
Identify problem areas:
Once you have benchmark data around how long parts are lasting you will easily be able to identify areas that need attention.
Matching the correct ground engaging tools and wear plates with the digging conditions can have a significant impact on wear rates and see improvements in the overall production of that machine.
“If you are seeing parts wearing faster than they should then you might introduce a Tungsten Longlife Coating (TLC) to drive productivity and reduce downtime,” Luke said.
Or if the wear part in use is correct and you are seeing excessive wear, then there could be an opportunity to conduct operator training.
“It’s all about using the right part in the right place at the right time in the right way. A site audit and documented fleet inspections will give you the data you need to identify this.”
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