Machinery breakdowns are unfortunately not always budgeted for. In order to avoid these costly inconveniences, farm owners should commit to proper planning, maintenance checks and equipment monitoring. And depending on repair costs, allocated downtime or any other external factor that could impact the production of goods, equipment failure can have a devastating effect on a business’ success.
There is no guarantee that when a machine breaks down repair costs will be low. Sometimes your repair is limited to replacing one part and other times it may be the whole unit. So, even though machinery breakdown insurance can provide relief in these odd occasions, try to avoid these situations altogether.
Here are tips to preventing the most common problems:
Ensure that you read the operator’s manual
It may sound like a reckless thing to do but many machine operators have not yet read the manual. Before using a unit, ensure that you have a total understanding of the equipment process. The manual will tell you how to set up the machine, what to do in case of failure, and what parts to add, check, change or adjust before starting it up. Should you find yourself in a situation where the machine is giving you problems, be sure to read the troubleshooting section in your manual before contacting a technician.
Regular maintenance checks
Similar to any other heavy-duty equipment, the maintenance of farm machinery is essential to having them perform at optimal performance level. Although this is the most important task, many farmers take shortcuts when it comes to these checks (especially when production is underway and they’re feeling overwhelmed with little staff). When things are running smoothly, it’s easy to brush services off but the minute something fails, farmers can expect to deal with a big delay in production.
Other maintenance checks can be done on-site, for example: checking oil and gearboxes, replacing equipment belts and checking to see if dirt is affecting the machinery performance.
Do not operate your machinery with poor electrical connections
This goes hand-in-hand with servicing your equipment. Take the time to clean your machine, and use compressed air instead of water to keep moisture away from the wires when operating. Often, when you push machines to the limit, you are only doing more damage to the lifespan of your unit. When you put too much strain on all the drives, breakdowns are more likely to show up, and more frequently.
Replace worn parts immediately
This is just another reason why routine maintenance checks are so important. If one machine part cuts out, farmers should take this as an opportunity to check and replace other parts to ensure that nothing else could have caused the initial breakdown. By replacing only the broken part, you are only temporarily fixing the problem. Additionally, these checks can identify small problems before becoming bigger ones.
Have your staff monitor equipment frequently
Along with maintenance checks, train your operators to monitor the equipment. This way all staff are on par with the condition of your unit, to help prevent unwanted breakdowns and subsequent downtime.
Continuous monitoring is when you make use of sensors to establish baselines and detect subtle changes in parts, which can then be used to predict impending failures. In turn, companies can identify the causes of increased stress on equipment, and adjust workloads accordingly.
Another concern is operating equipment in poor weather conditions. Try not to run machinery when it’s raining as it could cause some signals that may be alarming. Signals include those for engine temperature, hydraulic oil, shaft speeds or other parts that might not be turning at the correct speed.
Do not allow untrained staff to operate equipment
Inexperienced operators need to undergo in-depth training on procedures, basic troubleshooting, and best practices for safe equipment use. Whether or not a person will be operating a specific machine or not, if there is an emergency and shortage of staff, people need to be able to assist.
By ensuring that your staff is always up to scratch and knowledgeable on equipment, you’ll benefit from a longer lifespan from your most valuable assets.