The nature of construction work means that you can’t keep your machines always looking new and shiny. However, you can keep them clean. Here are seven good reasons why you should keep your machines clean--you might be surprised at the benefits!
Abrasive materials like dirt, sand, grit, rock, and concrete can increase the rate of wear on parts, especially when it comes to the undercarriage. By not allowing these materials to build up you can minimize their effect on the lifespan of critical parts like rollers, pins, bearings, etc.
Clean machines really can run better. When enough debris and grit gets packed in around the wheels or tracks, wear can be accelerated quickly. As it dries and builds up over time, it can add significant weight to smaller machines and negatively affect their fuel economy. Dirty fuel filters can also reduce your fuel economy.
Part of keeping your machine clean involves replacing filters (air, hydraulic, and oil), keeping breathers clean, and cleaning out the dust that collects on components such as radiators. All these factor into your machine’s performance.
We've talked about how a dirty case drain filter, like the one shown, can destroy your final drive once enough pressure builds up. Remember that filters are meant to be replaced when they get dirty. Check manufacturer guidelines for their suggested schedule of filter replacement.
Water isn’t the only thing that can cause corrosion. Fertilizer, road salt, deicers, and other materials can cause serious problems if they are not washed off right away.
In addition, letting abrasive materials damage the paint then harden on top of it can trap water against the bare metal below, accelerating corrosion. A clean machine is going to corrode much more slowly than a dirty one.
More Reliable Electronics
Dust can collect around electrical connections and cause problems with reliability. Pressurized air is a good way to keep electrical connections and components free of the buildup of dust. By keeping electrical connections clean, your machine’s electronics and sensors will be more reliable.
Better Company Image
Dirty machines can have a negative impact on your company’s image. Clean, well-maintained machines suggest a company that is orderly, efficient, and detail-minded. And many times it is you equipment that makes a first impression for your business. Don’t let the state of your equipment cause you to lose out on potential clients.
More Effective Daily Walkarounds
It is not possible to perform a thorough walkaround on a dirty machine. Dirt and mud can hide all kinds of potential problems, including leaks. In addition, it is much easier to track down the source of a leak on a clean machine than it is on a dirty one.
We aren’t saying that your machines should be spotless at the end of the day, but we are encouraging you to practice regular cleaning. At the end of each shift, excess debris should be removed from around the wheels or tracks. Machines should be cleaned with a pressure washer regularly, and with pressurized air to remove dust from like sand or silage. How frequently this needs to be done depends on the working conditions and weather conditions. When a machine is working with corrosive materials, it should definitely be rinsed off daily. Finally, don’t forget to periodically clean the engine.