In addition, check the clutch to make sure it's lubricated and adjusted properly.
Sarver also advises implementing an oil sampling program to monitor clutch and engine oil. For best results, submit samples every 250 hours of operation.
"These oil samples for the engine and clutch are very important for seeing a change from the first [sample] through the last one," he says. "If you see abnormal metal content, contact the appropriate vender to get the component checked."
An oil sampling program can also prove beneficial if any warranty issues come into play.
Keep it clean
While it's difficult to keep a grinder clean, manufacturers recommend periodically power washing or blowing off the machine. "It will allow you to see upcoming problems much quicker," says Foote. "It also improves the overall value of the machine when you're ready to sell it."
Most importantly, check and clean the radiator. Several manufacturers have introduced reversing fans that will automatically blow debris away from the screen. "It will extend engine life because it won't overheat," notes Morey.
Also pay special attention to the "V" part of the engine and areas around the hydraulic components. "You can get a buildup of dust or dirt that can ignite," says Foote. "Always keep the area around the engine clean because it runs so hot. And if you don't clean around the hydraulics, the heat that should be dissipating will become trapped, which will cause the system to heat up and wear more quickly."
Designing in maintenance ease
Fortunately, manufacturers are continually working to make it easier to keep grinders in top operating condition. Maintenance tasks are becoming easier, and specific features make it less likely that an obstacle will render a grinder out of commission with costly repairs.
At Bandit, engineers have designed the cutter bodies to break away if they encounter something hard. In addition, a screen changing arm that fits on the fender of the machine makes changing screens much easier. All infeeds also swing away from the cutting mill to provide access for servicing the auger or other items below the cutter mill.
Vermeer utilizes a higher abrasive rating steel for some wear items and UHMW plastic for replacement wear items. Its grinders also feature hardfacing in high wear areas, such as the anvil. The introduction of the Duplex Drum on its tub grinders simplifies maintenance when replacing hammers and inspecting components. Bolt-on removable wear items simplify tooth replacement, and a lid on top of the drum and anvil goes across the width of the grinder.
Morbark utilizes a break-away torque limiter that acts as a direct disconnect from the drivetrain. If you encounter contamination such as a large piece of steel, it instantly disengages the engine and drivetrain from the mill. A hydraulic clutch further reduces the amount of damage that can occur when your grinder encounters serious contamination.
About four years ago, Morbark also introduced its Iqan feed system, which automatically adjusts feed rates, pressures and feed wheel positions to optimize production and engine efficiency. A cellular wireless data connection option for the system provides a wireless link between a service center and the equipment, so technicians can diagnose a problem via the Internet. It can also be set up so a customer can receive a text message or e-mail alert for problems or maintenance tasks that need to be completed.
"A contractor can diagnose a problem without even being on site," says Adsit. "The speed at which we can diagnose those problems is dramatically faster and the cost savings are tremendous. Contractors can also monitor equipment via the Internet to keep track of fuel usage, load factors on the engine, hydraulic pressures, etc.
"Contractors don't like to be down. The more they're down, the less money they earn," Adsit continues. "With features such as the Iqan system and a wireless data connection, we can minimize that downtime."
Match to the Material
Keeping a grinder in top operating condition is dependent on selecting the appropriate machine and features for the material.