Use Crushers and Shears Wisely

Proper operation of concrete crusher and shear attachments will not only enhance productivity, it will minimize the risk of equipment damage.

"Operating this type of attachment outside of the intended scope for material size or composition can cause premature failure or catastrophic damage, as well as cause an unsafe operating condition," says Kevin Loomis, Atlas Copco. "Never use the attachment as a crowbar or for purposes outside of the original design."

An all too common -- and potentially costly -- mistake is attempting to process materials using the carrier's brute force, rather than letting the attachment do its intended job.

"On concrete processors, you [should] close the attachment on the material and use the attachment force to break material instead of grabbing onto it and using the excavator force to break it," advises Rob Murray, Stanley Hydraulic Tools. He also cautions against using a shear's rotating action to twist apart material. "[Don't grab] onto the material and try to rotate and use the hydraulic circuits to process the material instead of closing the jaws."

Operator training can help to mitigate these and other operating missteps. For example, R. Baker & Son All Industrial Services emphasizes proper operation of both the attachment and the carrier.

"During demolition or recycling operations, we train operators to not 'side load' the equipment, meaning they should not push or pull materials in a sideways manner or at odd angles. This puts unwanted side pressures on the machinery," says Damon Kozul. "Operators are instructed to pull materials toward the cab. Pulling from the side puts tremendous wear and tear on the swing motor of an excavator."