Most manufacturers offer the option of demolition-style doors and reinforced top and rear windows to protect the operator from debris during demolition work. A three-point seat belt for the operator provides additional safety. Many equipment dealers can provide customized equipment protection packages based on the application, so discuss any special features you may need with your local dealer.
Clean and inspect your machines often
Machines that routinely work in a demolition environment will require more care to keep them in top operating condition. "A demolition environment is hard on the machine because of the nature of the work being done, the cycle time of the machine and the application conditions on the machine," says Kelly Moore, Gehl Co.
Daily maintenance tasks - such as checking fluids and filters - are similar to those you should perform for any piece of construction equipment, and they can be done quickly before starting the machine. In addition, look for any damage to hydraulic cylinders, lines, etc. Because of the severe service environment, check for possible structural cracks and wear to the machine to reduce the risk of premature failures.
Pay special attention to the tires and inspect them on a daily basis, as well. "Tires are turning hard and running over debris," says Moore. "Check that lug nuts are tight and that tires are wearing equally. If one tire is gouged or badly damaged, replace it as soon as possible. Running one tire in a lesser condition than another can cause strain on the machine and negatively affect steering, plus you will have more tension on some of the drivetrains. Whenever damage occurs, it's in your best interest to get it replaced as soon as possible."
Schedule service more frequently
Scheduled service tasks, such as oil and filter changes, etc., will likely need to be performed more frequently than for skid-steer loaders used in more traditional dirt-moving applications.
"Small particles can get into bushing and pin contact areas and can cause accelerated wear and damage, as well as expensive service bills," says Daniels. "That is why frequent regular greasing intervals are recommended. Plus, acceleration of accumulating debris in the radiator area can cause frequent overheating of the unit."
How much more frequently should you schedule these tasks? "Going above and beyond the recommendations can improve the life of the machine," says Zupancic. "And be sure to perform maintenance according to the requirements in the manual, even if accelerated."
"With demolition, the question of 'how often' is often a judgment call," adds Moore. "It could be as much as twice the normal service interval. It's based on the application, so it's critical to watch the hour meter closely. And keep accurate records as to when you check the hour meter for performing various maintenance tasks. Following every single maintenance point in the manual is all the more critical in demolition - regardless of brand or size of machine. Oils, filter, etc. tend to get dirtier faster because of the harsh application. The machine is going through more difficult usage."
In addition to ramping up maintenance, if you work in an extremely dusty environment, you may also want to consider additional features such as air precleaners, which can help extend some of those already frequent maintenance tasks. Air precleaners prescreen the air by filtering out large particles before they reach the air cleaner. This helps to protect the engine and components to extend their life, as well as the life of the machine.
The bottom line is to keep the machine in the best operating condition possible. "It's about minimizing downtime," says Moore. "Not doing regimented maintenance and complete servicing can lead to failures in the engine or with the machine. And when the machine is down, it would go without saying, you're losing money."