While the machines might keep working, they also need to be properly maintained.
First, crews should complete visual daily checks to help ensure equipment is running properly. To get a glimpse inside the various machine compartments, Caterpillar dealers, for example, offer many services. These include Scheduled Oil Sampling (S•O•S), which — if done as recommended — can help increase the life of pumps, motors and engines. Ultrasonic wear testing of screed plates and feeder wear components can tell the customer exactly how much has been used — and how much is left. Your local dealer also can measure steel track components for wear, which indicates when the pins and bushings should be turned.
Crews also should track the type of material the paver has handled, the number of miles it has paved and the surfaces it has paved over. Looking at this data can help the technician gauge the wear level of certain components. For example, feeders and augers that handle high amounts of abrasive silicon will wear more quickly than components using limestone-based materials. Maintenance crews should look at how the machines historically have worn while using the particular materials.
Calculating the number of tons a machine placed in a given season is another good indicator of auger and feeder wear. Determining the number of miles paved, meanwhile, helps technicians get a handle on screed plate wear and even the status of the undercarriages. Wear regarding compactors, reclaimers and other equipment also can be gauged by distance and materials covered.
Visual checks pay big dividends
The visual check is as simple as it sounds. An operator opens the hood and verifies the maintenance points. The visual points are clustered, meaning the operator doesn't have to crawl or reach over and under the unit. All the points are accessible and easy to find.
While the visual check is simple and quick, it's also thorough. Operators should check the hydraulic oil level; air cleaner restriction indicator; hydraulic oil filter restriction indicator; fuel system water separator; and dipstick for engine oil.