Contractors need to see the value of preventive maintenance, or they won't do it," says Larry Spring, Northeast product support manager for Ingersoll-Rand. "It is cheaper to maintain your equipment than to repair or replace it."
Not only that, but well-maintained equipment makes you more productive and results in a better job. So the tips in this article are designed to help you keep your equipment operating — and operating at peak efficiency — throughout the season.
"One of the most commonly overlooked procedures in paver maintenance is the daily care," Spring says. "The time spent doing preventive maintenance is the best money the contractor can spend all day."
Keep Your Paver Producing
Mark Bolick, LeeBoy product support manager, says that if a paver is not regularly serviced and properly maintained, the chances of major problems occurring can go up significantly and productivity can decline. The machine might work — but not properly — resulting in a poor-quality mat that could cost the contractor more money in fines and repairs than paying for routine servicing.
At the start-up of each day, check fluids (engine oil, hydraulic oil, transmission fluid, and engine coolant), check that the battery is filled to the proper level, grease points, and check cables, torque hubs, hydraulic functions, and engine hours.
Also check the following:
Conveyor chains. These are the most expensive wear item on a paver and Bolick says hours of use and tonnage generally will dictate when these need to be replaced. Look for wear patterns on sprockets and chains, and make sure bars on the conveyor aren't bent. Also, make sure to adjust all chains to specifications. Conveyor chains that are not adjusted properly may make the drive sprockets wear prematurely or unevenly. Similarly, auger conveyor drive chains that are out of adjustment can jam the inside of the auger box, locking auger conveyors with asphalt.
"You can usually hear the chains jumping or snapping during operation if they are loose," Spring says. "For example, when auger drive chains come loose, you can hear them slap the inside of the box after the conveyors are turned on."
Clutch or drive plates. Check every 500 hours to make sure all are tight and adjusted. A clutch that is not serviced or properly adjusted can slip; if the clutch fails completely, there will be no hydraulic flow to drive the traction system or conveyor, and the machine must be towed.
Wear plates on augers. As wear plates get smaller from wear, they won't move material as efficiently. Visually inspect these regularly.
Auger/conveyor drive chain. Check the tension on the drive chain: With the paver shut off, grab the outer end of the auger and twist. There should be no more than 1 in. of play or movement in the auger. Also inspect the auger sections for wear.
Screed plate. As the plate is used, it will get thinner (you can see it). If it gets too thin, holes will appear and that will begin to affect the mat.
Service the screed. A screed not properly serviced can heat unevenly, damaging the frame or screed plate.
End gates. End gates wear just like a screed plate; change before thinning affects mat quality.
Track rails. Monitor for cracks or other wear signs; check rollers too.
Hydraulic hoses. A loose hydraulic hose pulls air into the system, causing damage to the pumps and the entire hydraulic system. If you notice increased noise during operation and/or the oil becomes foamy, you might have a loose hose.
Lubrication. Follow the manufacturer's schedule. Daily, check level of hydraulic fluid, engine oil, radiator, and grease push rollers and pivot bearings. Weekly, clean and grease screed extension slides, and grease screed depth cranks and pivot points. Lubricating at the end the day while the machine is warm ensures that lubricant reaches all critical points.
Clean paver daily. Daily cleanup can increase the life of components in material handling areas and reduce many mat problems. So manufacturers recommend the paver be cleaned after each shift, especially any parts that can be damaged by constantly working with extreme temperatures and extremely abrasive materials.