The motor grader is an essential piece of construction equipment as it plays a vital role in leveling the roads and bridges and helps build the infrastructure that our society depends on. There are a couple key ingredients to extending the life of a motor grader to more than 100,000 hours, one being the utilization of proper operating techniques and the other being a preventative maintenance plan. Below is a quick guide to getting the most life out of your grader.
The first fundamental strategy to maximizing the life of the motor grader is to develop a preventative maintenance plan. Doing so will allow you to identify faults before they occur and to ensure optimal performance of the machine. If you create a plan upfront which details when and how often that your motor grader has an overhaul, potential problems will be known in advance which will allow them to be addressed properly. By being proactive during each required or scheduled maintenance and examining the machine thoroughly from top to bottom to identify and repair potential flaws and defects, mechanics can save the user a lot of time and money repairing major problems and breakdowns later on.
Second, apply condition monitoring techniques or technologies as another preventative maintenance strategy. Certain changes in conditions such as temperature, reaction time, or vibrations could indicate a developing problem with the machine. Today, there are many advanced technologies that have been developed that can perform the essential monitoring for the grader owner. These technologies are capable of doing everything from tracking the time between scheduled maintenance to identifying fault codes in the machine.
Third, adjust the maintenance schedule accordingly for extreme operating conditions. If the motor grader is being used under more treacherous conditions than normal, then it will need to be serviced more frequently than normal as well. For example, if the terrain is very rocky then it puts extra pressure on the cutting edges, or if there is a lot of dirt or dust in the air then it could clog up air filters or affect the turnability of the blade. If there are extreme conditions such as these present, then the blade will need to be checked more frequently for damages and serviced appropriately, oil and air filters should be changed more often, lubricants should be applied more regularly to assist slide and turning of the blade, and component parts must be examined and serviced often to maintain proper functionality.
Fourth, practice day to day maintenance activities in addition to preventative and scheduled maintenance. Maintain a daily checklist and perform routine inspections of the machine. Look over the parts of the machine susceptible to wear and tear, wiring and hoses, tires, machine attachments and tools, and the frame. Apply lubricants to prevent corrosion and keep the machine safe and in optimal operating condition. Listen for unusual sounds and check for any abnormalities or leaks that may be present.
Fifth, make sure to hire an experienced machine operator.This individual will play an important part in maximizing the life of the motor grader. By using proper techniques while operating the machine and adjusting the machine parts to their surroundings and conditions, they can reduce wear, keep blades sharp, and position moldboards for high performance and longevity. Several operating strategies that will minimize degradation to the cutting edges of the motor grader include: switching the blade to the opposite side when grading along curbs to reduce damages, tilting the moldboard forward during fine grading sessions for even wear, adjust the blade to a back position to sharpen and get better grade, and keep the moldboard in straight up position to help maintain it.
The last way to maximize the life of your motor grader is to restore and recondition to machine. A cost-effective way of extending the useful life of the machine is to rebuild and re-engineer the machine to match its original specifications. The grader can then be performance tested to ensure proper operation and high functionality. By restoring the machine, the sustainability of the motor grader can be increased by thousands of hours.
To conclude, there are a number of ways that can contribute to a long and useful life for your motor grader but we have mentioned several that we feel are most important. Many of these strategies can be applied to other pieces of heavy equipment as well as following proper operating procedures and maintenance of machines is relevant to any machinery. However, we have tried to provide specific examples to keep motor graders and the parts and attachments associated with them in optimal condition for years to come.