The Summer months can offer its fair share of challenges for construction machines. The sun, warmer temperatures and general humidity can be causes for concern – not to mention that the Summer also tends to be peak construction season putting a unique strain on the hours in the day.
Marubeni Komatsu’s unique telematics system, Komtrax, offers a quick & easy way to monitor machine condition and performance but there are other ways that an operator can maintain peak efficiency through the warmer, dryer months:
1. Air Conditioning
A common practice by operators is to have the doors and windows wide open to allow a rush of air through the cab, the only problem is, the air-conditioning is also often turned up to the max at the same time. All this does is put a significant strain on the A/C. Most modern cabs are designed to remain ventilated naturally to maintain a workable temperature when the ignition key is turned – in warmer weather, the cab continues to be ventilated using the remaining available cooling from the surface of the A/C condenser – opening the doors & windows will make this process less effective.
It’s worth doing a weekly check to make sure that your air-con filters are not clogged.
2. Operator Hydration
The operator may be sat in an air-conditioned cab while working but it’s still possible to get dehydrated during a long shift. It’s important for the operator to regularly drink water during the hotter periods. Don’t let a lack of fluid intake be the cause of an operator feeling drowsy or unwell which could negatively impact work quality or time management.
3. Fuel and DEF Tanks
The easiest way to prevent fuel-related issues during the summer months is to fill the tanks at the end of the day. The same goes for the DEF tank. A working day can often leave a quarter or less of fuel left in the tank which would be naturally hot because of the return cycles. The hot fuel & humidity can cause condensation by drawing moisture through the breather into the tank, even the smallest amount of water mixed into your fuel can negatively impact machine performance.
4. Let your machines cool off
During really hot periods, your machine may need an extra few minutes to cool and cycle down at the end of the day. The Turbocharger is lubricated with engine oil and can rotate at RPMs of over 100,000 under heavy working conditions – if not allowed to idle down for an extra couple of minutes, the shafts & bearings can be damaged due to lack of oil supply due to the engine being shut off too soon.
5. Bird’s Nests
A strange one but bird’s nests can appear in different compartments of the machine which can easily lead to fires and other safety issues, especially if they have been left for a long period time to dry out. Engine compartment cleaning is mentioned in the operator’s manual, but it’s worth double-checking areas of the machine where a bird might’ve settled and introduce additional cleaning protocols to the engine compartment.
6. Check Operations Manual for Greasing Intervals
Follow the operator’s manual with regards to guidelines on greasing intervals, especially in dusty or hot applications/environments where the grease may become less effective or be exposed to contaminants