As the temperature rises during the summer months, heavy equipment operators face unique challenges as a result of the weather conditions. Extreme heat can take a toll on both equipment and operators. In this blog post, we will discuss tips for operating and maintaining heavy equipment in hot weather conditions, allowing you to maximize uptime this summer.
Inspections and Maintenance
The first step in preventing most equipment related issues is to practice timely and appropriate inspections and maintenance. In addition to your standard inspections, be aware that warmer weather can cause tire PSI to increase and tire tread to wear faster than in cooler conditions. Auxiliary systems such as air conditioning and windshield wipers also benefit from routine inspection, for the benefit of operator safety and comfort. Coolant and hydraulic fluid levels should also be continuously monitored and serviced accordingly. Greased components should also be monitored and serviced according to the intervals outlined by the OEM. Hot and dusty environments can cause grease to thin out faster or introduce contaminants, leading to more frequent and greater amounts of lubrication required.
Proper cooling is crucial for heavy equipment during hot weather. Regularly check and clean radiators, coolers, and air filters to prevent debris buildup and ensure efficient heat dissipation. Verify that cooling fans are functioning correctly and consider using auxiliary cooling systems for equipment prone to overheating. Radiators can be cleaned using an air compressor to blow out dust. Don’t use a water hose to clean your radiator, as the water can carry debris to the bottom of the radiator fence that will build up over time. Many heavy equipment models come equipped with an auto-reverse fan function which allows the operator to reverse the engine cooling fan and clear debris from the engine grill.
Avoid Peak Sunlight
It is advisable to avoid working in the hottest hours of the day, if possible. The sunlight and heat can cause issues with equipment and operators alike. When working in extreme heat is unavoidable, be sure to keep cool and hydrated. If you are using A/C in your cab, be sure to keep doors and windows shut to avoid unnecessary strain on the climate control components. Some OEMs even limit the fan speed when the cab doors are open, so be sure to seal in the cool air and drink plenty of water.
Starting work before the sun rises, after the sun sets, and pausing at peak of sunlight are all ways to limit operator exhaustion and equipment overheating. Be sure to monitor performance factors through in-cab displays or telematics. Avoid overworking machinery in the hottest hours of the day.
End of Shift Procedures
At the end of a shift on a hot day, it is important to give machines extra time to cool down. Allowing equipment to idle for a bit longer than usual can help preserve your turbo charger. Once the engine is shut off, the oil supply to the turbo is shut off. This sudden stop of oil combined with the potentially extremely high RPMs of the turbo charger could result in damage to the shafts and bearings within. For this reason, allow a few extra minutes of idling time after work in extremely warm weather.
When not in use, equipment should be stored out of direct sunlight in a cool, shaded area if possible. It is also advisable to refill your fuel and DEF at the end of the day. At the end of a shift, remaining fluids can be extremely hot due to return cycles, in addition to the weather. The hot fluid will draw in moist air through the breathers and increase the water content of your fuel or DEF. It is helpful to drain your fuel water separator more often. Refilling your fuel and DEF at the end of the day can help avoid these issues in hot weather.
Operating and maintaining heavy equipment in hot weather conditions requires careful attention to ensure both equipment performance and operator well-being. By following these tips you can mitigate the challenges posed by summer weather, maximize equipment productivity, and ensure a safe and efficient work environment for your crew. Stay cool and keep your heavy equipment running smoothly all summer long.
Heavy Equipment Parts at Iron Wing Sales
Looking for replacement heavy equipment parts this summer? At Iron Wing Sales, we have a large inventory of OEM and aftermarket heavy equipment parts in-stock and ready to ship. Radiators, filters, hoses, climate control parts, and more! Simply browse by category, or you can use our search function to sort by description, part number, or manufacturer. We also offer free shipping on qualifying orders >$100. Additional inquiries, contact us by email: email@example.com or by phone: (216) 912-9089