Maintenance tips for common construction attachments
By JONATHAN GARDNERConstruction Equipment
Upkeep and maintenance will help attachments and machinery operate at their optimal best.
Attachments greatly expand the capabilities of construction equipment, helping operators effectively tackle jobs efficiently. Once fitted to the appropriate machine, construction attachments can be used for a variety of tasks, including digging holes, cutting trenches, grading, removing pavement, removing debris, and transporting materials, among other tasks.
They are invaluable tools that can enable a small fleet to perform a wide array of applications, but to ensure optimal performance, attachments must be well-maintained. In addition to the maintenance requirements listed in the owner’s manual – which should be read prior to using an attachment – there are some general maintenance steps that should be considered as well.
A universal presence on construction sites, buckets should be inspected daily for cracks and stress fractures. It is also important to inspect the bucket cutting edge (whether weld-on or bolt-on) or teeth for damage. If teeth are missing, replace them immediately. It’s a good idea to keep a supply of bucket teeth on hand for this exact purpose, because working with missing teeth will cause additional wear.
BOX BLADES WITH 2D GRADING SYSTEMS
Box blades with 2D grading systems are very popular on jobsites when performing fine grading. Grade is very important so the attachment needs to be working at its optimal performance, as does the 2D grading system.
Before starting any work, always verify that the cutting edge is good. The cutting edge and side cutters can be replaced if needed, as these are wear items. Greasing all moving parts is a very important step as the box blade moves a lot during the day to get to the proper grade.
It is also important to verify that the 2D Grading System is always functioning. The best maintenance step for a 2D grading system is removing it at the end of the day and storing it properly out of the elements. Storage time is also a great time to verify that cables from the attachment to the receivers are not crimped.
Cold planer attachments can be used to repair potholes, cut utility trenches and mill asphalt. It’s important to keep the picks in good working condition. There are different kinds of picks for different applications, so select the appropriate picks for the job at hand. Picks that are missing should be replaced right away with the fork pick tool.
Adding a water spray kit can extend pick life by 20 to 40 per cent. Cold planers have many movements, so it is a good idea to verify that the depth can be adjusted, and that tilt and side shift are working to reduce downtime on the job. All hydraulic attachments require greasing. The owner’s manual will list proper intervals.
Check that all teeth are in place and that digging-chain tension falls within the parameters specified in the operator’s manual. Chain tension is very important, and this should be checked throughout the day. Hoses must also be carefully inspected for damage or leaks. As with all other hydraulic attachments, greasing is required. Periodically give the trencher attachment a comprehensive cleaning with a power washer to remove debris and oil.
There are many different types of grapples on the market. Like all hydraulic attachments, they require greasing. Grapples have a lot of movement and if hoses are not routed properly, damage can result. It is important to regularly inspect hydraulic hoses for leaks since they can cause considerable damage to equipment and injury to workers. While inspecting the machine, check bushings and pins for wear. Try to avoid working on sloped ground to prevent wear and accidents, and always doublecheck that the grapple attachment is properly secured before operation begins.
Attachment upkeep helps projects go more smoothly while prolonging the life of an attachment and the machine to which it is attached. Regular maintenance can include checking for missing or broken parts, greasing regularly, cleaning oil and debris, and more.
The care of attachments is also a key factor in their performance. They should be washed after use, stored properly, and used for their designated jobs. Frequent maintenance checks also provide the opportunity for operators to get a sense of operating parameters and best practices.
Your local dealer can provide advice about construction equipment attachments offered for your machinery, as well as details about regular maintenance routines that will keep your attachments in prime working condition.
Jonathan Gardner is the construction equipment product manager with Kubota Canada.