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Equipment Maintenance

I come from a formally trained automotive technical  background, and achieved a City & Guilds in Hydraulics - Pneumatics along the way, complimented with several years experience in various manufacturing and service industries. I'm not trying to impress, but to provide a background as to why I have a profound insight for the mechanical/electrical maintenance needs of machinery.  I run a stump grinding business for the past 20 years and still have and depend on  the original stump grinder I started my service business with.  I would not expect the average reader of this forum to have the transferable skills which would allow a rebuild of their own equipment as I have done with my old 1997 Carton grinder---I'm an old school believer in keeping things simple without all the "bells and whistles" of modern grinders, and yes I still use finger teeth.  My objective is to highlite the importance of equipment maintenance.  Over the past 20 years I have worked with many tree surgeons, and have often witnessed  outright equipment abuse, and neglect.  Needless to say those individuals came and departed the business marketplace. perhaps wondering why their chain saws, chippers etc. were costing so much to run with frequent breakdowns. We are all in a very labour intensive game that relies on our gear. I also understand the  pressure demands on our time, and how easy it is to delay, overlook, or forget pending equipment maintenance which is why I have created the below maintenance schedule for myself. I have found inclusion of this scedule  along with H&S risk assessment, method statement etc. documentation to be invaluable in creating an image of professionalism to who ever I subcontract to. I have worked with large construction companies. A bespoke maintenance scedule carries large kudos.

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  • Fair play Mike,

    That could be in valuable to someone . I rarely use a grinder but any tips on hedge trimmers and chainsaws would be appreciated.


    Best regards 

    • Hi Paul,

      I do not put myself forward as an expert with all the various and explicit operational peculiarities of all the kit in use throughout our wide market place.  What I can contribute is an understanding that all machinery used throughout all market places has commonality with --- and this point is quite fundamental and seemingly obvious yet still often overlooked --- consistant periodic maintenance as advised by respective manufacturers of whatever kit is in use.  That basicly means if it has a cutting edge then keep it regularly sharpened. If there are moving parts then regularly lubricate them, and regularly change the oil if it stores it. If there are hydraulic hoses protect them from UV and chaffing with spirol wrap, If it has filtration of any sort be it for air,fuel,or oil regularly replace or clean them. If it has power drives of any sort be they chain, or belts be sure they are tensioned and aligned correctly. If it has bearings that are accessable (apart from sealed bearings) be sure they are running ina clean environment and are regularly relubricated.  This is all very basic stuff, and yet we tend to become very lazy and inattentive over maintenance until we are let down by breakdowns and poor continuous performance.

  • Good stuff. I don't use anything as big as that, but time is absolutely the issue. And to be honest, it's more worth my time working and neglecting my machines then pay the shop to do any repairs/service, than to spend the time it would take me personally to keep them decent! 

    I enjoy using the saw after I've given it a full clean and service. Sharp hedge trimmers are a joy compared to dull ones. And once I fit new blades to the scarifier it'l be a different machine to work with!

    • Hi Dan,

      I have worked in manufacturing industry along with time and motion studies and the "take away" I have learned is the preferential cost myth of working with sub standard equipment.  Its all comes down to your own time management and MAKING the time for regular servicing and maintenance.  The bottom line is your own productivity efficiency.  If a study was made of your dead unproductive time owing to frequent slow down of inefficient equipment in comparison to what you could earn at your fullest potential with efficient equipment.  You would find your highest earning capacity to exceed any savings perceived by running kit into the ground.

      • With regard to my last sentence "  You would find your highest earning capacity to exceed any savings perceived by running kit into the ground."  Replace the word "perceived" with the word "presumed".

  • Quite true........... regular maintenance will save most breakdowns........ how many times does a mower break down because a control cable has snapped.......... a regular monthly check will pick this impending problem up.  Similarly with hedgecutter gearboxes.... again, regular greasing is essential to keep it going.  It's possible to go unnecessarily "over -the-top" with checks/maintenance.  If you read a car/motorcycle manual, you'll usually find something about checking the oil, tyre pressures every day..... my Transit says to check all the lights every day! In some 20+ years, I could only have had a couple of machinery breakdowns + with regular servicing/repairs, there really is little reason to replace equipment because "it's worn out" or "run into the ground".   I've yet to actually wear equipment out.............. I've only had to replace items when our "traveller" friends have been visiting.

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