26 November, 2018
Maintenance of Mobile Cranes
Mobile crane maintenance must be given the highest priority. Cranes are machines that feature a hoist chain and sheaves used to move load vertically and horizontally. A mobile crane serves the same basic function as other cranes; they lift heavy objects into place, usually on construction sites. They come into their own where space is at a premium. Mobile cranes are usually hired and driven to the building site where they are deployed. Albeit they are built with high endurance power, if they are not put under frequent maintenance schedule, they can develop issues.
Mobile cranes lift things over people heads, buildings, other structures and vehicles, and this is potentially dangerous. It is imperative that maintenance is given the highest priority and that rigorous schedules are in place that meet both legal requirements and the manufacturer’s instructions. According to experts, maintenance of mobile crane and repairs should be handled by professionals so the equipment remains safe for utility.
The building industry can be a dangerous place to work and compliance with health and safety legislation and other statutory requirements is crucial to reduce risk and the number of deaths each year. Mobile crane maintenance follows three routines and it is imperative to understand the details even before you purchase a mobile crane.
- General Maintenance Programs
There is a fine line between routine maintenance and preventative maintenance; in fact both types could be carried out during the same examination. Whereas preventative maintenance is primarily about keeping the appliance in good working order and stopping it breaking down by looking for components that are worn or malfunctioning, routine maintenance is about making adjustments to ensure systems continue to work efficiently.
This is mainly conducted to alleviate any changes in internal components. Cranes are heavy-duty machines that lift heavy material. A lot of risks surround crane maintenance projects. General maintenance relates to the crane as a vehicle, therefore it involves greasing moving parts, changing and/or replacing oil filters, checking other fluids, lubricating moving parts and checking tyres and tyre pressures, and aligning various components among other issues.
In addition, during routine maintenance, components that are expected to wear out or need attention should be checked and replaced. This includes checking and where necessary replacing parts related to the lifting mechanism and the cranes primary function.
- Preventative Maintenance
Preventative mobile crane maintenance is non-mandatory, but it is important to create a plan for occasional servicing of the equipment. That helps in detecting components, which are not operating optimally. Preventative maintenance aims to pre-empt a machine’s future malfunction or breakdown. By conducting inspections at clearly defined intervals of time, potential problems, worn components that could fail during the operation of the crane and systems that aren’t working to the manufacturer’s specification can all be identified and addressed.
A good preventative check-out list entails both electrical and structural maintenance. Thus, visual check-ups and a session with the electrical engineer ensures that all sensitive electrical components are operating at their peak. Preventative Maintenance doesn’t just relate to the crane’s lifting function. A mobile crane is also a vehicle that travels on the public highway, so it must not constitute a threat to other road users and pedestrians. Tyres, braking systems, bodywork etc. All need to be checked and where a problem is found, it must be immediately rectified.
All the above will help prolong the life of the crane and keep it running effectively. Furthermore, these measures reduce the time the crane might otherwise be out of service for repairs. Maintaining a crane in excellent working order, saves money, reduces risk and enhances the company’s reputation.
- Mandatory Inspection Routines
The law requires that mobile cranes be occasionally inspected. When under operation, a crane poses a lot of health hazards, and if inspections aren’t performed, workers may end up injured and property damaged. It is critical to adhere to regulatory laws because the inspection procedures are aimed at maintaining safety standards.
Therefore, always ensure you check the Occupational Safety and Health website on the legislative aspect of inspections. Let an expert inspector do the job as they can evaluate a problem, see room for improvement and recommend alternative solutions.
The correct division of roles in the maintenance programme, documentation and governance must all be in place to make sure that the owners and users of mobile cranes are compliant with legislative requirements and manufacturers instructions. Responsibility for maintenance falls, usually, to the owner of the crane, but users are responsible for making sure examinations are carried out to predetermined schedules.
Schedules could be based on periods of time or hours of operation and should also take into account the age of the crane, frequency of use and the environment the crane operates in. A detailed record should be maintained of the inspection and all work done, together with details of parts replaced or faults found, and the tools and techniques used. Work orders should be kept along with any invoices and paperwork relating to new parts. There should also be a system of governance in place to check that inspections are being carried out as intended.
Mobile Crane Maintenance Activities
Undoubtedly, when a crane undergoes proper servicing as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, not only does it operate at maximum capacity, but it also alleviates safety hazards. This section details an extension of preventative maintenance of mobile crane and some of the procedures involved to ensure the machine functions well.
For a successful preventative maintenance, repair specialists must perform the following before diving in any repair or replacement works:
- Ensure the crane is relocated to a place where it will pose the least interference to other operations.
- Switch off all controllers.
- Ensure the electric mains is operated from the open position.
- Place an “Out-of-Order” sign on any crane under maintenance or on the floor to alert other personnel.
- In case other cranes are operational within the same maintenance area, railroads should be provided to ensure smooth operations.
- Following the completion of maintenance works, the machine should remain idle till all safety matters and maintenance tools are removed
When it comes to adjustments and repair works, unsafe conditions unwrapped by the inspection personnel must be remedied before the crane is deemed fit for use. Additionally, necessary adjustments must be made to assure “healthy” functioning of the parts.
A preventative mobile crane maintenance schedule must be formulated as per the manufacturer’s requirements. And if a component is deemed to have developed a malfunction, the necessary servicing process should be taken. Only trained maintenance professionals should conduct the procedures. Additionally, any hazardous energy surges or lockout must be controlled to ensure the crane remains de-energized.
For any project dealing with mobile cranes, proper equipment maintenance is important to prevent downtime and reduced productivity. However, while utilizing cranes, ensure you ensure you check the legislative policies regulating crane maintenance programs to ensure the work environment is safe for every staff.