In today’s forestry market, you can’t afford not to have a structured maintenance program. With complex variables to face in the forests, including the weather, labor, trucking, and changing quotas, you need to ensure your machines are available and up-to-date when needed in order to remain competitive. A well-planned maintenance program can help reduce unexpected downtime and increase the likelihood of meeting schedules and production levels.
To help loggers stay ahead of the curve, here are a few best practices and reminders for both owners and operators to maximize their output and keep equipment up and running.
The first step for any operator, and a recommended best practice, is to begin each day by conducting daily and regular maintenance check-ins. Referencing the owner’s manuals for the best routine scans for the machine can enhance both the owner and operator experience. Owner’s manuals are great guides to clearly outline the expected daily and hourly interval maintenance checkups that you should follow. Each day, it is important to perform regular maintenance to ensure your machine is up to the task.
Starting with a machine walkaround, look for any visible wear and tear to the machine. Then conduct a quick check of fluids as part of your pre-start inspection, checking on the engine oil and coolant, hydraulic oil, transmission oil, and washer fluids. Operators should review pins and bushings, hoses, and fittings, and identify any leaks that may need repair. Hydraulic hoses and belts should also be checked for wear and tear and be replaced if damaged. Next, look at the wheels and tracks for wear to identify any signs of damage or sag before starting work for the day, paying close attention to the tire pressure ensuring they are properly inflated and ready for the terrain ahead. Check the chains and tracks and change any that may be damaged or loose.
Staying on top of daily maintenance tasks like these can help keep your machine in optimal shape.
Every now and then, your machine requires a more extensive health check. As your equipment hits new milestones, a maintenance checklist can become longer and longer, making it even more important to check the owner’s manual to ensure all necessary maintenance has been performed.
As always, the owner’s manual will clearly outline the recommended maintenance and procedures needed based on the hours and workloads, making it easy to keep track. The owner’s manual will also provide guidance on lubrication and maintenance, outlining compatible fluids and filters, specifications, and recommended inspections, helping to ensure you are using the right materials for your machine to help boost performance and uptime.
A few services that will need to be conducted at various intervals can include changing the fluids and filters and lubricating the key parts throughout the machine. Some manufacturers and dealerships even offer test kits and strips for further oil sampling and fluid checks, which will allow you to gain valuable data and knowledge about your machine.
Leveraging Your Dealer and Technology
When planning for a more substantial servicing of your equipment, make sure to talk with your dealer to learn if there is a maintenance package available, which can help take the stress of maintenance off your plate.
Through a service package, the dealer can help handle the routine service intervals, ensuring all necessary tasks are performed at the right time. Programs and packages offered through dealerships and certified technicians present options like prepaying for annual maintenance and extending factory warranties, which can help control total cost of ownership by saving you time and money, as well as providing peace of mind that your machine is properly maintained on a consistent basis.
Additionally, if you are considering purchasing a new machine, you can often talk to your dealer about adding in a maintenance package to the machine financing, thus incorporating service costs into the monthly payment. Be sure to ask your local dealer service about packages and extended warranties on machines.
Finally, utilizing the latest technology solutions and updates can be a fantastic tool to help keep up with monitoring both daily and long-term machine maintenance. For example, some dealers, like your local John Deere dealers, offer platforms such as the JDLink telematics solutions to provide an inside look at the health of your machines and anticipate potential downtime or needs to address. Through the latest data management technology offerings and remote support systems, owners and operators are able to analyze machine performance and better understand their productivity instantaneously. It is more important than ever for today’s loggers to take advantage of the latest technology advances to help maximize productivity and overall value.
At the end of the day, the takeaway for loggers is that in order to keep machines moving and productivity up, it is best practice to closely monitor the health of the machine, whether through daily checks, online monitoring services, or conversations with trusted technicians. Staying on top of maintenance can greatly impact the long-term value of your most vital equipment.
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