Tech Column: Daily Service Check is Key to Good Maintenance

by | Mar 1, 2023 | 2023, March/April, TimberWest Magazine

By Matthew Flood

As the forestry industry continues to evolve, there is a more demand for solutions that help loggers maintain job sites more efficiently. Manufacturers are delivering improved innovations and machine solutions that help increase efficiency and productivity while exceeding loggers’ highest expectations. As the industry is seeing new emerging technologies and innovations enter the market, it’s crucial for manufacturers to focus on the impact their machines and technology will have in the woods and the benefits specific enhancements will have on operators. Forestry business owners are faced with unique challenges every day that drive the need for innovation, new technology and data solutions.

John Deere encourages loggers, business owners, and fleet managers to follow these tips to make sure their machines can tackle even the toughest terrain year-round.

Daily Service Check

Performing daily service checks is key to ensuring your machine meets its productivity potential and minimizes downtime. When performing your service check, visually inspect the machine’s appearance and look for damage. Check fluids — as in the coolant, oil, hydraulic oil and transmission oil levels. Check and drain fuel water separators.

Take a close look at wear items that could prevent the machine from efficiently doing its job. Visual inspections of key wear components are particularly important. Some machines are intelligent enough to know when to warm up and cool down, but it is also important to monitor them, considering excess idle time and fuel burn.

Operators are the first line of defense in making sure the machine is in optimum condition to keep the job site running efficiently. Most manufacturers still encourage operators to perform a daily walk-around, and while it may seem redundant, an extra set of eyes never hurts.

Key inspection points will vary between models, but the concept remains the same. Completing this daily inspection helps to spot potential problems early, which is beneficial on multiple fronts. For one, it saves equipment owners money by amending issues with individual parts and/or overall functionality so that larger, more costly issues with performance and longevity are avoided.

Telematics Systems

Forestry machines are doing more than just sending information to a remote server. They are truly becoming connected to the world. Historically, a person might have perceived machine telematics as simply providing feedback about machine locations, working hours, and fuel burn. However, the data and insights from the machines can also help support improved and optimized business decisions.

A customer can view information about machines at his or her fingertips from a location on the opposite side of the world. Dealers and technicians can remotely monitor and connect to machines and initiate data collection on demand or based on triggers, such as machine alerts or fault codes. This can, at times, prevent multiple trips and reduce customer expenses.

One of the best ways to leverage telematics is to increase your bottom dollar through managing or limiting idle time on machines. Traditionally, a machine could idle between 10-20 percent of the hours that it’s utilized through a given week, month, or year. One could argue that the savings in fuel by reducing idle time is quite minimal. However, look at the larger picture: a machine that idles 20 percent of an annual accumulation of 1,000 hours is not producing for 200 hours. That’s 200 hours of lost production time plus a faster degradation of both warranty and potential resale value.

Successful businesses in the future will be defined by how well technology and telematics capabilities are leveraged by customers and integrated into day to day decisions. Equipment owners should partner with dealerships around telematics enabled features such as service advisor remote and machine monitoring capabilities to increase longevity of machines.

Focus on Machine Health

When examining your machine on a routine basis, it’s crucial to get into a regular routine and to complete the checks in the same order. Every time you do an inspection, start in the same place, perform your checks around the machine, and end where you began. This routine makes it easier to spot abnormalities and helps ensure nothing is overlooked.

It is best practice to refer to the operator’s manual or consult your dealer for specific product procedures. However, by following these tips you can begin to best-utilize your machine.

(Matthew Flood is Product Marketing Manager for John Deere.)

Forestnet

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