Because of the nature of drilling deep foundations, heavy equipment undergoes tremendous stress throughout the course of a project. Still, with some simple measures and regular evaluations, you can get the most out of your equipment and avoid costly downtime or expensive repairs. With proper maintenance and preventative measures, you can extend your heavy equipment’s lifespan significantly.
If you begin noticing abnormal performance issues or other signs of potential issues arising, consult with a trusted service technician to diagnose any possible malfunctions or breakdowns before they cause further damage.
While all heavy construction equipment will eventually need repair or replacement, extending your drilling rig’s lifespan can be a relatively simple process based on regular inspections and upkeep. These tips will keep your equipment operating at its peak performance in every season and let you focus on completing your foundation drilling project without worrying about mechanical breakdown or failure.
Comprehensive Maintenance Checklists
Create checklists to be completed on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis and ensure that your crew is trained on how to identify and troubleshoot minor issues so that you can identify significant problems before they arise.
These checklists should focus on fluid levels, hoses, mechanical and electrical systems, as well as other less obvious components such as augers and tires. Because drilling deep foundations occurs at depths that other smaller projects do not encounter, it’s imperative to understand the stressors that these components encounter through every phase of the project and ensure that they are functioning correctly.
By keeping documentation of these inspections, you can allow service technicians a better understanding of what may be causing a particular issue and the best way to remedy the problem to save you time and increase your machinery’s longevity.
These lists should be completed by competent operators and crew members and verified by a qualified foreman or supervisor before being stored in your company’s records for later use.
Before the day’s work begins, ensure that all lubricated parts are clean, free of dirt and debris, and properly lubricated before turning your drilling rig on. This may sound obvious to seasoned drill rig operators, but if this doesn’t occur regularly, the buildup can cause serious issues down the road.
Pay particular attention to bearings, cam rollers, rail clips, and winch shut-offs, as these components are exposed to considerable dirt throughout the process of drilling a deep foundation.
Wear and Tear
Naturally, some parts of your equipment will wear down more rapidly than others and consequently will require more regular inspection, maintenance, and repair. Work with a trusted vendor to forecast this wear and tear to ensure that parts are in stock to avoid downtime due to a breakdown in the supply chain or availability of certain parts.
Some common parts that wear more quickly include:
- Cable and wire rope
- Kelly bars and keys
- Boom point connections
- Polyurethane components
Another best practice is to inspect transmissions on older equipment as it may be in need of repair or replacement.
Just like any electrical equipment, the wiring harness and other elements are prone to breakdown, especially with frequent exposure to the elements. Pay close attention to the lighting fixtures, battery and/or generator, fuses, and terminal strips or plugs to ensure that all parts are in good working order.
Not only can electrical malfunction damage equipment, but it can also result in fires and other potentially hazardous situations.
Most drill rig operators and owners know to regularly inspect the case drain filter but should be prepared to replace and repair hydraulic components more frequently than other mechanical systems.
Some hydraulic components that require more frequent replacement include the pilot system filter, hydraulic reservoir oil, and cylinders.
Once again, the ability to forecast these malfunctions and ensure that replacement parts are available is imperative to a successful project.
Kelly Bar Inspection
The Kelly Bar bears the brunt of the wear and tear of your entire rig and, as such, should have special attention paid to its upkeep and maintenance. Before you break ground, you should confirm that your equipment is suited to handle the job’s unique soil conditions and won’t be exposed to extraneous loads or earth that is too dense.
Inspect the Kelly Bar to verify that it is clean before you begin drilling, as well as establish that it is still delivering acceptable torque. A visual inspection can check for damage or wear and tear on flanges, torque lugs, and adapters to ensure optimal performance.
A Trusted Partner in Maintenance Performance
With over 50 years of experience in the drill rig and pile driving industries, RPI Equipment and our team of professional technicians and knowledgeable salespeople can help you identify the proper equipment and design plan to keep it maintained to keep you focused on the task at hand.
We can schedule on-site inspections, troubleshoot equipment, and perform regular maintenance to a full line of CZM drilling equipment and we believe in transparent communication.