Repair And Maintenance Of Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipments, like any other equipments (and maybe more so), require a great deal of expertise and great care in its maintenance and repair. Apart from the fact that these machines have very specialized functions, their maintenance care are also that specialized and unique.

Heavy equipment machines like bulldozers, backhoes, excavators, cranes, forklifts, and many others all perform heavy earth-moving functions (and other massive operations) that ordinary machines cannot do.

These machines can only be operated and driven by well-trained and skilled operators who have undergone extensive training and with considerable experience.

Likewise, the heavy equipment mechanics that will take care of the maintenance and repair of these machines must have the same training and expertise (and much more so, sometimes) as the operators.

One of the advantages of today’s mechanics, however, is the availability of many tools, manual and old-fashioned, as well as those high-tech equipments that were not available just a decade or so ago.

Old and new repair devices

Aside from the mandatory greasing, oiling and cleaning of parts (by soaking them in solvents, etc.), today’s mechanics use high-tech hand-held gauges and laptop computers to diagnose and recommend repairs of the problems.

The gauges and meters are still used to check parts for damage. After the lengthy diagnoses, the standard procedure still calls for repairs of broken parts, either by welding and mending these back into something usable again. Afterwards, the repaired parts are reassembled and reattached to the machinery which is then tested for performance and safety.

Repair and maintenance work scope

For an idea on the work coverage of a repair and maintenance mechanic, the following is a short rundown of his job. (This is usually for construction companies with a fleet of machinery that includes bulldozers, graders, loaders, backhoes, compressors, heavy duty hydraulic trucks, etc.)

***Fuel systems – diagnoses, repairs and adjustments, replacements using electronic test equipments;

***Engines – diagnoses, repairs and adjustments, overhauling (gas and diesel) systems with electronic test equipments;

***Ignition and Electrical systems – diagnoses and repairs using electronic equipments. In electrical systems, repairs and replacements of batteries, bulbs, relays and wirings using electronic equipments;

***Steering and Suspension – diagnoses and repairs, replacements and overhauling of parts that include springs and axles, shock absorbers and bearings, steering assemblies, king pins and idlers, etc.

***Brakes – repairs and adjustments, replacements, pressure testing the whole braking system, checking on parts (rotors and drums, wheel cylinders, etc.);

***Transmissions and Differentials — diagnoses, adjustments, repairs, replacements and overhauling the transmissions and differentials (manual, automatic and hydrostatic);

***Control Systems – do the whole routine checks and repairs of all the control systems in the machine: compressed air, vacuum, electronic and hydraulic systems.

***Body and Frame — carry out some light body repair and welding work; this includes some outer machine parts replacements (glass, etc.) and spot body painting;

After the repairs and checks, the machine will be test-driven and test-operated by the repair mechanics to rate its working performance. It will also serve as a final check on other undetected faults and causes for adjustments, if needed.

Repair and maintenance training

Most of the repair and maintenance mechanics today are graduates of training centers, while some have earned their expertise from their own extensive work experience in the business.

Repair training courses are available throughout the year from accredited training centers and most U.S. colleges. The courses are designed to train candidates in the repair and maintenance of heavy equipments like wheel loaders, backhoes, forklifts, bulldozers, excavators, and many more – all currently in use in the construction industry.

However, there is an ever-increasing demand today for heavy equipment repair mechanics (and operators) in all fields: mining, construction, logging, transport, and many other industries that employ heavy machineries. This is especially true in developing countries where industrialization and urbanization are growing fast.