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Benefits of routine

Jun 15, 2023Jun 15, 2023

Demolition robots are built with strong components to promote a long service life and are designed to withstand harsh environments. But, as with any piece of equipment, neglect of regular maintenance can reduce machine productivity, or worse, lead to unexpected breakdowns.

Performing regular inspections and maintenance can minimize frustrating downtime and ensure the crew has the tools they need to operate at maximum efficiency. Many equipment manuals come with a maintenance checklist that details what to keep an eye on throughout the machine’s life. These guidelines can help owners understand which preventative maintenance measures to take.

Daily maintenance

Certain maintenance tasks should be completed daily to ensure safe, effective demolition. The body of the robot should be checked for cracks, especially when working in particularly harsh environments. Operators should visually inspect hoses, electrical lines and other systems before work starts and after the machine is done working to avoid downtime.

The most common issue operators find on electric remote-controlled demolition robots is that the cables aren’t properly protected. Check daily to make sure the cord is out of the line of traffic and free from damage.

Some systems, including the tool mounting and arm system, should be checked and lubricated after every eight hours of operation. It’s also important to check hydraulic fluid and breaker lubricant levels each day, as well as engine oil and coolant levels for diesel machines. Top off any low fluids as necessary. Finally, inspect hoses to keep an eye out for any damage or leaks that could indicate maintenance is needed on hoses or hydraulic cylinders.

Weekly maintenance

Operators should perform more thorough weekly inspections and remove covers for cleaning and accessing critical maintenance points. Make sure to remove dust buildup in the radiator and electric motor. Replace air filters, hoses and any other filters that might have been damaged throughout the week. Inspect systems like the arm, undercarriage and outriggers for cracks or other damage. This will ensure no failures take place during machine operation.

Keep common wear parts—such as tracks, outrigger pads, the tips and bits for a hammer or crusher attachment and the carbide teeth for a drum cutter—on hand to make weekly maintenance easier. Some manufacturers offer wear part ordering options to keep these parts at a local dealer to help reduce maintenance time.

Every 250 hours

Along with daily and weekly checks, 250 hours is a significant maintenance milestone for demolition machines. Be sure to replace the return filter and the air filter for the hydraulic tank at this interval. Check the drive motor or slew motor levels as well.

For diesel-powered models, change the engine oil, oil filter and fuel filter. Check and, if needed, change the fan belt, heat exchanger and intercooler and rubber hoses.

Annual checkup

There are additional routine maintenance procedures to follow annually. At least once a year (or about every 500 hours), operators must replace the machine’s hydraulic fluid. Check that machine stickers are still secured and in the correct places. For diesel machines, replace the air filter, engine oil, oil filter and fuel filter at least once a year in addition to the 250-hour service items.

Every 1,000 hours

By 1,000 hours, operators who follow all routine maintenance suggestions should have minimal maintenance-related frustrations and downtime. There are several key inspections to perform at this stage, though, to ensure the machine keeps functioning at optimal efficiency. At this point, it’s time to change the slew motor and drive motor oil. For diesel-powered machines, replace the coolant and alternator belt.

The benefit of routine

Routine maintenance is critical to avoid unexpected downtime. By following conducting preventative maintenance at the recommended intervals, contractors can maximize the performance and reliability of the machine. For more information on preventative maintenance for demolition machines, consult the manual or talk to a trusted manufacturer.

The author is vice president of sales and marketing at Monroe, Washington-based Brokk Inc. and can be reached at [email protected].

Daily maintenance Weekly maintenance Every 250 hours Annual checkupEvery 1,000 hoursThe benefit of routine