Utility Contractor

MAR-APR 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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perforations could allow moisture or contamination to enter the track. The most important undercarriage interval item to moni- tor is track tensioning. A loose track is likely to de-track and will be detrimental to its useful life. The operator's manual will indicate ideal track tension ranges and the correct way to position the excavator for making adjustments. While other undercarriage components may not need a dai- ly inspection, regular monitoring of components like idlers, rollers and sprockets can help identify potential problems. Accelerated wear on the sprocket is not common; however, it should still be checked periodically by examining the teeth. A good sprocket tooth has a rounded end, while a worn tooth is more pointed. This is especially important to check when installing a new set of tracks. If compact excavators are being operated in colder climates, then mud, dirt and other debris may freeze and start to rub on the bolts, loosen the guiding and seize up the rollers. Rou- tine and proper cleaning of the undercarriage helps to prevent unplanned downtime and reduces potential wear later on. Tip No. 6: Maintain attachments. Attachments are an important part of a compact excavator and require the same attention to maintenance as the ma- chine itself. It is important to perform visual checks of the hydraulic hoses, cylinders and guards on the attachments, which can help determine if damage or wear has occurred. Everything that engages with the ground, from bucket cutting edges to flail mower teeth, for instance, should be looked at for wear and damage. Compact excavators can be one of the most important in- vestments for a contractor. With their increased versatility and proper maintenance, they can generate revenue more hours of the day and more days of the year. committing to a manufacturer's routine maintenance plan, equipment owners can add more useful life to the machines they operate. This article was contributed by the Bobcat Company. Utility Contractor 25 When buying a new excavator – or any piece of new equipment – there are many factors to consider: purchase price, brand reputation, dealer support, etc. Another factor not to be overlooked is the warranty. Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so pro- spective buyers need to be diligent when evaluating their equipment choices. To help provide some guidance on what to consider in a warranty, we talk- ed to Adam Woods, product manager of excavator manufacturer Link-Belt Exca- vators (LBX). LBX, based in Lexington, Kentucky, provides excavators ranging in size from 7.5 to 75 tons. "When customers are looking at buy- ing a new machine and comparing war- ranties, one of the things they need to understand is: What does the warranty actually cover?" Woods said. "For ex- ample, some OEMs may offer a 3-year, 3,000-hour warranty, but what does that cover? Does it cover the engine? Does it cover the powertrain? Does it cover emissions? Our warranty is a full- machine warranty, which is similar to a bumper-to-bumper warranty for a new automobile. "Additionally, a customer should look at what is covered beyond the basic war- ranty. For example, LBX offers a 5-year, 3,000-hour warranty on emissions, and a 3-year, 10,000-hour structural warranty, which includes the turntable bearing. The bottom line is, you need to understand exactly what the warranty is covering." To fully understand what the warranty covers, ask questions, Woods says. "We see a lot of customers who just look at the large print," he said. "However, they should be asking specific questions up front to see what is covered under spe- cific scenarios that they may encounter or have encountered in the past. And, they need to read the fine print. Some- times it comes down to the experience level of a customer. Someone who has been in the industry for a long time will know the right questions to ask." Of course, proper operation and maintenance will ensure you don't void a warranty, as well as increase produc- tivity and efficiency. "It is interesting that oftentimes people will operate the machines without ever looking at the operator's manual," Woods said. "Peo- ple who have been operating equip - ment for years may think it's trivial, but the operator's manual clearly states the intervals for maintenance and the procedures for maintenance. These are things that may be different from man- ufacturer to manufacturer, and even model to model. If end users were to clearly read the operator's manual, they could avoid some failures. It is impor- tant to clearly and fully understand the specified guidelines OEMs provide to operate and perform maintenance on their machines." What's in a Warranty? LBX product manager Adam Woods discusses what to look for when buying an excavator Other maintenance tips include: • Operate only those attachments that are approved for use with the corresponding carrier. • Connect the attachment and operate it briefly to make sure the attachment works properly. • Inspect auxiliary hydraulic connectors for signs of dam- age or excessive wear.

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