Get the most out of your equipment

Like the sage investment advice, “Buy low, sell high,” articulated dump trucks (ADTs) have a greater return on investment when a low total cost of ownership is paired with high use.

While an ADT’s longevity is impacted by a wide variety of variables, you can control much of the outcome by selecting the right machine for the job, tending to maintenance and following the right operation, according to Brian Bereika, a Doosan ADT product specialist.

“Today’s equipment owners are looking to capitalize on technologies and best practices that will drive down the total cost of ownership. By focusing on the fundamental fleet strategies that directly influence your assets, you can improve operating efficiencies, extend life cycles and get the most out of your ADT,” Bereika said.

The following are 10 tips from Bereika to help maximize the life of your machine.

The Right Machine

1. Select a machine for the application.

Whether doing site preparation, capping landfills, removing overburden at mines or moving material in sand and gravel pits, you need a durable machine and options with the capacity to match the type of work you are routinely performing. For example, if you need an off-road truck for short hauls and own a midsize excavator, you would probably consider a 25- to 30-ton-size ADT. If you have to move large volumes over long distances, a 35- to 40-ton ADT would probably fit your requirements. It is just as important to size the excavator or wheel loader to the size of ADT. Also, using similar-sized ADTs on the same haul road, especially if deeply rutted, will usually put less strain on the driveline. Specifications that should be taken into consideration include:

  • Engine horsepower
  • Torque
  • Payload
  • Brake system
  • Load over height
  • Width of vehicle
  • Ground pressure

2. Partner options to site conditions.

Match tire size, type and width to site conditions. Hard-packed haul roads or sharp-edged rocks will shorten tire life. Being able to minimize tire sinking will put less stress on the driveline. Impact damage or abrasion will shorten the life of the dump body, so a body liner may be necessary.

3. Know the safety requirements.

Many ADTs work in environments that are required to meet OSHA or MSHA regulations. Equip the vehicles with the necessary safety equipment to minimize the risk of accidents that shorten the machine’s lifetime.

The Right Maintenance

4. Follow maintenance schedules.

Perform daily lubrication duties, in addition to other key maintenance intervals recommended by manufacturers. Auto-lube systems may be advantageous to ensure proper lubrication of expensive components. Fleet management systems designed to track maintenance intervals and check engine codes can improve maintenance by reducing guesswork. Routine maintenance should also include visual inspections of the tires, driveline and structural members for damage. Also inspect for leaks and any abnormal sounds.

5. Modify maintenance intervals to accommodate special conditions.

Extremely dusty applications may require more frequent air filter cleaning and use of engine precleaners. Double shifting will require more frequent maintenance. Very hot or cold temperatures may demand special oils and lubricants for protection of major components.

6. Limit excessive idling time.

By reducing travel time on or between jobsites, operators can improve fuel efficiency. Limiting the amount of idling that can occur during ADT loading and unloading operations is a good practice to increase profitability.

The Right Operation

7. Provide safety training.

Having a solid understanding of all the various functions of an ADT not only increases productivity, but it can help avoid accidents. At the same time, by receiving hands-on training, operators can learn controls faster and distinguish which features will produce better results in certain applications.

8. Avoid overloading.

Operators and owners should understand that there might be short-term gains from overloading ADTs, but in the long term, this will result in higher repair costs and shorter machine life. Tire life will also be adversely affected by overloading.

9. Establish machine limits.

Operators who are trained in the proper operation of an ADT develop a better understanding of a machine’s limits and the consequences for activities that push machines beyond rated capacities. Operators must be aware of stability limits during dumping and when turning too quickly and abruptly, which can contribute to rollovers. Another example would be braking limitations while traveling downhill with a loaded dump body. Runaway trucks can result in damage and personal injury.

10. Strive for optimum sight lines.

Many manufacturers have addressed compromised sight lines with front-sloped hoods, better fender design and center-mounted cabs. Views to the rear are just as important for safety. Large, well-placed and properly adjusted rearview mirrors and cameras all make backing up much safer and can lead to longer ADT life.

Maximizing an ADT’s life can pay big dividends through increased productivity, the reduction of maintenance surprises and safer, more efficient operation. The ultimate goal is a highly productive life cycle and a low total cost of ownership.