Preventative maintenance refers to precautionary work performed on equipment with the express purpose of limiting the possibility of unexpected failure. Regularly inspecting your equipment, and making it a priority to schedule a preventive maintenance routine, will help you identify any small issues before they become big, expensive issues.
Preventative maintenance will also help prevent any major downtime related to your machine and any associated limitations to ongoing projects. Potential reliability issues are cheaper and easier to fix the earlier they’re spotted.
Scheduled inspections and preventative maintenance are the easiest ways to guarantee the best performance from your equipment. And as of the 2020 ANSI Standards, it’s also required.
ANSI Standards require you to have an inspection performed (by a person qualified to inspect the specific make and model of MEWP) no later than 13 months from the date of the prior annual inspection.
A certified technician must inspect your machine. Once all points are met, your equipment will pass inspection.The inspection should include, but not be limited to, the following:
- All functions and their controls for speed(s), smoothness and limits of motion
- Lower controls including the provisions for overriding of upper controls
- All chain and cable mechanisms for adjustment and worn or damaged parts
- All emergency and safety devices
- Lubrication of all moving parts, inspection of filter element(s), hydraulic oil, engine oil and coolant as specified by the manufacturer
- Visual inspection of structural components and other critical components such as fasteners, pins, shafts and locking devices
- Placards, warnings and control markings
- Items specified by the manufacturer
- Emergency lowering means
Another major maintenance tip is to always use replacement parts from your machine’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Non-OEM replacement parts may fit your machine, but often are far less reliable.
Replacement parts that aren’t factory-fitted might physically fit, but they may not work as well and often cause downtime. Joysticks, for example, can cause issues—they can be the wrong style, not work with your unit, work poorly (operating in one direction but not another), or only work for a very short period of time.
When operating with large machinery, it’s better to be safe than to save a dollar. Always use OEM parts to better ensure your machine is running optimally and to better protect yourself from unnecessary repairs, costs and downtime.
Another pro tip for keeping your machines running smoothly (with limited downtime) is to keep track of performance and costs. Tracking trends, especially those related to frequency and types of maintenance requirements, will save you time and money by allowing for the ability to prepare for events before they happen.
Waiting on parts to arrive and repairs to happen can be major causes of unplanned downtime. Your ability to quickly order and receive OEM parts is an important factor for your machine’s reliability.
Tracking the cost of repairs and upkeep on your machine will also be beneficial for the purpose of determining when your machine is no longer a cost-effective asset. Keeping track of performance and cost trends will help you know when it’s time to release or upgrade a machine.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019. We updated it for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness in July 2023.