Preventive maintenance is a necessity in prolonging the useful life of any vacuum truck. These trucks when used constantly will experience natural wear-and-tear over an extended period of time. To avoid any kind of failure, a good preventive maintenance schedule can help slow the deterioration process and avoid major damage to the vehicle. Daily inspections and routine maintenance actions can help an owner avoid premature system failure over the service life of the truck. Extends Serviceable Life – Decreases avoidable equipment failures that can extend the serviceable life expectancy of the vehicle. Fewer Breakdowns – Routine maintenance can decrease equipment breakdown and downtime. Lowers Costs - Decreases the use of mechanics to repair problems thus reducing overtime cost. Prevents Related Losses - Stops secondary failures caused by initial breakdown. Improves Safety - Enhances safety and equipment conditions.
Reasons for Program
There are several reasons why a regular protective program should be followed in order to maintain an ideal level of functioning of the vacuum truck.
A preventive maintenance program should be scheduled and executed. Company management should give a high priority to ensure that this work is accomplished as scheduled. To bring about such a plan, emphasis must be given on inspecting, cleaning and detecting mechanical problems.
Key Components in Program
The benefits that can be obtained from a good equipment protection plan can be attributed to the following actions:
Set up Groundwork - Setting up the basis for ongoing inspections is the most important component of this protective program. Choose Personnel - Choosing reliable and competent personnel to carry out the program is a very vital component. Develop Training - Creating training programs to educate personnel on the proper techniques and process of preventive maintenance must be correctly accomplished. Foster High Standards - Developing high standards of up-keep must be emphasized. Check Results - Making sure the program is being followed and the vehicles are properly working must be done to be sure positive results are being obtained.
Routine Inspection – the Building Block
Routine inspection is the most important part of implementing a preventive maintenance program. The long-term effect and end result of this activity is to improve system functioning and extend life expectancy of the vehicles. To reach this goal, the following activities must be taken.
Schedule as Needed - Perform different levels of preventive maintenance daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annually and yearly. Inspect Vital Components - Conduct routine inspections to all of the vital components of the vacuum truck such as: control valves; fluid levels; air and water separator cyclones; hydraulic pumps; hydraulic filters; body hoists; and intake hoses. Monitor Hydraulic System - Inspect and ensure that the hydraulic system is free from contamination. Hydraulic fluid must be free from foreign matter to avoid malfunctioning of the pumps and valves. Conduct Normal Up-Keep - Carry out simple normal maintenance such as: draining and replacing hydraulic oil; changing hydraulic filters; and opening the tailgate if the equipment is expected to be idle for a few days.
Prolonging the life of a vacuum truck can be obtained by implementing an effective means of preventing any problems before they happen and it is the sole purpose of such a program to avoid any breakdowns rather than fixing the problem when it occurs.
One of the many misconceptions about preventive maintenance is the cost. A long-term analysis will always show that the benefits far outweigh the costs of any protective action. The ultimate achievement for the vacuum truck will be enhanced system dependability, reduced machine downtime, reduced wear-and-tear and the greatest accomplishment by far – a prolonged life expectancy of the vehicle!