Invariably year on year the first real cold snap of the winter coincides with a rise in calls from people reporting issues with their machinery. All too often they are issues caused by exposure to the extreme cold.
The good news is there is a range of preventative measures you can implement today to ensure your machines (and therefore your business) run just as well during the winter months as the rest of the year.
For hydraulic machines always bear in mind that the cold weather will affect the viscosity of your machines hydraulic oil. If it is cold (and thicker) then a greater workload is placed upon your machine’s components. Much like a car, once it warms up it will work optimally given time. Used when cold though and component life will be reduced, problems will sooner or later arise and your investment may need further investment to repair and replace parts long before they should need it.
This isn’t an issue limited to hydraulic oil, all types of oil have what are known as ‘Pour Points’ this refers to the lowest at which it can flow efficiently, aim for a lubricant lower than your machines lowest operating temperature by at least 10°C.
Electrical machinery requires a similar level of care during winter when condensation and the elements can cause serious problems such as shorts on on PCB’s (printed circuit boards) and corrosion on switches. Many machines are kept in conditions that are very similar to outdoor conditions but a weather tight environment is crucial for warranty claims. Wherever possible machinery must be situated in an environment that is indoors, well away from the elements, simply covering it up might not suffice.
Always make sure you allow time for a hydraulic machine to warm up. That might mean something simple like arranging for your heating to switch on earlier, activating a timer or frost guard setting or even fitting a tubular heater inside the machine itself. Remember that even the most weather tight, modern premises will get very cold during the course of a sub zero winter’s night. You wouldn’t (and probably couldn’t) safely start your car on such a morning and drive it right away, think along those same lines with your hydraulic machinery.
For electrical machinery, if it is exposed to the elements then do everything possible to rectify it. It might mean a roof repair, a window or door fixed or even moving the machine itself but it’s worth it to avoid unexpected failures, job delays and expensive repairs.
Many equipment failures happen in, and because of the cold weather. Regular inspections and pre-winter checks of buildings, heating and the machines themselves can go a long way towards giving you and your business a hassle-free winter.
For help and advice on winter maintenance, operating temperatures and lubrication feel free to drop us a line on +44 (0)1432 346 580 or get in touch via our website
Published 6th January 2020