It’s that time of year! We’re getting into the busy, mulch-production season and it’s hard to stay on top of routine housekeeping tasks. However, the busiest times are the most critical times to be disciplined with these items.
We’ve responded to four calls in the past four months involving catastrophic machine fires. These are the calls we never want to take. And unfortunately, 99% of the time, the destruction is wholly avoidable by simply following standard, machine maintenance protocols.
Namely, it’s important to monitor for the following:
Small/slow hydraulic or oil leaks. Inspect the ground and the engine cradle for any hydraulic fluid. Also, the engine cooling fan can and will blow leaking oil across the motor or onto a superheated exhaust manifold. It’s important to quickly locate and repair the hoses or fittings involved with any leak.
Fine dust. Grinders generate a lot of fine dust (read: fire fuel) as a by-product. This material is almost always the culprit in a combustion event. The dust accumulates under the engine or sits on top of the engine cradle/compartment. Finding this dust and blowing it out with a small handheld blower is the best fix.
Material build up around the conveyors and bearings can also lead to thermal spikes and potential combustion triggers or, at least, failure of those key components.
Machine inspections should be conducted at the beginning and end of each day. It can be tough—after a long day in the yard or field—to spend the time inspecting/cleaning and checking for any leaks on your grinder. That said, the cost of not doing so can be severe.
Morning inspections are also important before firing up. We’re seeing increasing incidents of overnight machine vandalization. The best practice to run a thorough inspection before firing up every morning just to make sure everything is in order and not leave it to chance.
Coming soon: An additional level of protection against devastating fire loss is equipment insurance. We’ll help you work through the pros and cons.