Performing preventative maintenance on your hydraulic ground support equipment is one of the most beneficial things you can do to keep them running. It makes scheduling downtime possible, prolongs equipment life cycles, and improves safety, just to name some of the biggest benefits. And, of course, all of these benefits lead to increased cost savings for you in the long term.
Being able to schedule when your equipment is out of service is the first major benefit of preventative maintenance. Whenever a piece of equipment breaks down, that’s unscheduled downtime that you and your team will have to work around. And, breakdowns always seem to happen at the worst possible times. This unplanned downtime can have a knock-on effect, putting the rest of your work behind schedule as well.
Preventative maintenance solves the issue of unscheduled downtime in two ways. First, equipment that’s properly maintained is less likely to break down. Fewer breakdowns in turn mean less unplanned equipment downtime. Second, when maintenance is performed on a piece of equipment, you know when the equipment in question is going to be out of service. This allows you and your team to plan around what equipment is going to be out of service for maintenance. In these ways, preventative maintenance eliminates negative surprises and maintains productivity for your team.
Prolonged Equipment Life Cycles
Equipment life cycles can be greatly extended by performing preventative maintenance and preventing severe damage from occurring. When equipment goes without maintenance for extended periods of time, small amounts of damage can begin to snowball into much larger and more serious issues. For example, what may begin as slightly contaminated hydraulic fluid could lead to the internal destruction of a hydraulic pump if left unchecked. In such a situation, it would have been much easier and less costly to have changed the hydraulic fluid during routine maintenance than it is to replace the pump or equipment as a whole.
Of course, some damage will inevitably occur even with a maintenance plan in place. Preventative maintenance can’t completely remove all damage. Component wear is going to naturally happen over time. But with a maintenance schedule in place, you can have any and all damaged components repaired or replaced without additional downtime. And again, by fixing any damage that crops up between maintenance dates, your equipment will last longer because that damage won’t be able to spread.
When your equipment is in proper working order, it’s generally going to be safer for your employees to use. Sometimes, damaged equipment is inherently unsafe, such as an aircraft tug with brakes that no longer work as well as they should. Because of all the weight that tugs pull, their brakes need to work extremely well in order to be able to stop the momentum of the planes they move. It’s not difficult to see why being unable to stop a large aircraft once it gets rolling is a dangerous scenario.
Damaged components can also lead to the sudden and catastrophic failure of equipment. For example, a hydraulic hose could burst if it wasn’t regularly checked for signs of wear. Hydraulics are present in most powered ground support equipment, so this is a very real potential issue. Catastrophic failures not only bring your operations to a halt but can be very dangerous for nearby workers. The temperature of hydraulic fluid can get to over 200℉ in some cases. And because of the pressures at which hydraulic systems operate, the fluid coming out of a hole can cause serious puncture wounds.
Even seemingly minor failures, such as a slow leak, can be dangerous if left alone. Leaks lead to puddles which are a slipping hazard. So no matter how minor the damage to your equipment may seem, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible. And preventative maintenance can catch many of these minor forms of damage before they cause real problems.
Putting a preventative maintenance schedule in place is one of the most beneficial things you can do for the long-term health of your hydraulic ground support equipment. Maintenance will keep your equipment running in optimal condition for longer, meaning you’ll spend less on repairing damage and replacing old equipment. It also keeps your business running during peak operating hours by removing most unscheduled downtime. Preventative maintenance will reduce breakdowns and can be scheduled in advance so you know which equipment is going to be temporarily out of service and when. Finally, by keeping your equipment maintained, you’re also protecting your employees from danger. Damaged equipment is often unsafe equipment to varying degrees. If you keep your equipment properly maintained, it will reduce the risk of injury to those who work with them.
When it comes to keeping your ground support equipment in working order, trust FlyTek GSE. Our technicians are trained in and have experience with repairing and maintaining ground support equipment from a variety of brands. You can either send your equipment to us, or we can send our technicians to you. We can even help you set up a maintenance plan for the long term. Contact us today to learn more about how we can work for you.