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Eight Tips for Managing Excavator Owning and Operating Costs

As a business owner, there are always factors that are out of your hands. However, effectively managing the things that you CAN control will save you time and money, and will have a positive impact on your bottom line. Here are eight considerations that can help you manage your overall operating costs, sharpen your bids and improve the profitability of your business.

  1. Regular Maintenance. The number one thing that can be done to retain value and extend the life of your excavator is to perform basic maintenance as recommended by the operators manual. Make sure that you’re checking your filters, sampling the oil, greasing the attachments, checking fuel quality—these simple maintenance procedures will keep your costs down and prevent any premature failures.
  2. Cooling System. Heavy equipment is typically utilized in environments with a high level of dust and debris. It is essential to make sure that your radiator and cooling systems are cleaned out regularly, otherwise you run the risk of overheating the engine and causing other problems. We’ve designed our excavators with tilt-out coolers to make it easy for operators and technicians to access in order to blow them out.
  3. Undercarriage. Something as simple as making sure the undercarriage is kept clean can prevent costly wear and tear, and prolong the life of a machine. It’s also important to check for wear on your pins and along the track regularly. Look for scouring along the hydraulic cylinders, idler and sprockets—any kind of debris in there can speed things up along those wear points and lead to costly downtime. It’s also important to make sure that the track tension is set properly—having it too loose or too tight can cause unnecessary wear on those components.
  4. Buckets and other Attachments. If you’re working with a worn-down attachment, it’s going to make your excavator work harder—burning more fuel, and taking more time and wages to perform the job at hand. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on the teeth, wear plates and other crucial points on your attachments. A worn bucket or a poorly maintained breaker attachment can tear up an excavator arm and cause lots of unnecessary wear on the machine, so always take the time to make sure that your attachments are properly maintained.
  5. Fuel Quality. Fuel quality is extremely important with the engine systems that we’re using in today’s machines. Most manufacturers are using a high-pressure common rail (HPCR) system now on their engines, and any kind of debris that is going to filter through that fuel system will damage those injectors to the smallest micron readings. Any kind of contamination can cause unnecessary wear on the system, so it is more critical than ever to make sure that you are getting your fuel from a reputable service provider. Keep an eye on fueling procedures to make sure there aren’t opportunities for dust and debris to contaminate the fuel, DEF and other fluids.
  6. Operating Modes. Most manufacturers offer multiple operating modes on their excavators, so it’s important for operators to take advantage of these options. To help owners and operators manage fuel consumption, CASE excavators feature three operating modes with varying RPMs and fuel efficiency. Our excavators also include an auto-idle feature that kicks in after three seconds of inactivity, and an auto-shutdown feature that shuts the machine down after three minutes to help further reduce fuel consumption.
  7. Telematics and Machine Control. One of the best ways to improve production and machine utilization, simplify maintenance procedures and protect your equipment investment is through the utilization of telematics and machine control. Telematics systems can give you unprecedented data on how your machines are being utilized in the field—idle time, operating practices, total utilization, etc.Machine control improves productivity and reduces the amount of re-work on a job site. Over time, intelligent equipment utilization through machine control can reduce the wear and tear on your machine components and ground-engaging tools, lower maintenance costs and fuel consumption, and extend the life of your machine – all while drastically improving productivity.
  8. Remanufactured Parts. Remanufactured parts are available now more than ever, and are a great option to consider for owners who want to keep their costs down. In order to better serve the needs of their customers, many OEMs now keep thousands of remanufactured parts and components in stock, ready to ship. Ordering readily available remanufactured parts and components and having them installed immediately is a much more timely approach than having to wait for a part to be repaired. In addition to that, the cost of remanufactured parts can often be up to 40 percent less than a new part with no drop-off in quality compared to new components.

Excavator Hydraulics, Fuel Efficiency Stand Out for Florida Highway Contractor and Materials Producer

The post-recession construction industry has spurred a number of success stories – one of which is Tampa Bay, Florida’s BP Construction Group. Three-and-a-half years ago, R.G. Stathas and his cousin, Nick DiGiulio, started the company with one machine. They ran a single excavator out of Bridal Path Pit in nearby Lutz, which spawned the name “BP”.

Today, the company has more than 60 pieces of equipment, 40 employees and business revenue that topped $20 million last year. They credit their success to the resurgence of the construction industry, existing relationships, a reputation of honesty and integrity – and hard work.

The Buying Tip Sheet on Wheel Loaders

Tip #1: Size it Right 

The primary factors to consider when purchasing a wheel loader are operating capacity (bucket size, breakout and lift capacity) and footprint. The right size of a wheel loader is often determined by surrounding equipment and operations.

From Scrubland to Farm: Farmland Conversion Consultants Tackles Massive Land Clearing Project

Farmland Conversion Consultants, located in Aiken, S.C., likes big, collaborative projects. That’s just what they got when they took on a project converting 1,900-acres of trees and scrubland into a fully functioning vegetable farm.

The company, which is focused on growing agriculture throughout the state of South Carolina, recognized that there is a shortage of open land for farming. Fresh vegetable costs in the region are higher due to the lack of locally grown produce – much of it is imported. Though the soils in the state are particularly attractive to different types of growers, there’s an overgrowth of timberland – some of which is well managed, some not.

Better Understanding Equipment Utilization Through Telematics

Information is power. The data provided by telematics systems, at its most basic level, helps equipment owners make better decisions about how they run their business. But taking that basic data and adding some critical thinking to it can reveal new insights into the productivity and efficiency of your fleet. In this article, we’ll give you examples of how to better utilize your fleet for optimal productivity and efficiency.

1. Identifying Underutilized Pieces of Equipment 

Unheralded Equipment Features that Simplify Earthmoving

Horsepower is an excellent measure of a machine’s power. Every equipment manufacturer touts the design, comfort and visibility of its cab – and barrels of ink and digital space have been spent on Tier 4 engine information.

But what are some of the other features, specs and advances that are available on today’s machines that don’t get the same publicity as others, and serve to improve earthmoving applications for operators?

Top 5 Reasons to Own a Compact Wheel Loader

When deciding what new machine to add to their fleet, operators are faced with a variety of options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. With its fuel efficiency and durability, the compact wheel loader should be at the top of the list.

Compact wheel loaders are normally defined as smaller-sized wheel loaders with 80 horsepower or less. These machines generally range from 11,000 pounds to 14,000 pounds, with bucket capacities and dump heights that vary based on the manufacturer. A typical range of bucket capacity is anywhere from .9 cubic yards to 1.7 cubic yards. Dump heights usually range anywhere from 7 feet up to 9 feet.

Anatomy of a Railroad Backhoe

Backhoes are built for earthwork – unless you’re in the railroad business. Backhoes are one of the most versatile tools railroad contractors have at their disposal – but it’s based largely on the material handling and the hydraulic capabilities offered by the machine. In an industry where access to the work area is a challenge, having a tool that serves as a platform for numerous applications is critical. Here are key specifications that railroad contractors look for in backhoes to provide as much versatility, durability and efficiency as possible.

Quick Coupler/Universal Coupler 

Tips for Keeping Your Equipment Running During the Hot, Hot Summer

Summertime means hotter temperatures, humidity, increased sun exposure and dry conditions. All of that, combined with a heavy summer workload, can result in a new set of maintenance and equipment challenges.

Increased heat and humidity forces components to work harder than normal and wear at a faster rate. Preventative maintenance and close monitoring of machines can help prevent breakdowns and costly repairs. In this article, we’ll list some tips for keeping your equipment up and running during the heat of summer.

The Equipment Walkaround

Equipment manufacturers talk a lot about advanced technology – and with good reason – but one of the most important actions an equipment owner or operator can take for the good of their machine requires very little technology at all: the pre- and post-operation walkaround. Equipment owners likely do this now, to an extent – but how consistently is it done?

Taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day to visually inspect the machine and its surroundings, and to clean off critical components from accumulated dirt/fluid, can identify issues with the machine that may require attention. It can tip the operator off to operating practices that can be altered to improve productivity and efficiency. And it creates a routine that gives the operator pride of ownership over that machine, its appearance, and how it works.

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