Tag: best practices

The Art of Equipment Fuel Efficiency

Diesel costs are one of the heaviest line items in a contractor’s budget. Smart equipment use, maintenance and selection, however, can significantly reduce the amount of diesel fuel burned each day. This helps extend runtimes (greater productivity/less time refueling and acquiring fuel), reduce total operating costs and, ultimately, be more competitive when bidding jobs.

In this article, we’ll cover a few core principles that affect fuel efficiency throughout the life of a machine and how to get the most out of each gallon.

Lowering Wheel Loader TCO

When trying to manage the total cost of ownership of your wheel loader, there are several things you can do that will give you an edge on your bottom line—and your competition. Here are ten considerations that can help you lower your operating and ownership costs and increase your profitability.

  1. Right-sizing Equipment. Maybe more so than any other piece of heavy equipment, the size of the loader—and the bucket—can have a heavy impact on upstream and downstream operations. Production in an aggregate or concrete mixing plant can be reduced if a loader bucket isn’t large enough to keep the hopper full. Similarly, in a mass earthmoving application, if a wheel loader can’t keep up with the dozers pushing material to it, then those dozers will be forced to wait.It’s also important to remember that bigger isn’t always better. A wheel loader or bucket can be too large, depending on the application. An oversized machine may have to sit idle waiting to refill a hopper, or waiting for more material. Be sure to work with your CASE dealer and choose the right-sized machine for your application.
  2. Know Your Engine. Today’s Tier 4 Final wheel loaders are equipped with a variety of engine types and after-treatment technologies, and knowing the differences, as well as the impact that they can have on your operation, is essential in managing your ownership costs.CASE has adopted Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology for use in its F Series wheel loaders. SCR lowers harmful emissions through a simple chemical reaction by introducing Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) into the exhaust stream. These systems do not require any kind of regeneration, filter replacement or other maintenance practices found in other systems. SCR allows the engine to run at peak performance, which provides faster throttle response while also maintaining lower temperatures and delivering up to 20% better fuel efficiency over other solutions. It also helps the engine run at lower temperatures, which ultimately extends the service life of components that surround the engine as they are not subject to as much heat stress.It’s important to understand how your after-treatment system works, and how it can impact your productivity in different applications. For example, long warm-up periods in the cold months, as well as any excessive idle times can have a negative impact on the efficiency of SCR-equipped engines. Besides the obvious fuel costs associated with long idle times, this practice also makes SCR systems run less efficiently. Operators will experience higher DEF dosing rates and more frequent fill-ups, so we always suggest using the auto-idle or shutdown features to limit idle times and improve engine efficiency—this will lower your fuel and DEF costs over the life of the machine.
  3. Matching Axles to Operation 
    Pairing the wrong axle/tire configuration to a specific wheel loader application can cause increased wear to the tires, and can put the axles under unnecessarily excessive load.  Properly managing this lowers costs over time and prevents potential long-term damage to the axles.CASE offers three axle options designed to meet the unique requirements of nearly all applications—limited-slip, differential lock and open axle.Limited-slip
    CASE offers a standard limited-slip axle—both front and rear—on our 521F, 621F, 721F, and 821F wheel loaders.

End-of-Year Equipment Considerations

Work may slow down this time of year for contractors in northern climates, while others transition to seasonal work that keeps them busy throughout the winter. And if the ground isn’t frozen and the weather holds out, construction season is a year-round event.  

Regardless of climate, the end of the year and the holidays bring on a time of reflection and opportunity. Here are six tips and thoughts for contractors as they take stock of their equipment fleet going into 2016.

Winter is Coming: How to Properly Prepare Equipment for Winter

With the winter months quickly approaching, contractors and business owners have to start thinking about preparing their equipment for harsh winter weather conditions.

Whether working in the freezing temperatures or storing equipment for the season, companies need to ensure proper winter maintenance to avoid costly problems come spring.

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.

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.

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 

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.

Top 6 Reasons to Consider Remanufactured Parts

On the construction jobsite, equipment uptime and cost management are big priorities. In order to maintain these goals, remanufactured parts can provide owners what they need to keep their machines running smoothly and economically.

Remanufacturing is a process that starts with a worn component, known as a core, and restores it to “like new” condition in terms of performance and reliability. Each component is assembled to match OEM specifications, and then 100-percent tested to ensure it performs like new.

Four Business Considerations for Telematics

Though its only recently gained popularity in the last two to three years, telematics has been around much longer than people think. A web-based system that is compatible with all current computers and can be accessed from any standard device that’s used to access the web, telematics is simple and cost-effective.

The system provides owners and operators a handful of benefits that include equipment utilization, machine maintenance, equipment security, and billing and estimating. This article details just how contractors can use this technology to better manage equipment, boost profitability and improve how business gets done.

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