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Maintaining your flooring fleet

Tom Griffin explains the importance of maintenance in avoiding unexpected equipment issues.

JUST like a car needs an annual MOT and service to keep it running efficiently, surface preparation equipment also requires regular maintenance. To keep machinery in good condition, reduce unexpected downtime and maximise return on investment (ROI), contractors can create their own equipment MOT.

When preparing a floor, contractors rely on surface preparation equipment to ensure they can complete the work quickly and efficiently. So, the last thing they want is to arrive on site and their machine is not working or that the equipment suddenly breaks down. These unexpected breakdowns can cause delays — particularly since operators may not always have spare equipment — meaning they might miss deadlines or potentially lose jobs as a result.

While this might appear daunting, it doesn’t need to be. Construction equipment might break down more regularly because job sites are often full of dust and debris that can affect surface preparation equipment, particularly if machines are left unattended between jobs. By scheduling regular cleaning and minor checks, both before and after projects and at different stages of a machine’s lifespan, you can ensure equipment is up to scratch when you really need it.

When maintaining your car, you may need to do some general checks and maintenance between MOTs, like checking tire pressure and oil levels — it’s the same with surface preparation equipment. Simply keeping equipment clean after each job will mean that dust, debris and sticky substances aren’t compromising the machine’s performance. Similarly, regularly checking for loose nuts and bolts can prevent larger issues in the future.

Different machines require different maintenance, so knowing your machine is crucial. Being familiar with your machine is important for spotting when things go wrong. For example, if you know how your equipment normally moves and sounds, the sooner you notice a change, no matter how subtle, the quicker you are able to address the issue.

Scraper maintenance
When scraping off existing floorcoverings in large sections, old material may pass the blade and enter the body of the machine. If it hits the hydraulic line that powers the machine, it can cause leaks. It is crucial to inspect the line weekly, tightening the valve if any leaks are detected.

You should also check the hydraulic fluid level during weekly checks. If you have seen any leaks during checks, look at the rest of the machine. Any sticky substances could build up around the blade, affecting the tool’s performance – so regular cleaning is essential.

Shot blaster maintenance
Blast wheels are a common wear component in shot blasters, so checking the wheel before and after each job ensures you can maintain and replace the wheel when needed, extending its lifespan. Misaligned or broken components can adversely impact a shot blaster’s performance. Conducting a thorough inspection of the machine before operation can help prevent potential issues during the process.

How do I do it?
It is a contractor’s responsibility to inspect machines for any maintenance requirements before commencing a job to ensure safe and effective operation. However, this does not mean they should personally perform maintenance unless they have the equipment and skills to do so.

National Flooring Equipment, for example, has a repair centre at its manufacturing plant in Minneapolis, so if a contractor cannot perform the maintenance themselves, they can get assistance. Its territory sales managers will also travel to customers to perform maintenance work and provide demonstrations, giving end users the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the machines and ask questions.

So take this as your reminder to put together some regular checks, ensure your machine is clean and schedule in a surface preparation equipment MOT to prevent breakdowns and unexpected costs at your next job.
Tom Griffin is major accounts manager at surface preparation expert National Flooring Equipmen

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