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Tech Forum – Are You Overlooking the Most Important Investment in Your Pipe Fusion Equipment?

Andy Niblett Rental Sales Director at ISCO Industries, Inc.- McElroy Fusion Machine Rental, Sales and Parts.

One of the most valuable investments you can make in your fleet of pipe fusion equipment is the one that reduces future expenses.

It’s been said that if you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, then you end up focusing on repairing.

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Being prepared means having a preventative maintenance plan and the supporting resources to reduce expenses and cut downtime caused by major repairs. In other words, invest in the care of your machine and you’ll save time and money down the road.

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A well-executed preventive maintenance plan reduces and prevents issues that could become costly in many ways if left unchecked. Repairing and correcting minor recurring issues will reduce overall downtime and lengthen the life span of the equipment. At the same time, well-maintained equipment will hold its value over time and is safer and more desirable to operate for technicians.

No one wants to spend a day with a piece of equipment that’s limping along or creating an unsafe situation. With a busy construction season approaching, properly maintained equipment means that you’ll be ready to deliver on your next HDPE pipe project with confidence. In fact, it could be the very thing that sets you apart from your competition.

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It is more likely than not that a company that minimizes or overlooks a preventative plan will fall short of production milestones. Maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated, but it must be considered while planning and executing a project. Some of the simplest items can be overlooked during peak season without a system in place.

Here are some common items that should be a part of every maintenance plan:

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  • Regularly clean equipment: A best practice is to clean your equipment at the end of the workday in preparation for the next shift.
  • Schedule regular maintenance intervals: Intervals should be based on both time and hours in operation.
  • Mobilize equipment with common replacement parts that can be changed onsite.
  • Avoid wet and extreme cold storage areas.
  • Follow proper procedures when lifting and transporting equipment.
  • Track field failures and use that data to drive maintenance program design.
  • Document and track repairs and services for each fusion machine.
  • Train operators on the proper use of equipment.
  • Utilize the equipment inspection checklist for each specific type of machine.
  • Maintain proper levels of parts and consumable items for the fleet.
  • Share information across the team of fusion technicians and mechanics.

Other critical components to a well-maintained fleet of fusion equipment are well-trained mechanics and dedicated workspaces for equipment. It’s important for mechanics to not only have general experience but also training specific to the manufacture of the equipment on which they are working.

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Fusion machine manufacturers and their partners have training programs that can get your team up to speed. Equipment models are constantly being improved upon, so training is an ongoing process.

Dedicated workspaces for maintenance and repair will also improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the work performed by mechanics. Having a well-thought-out workspace with the proper tools, parts and consumables can make a substantial impact over time.

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The acceptance and design of HDPE piping systems has grown significantly over the last decade. Industry leaders are dedicated to educating project owners and engineers about the leak-free advantages, 100-year design life, and total cost of ownership over the life cycle of an HDPE system. Not only are there more systems being installed, but many of these systems are also larger in diameter. This means more fusion machines and larger fusion machines will magnify the need to reduce expenses related to equipment failure and downtime.

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Whether your fleet of fusion equipment consists of two machines or two hundred, it is wise to protect the investment so that you can deliver quality work for your clients for years to come. Fusion machines will be on more jobsites and prove to be one of the most durable pieces of equipment in the field when the right training and maintenance plans are in place.

More times than not, the tools used to build a project have a significant impact on the bottom line and the adherence to a deadline. There is no doubt that the proactive and prepared approach to maintenance will deliver a positive return on your investment over time.

Andy Niblett is the rental sales director at ISCO Industries.

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See Discussion, Leave A Comment

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  • Candace Grimm
    October 10, 2022 12:37:50

    What kinds of brushes and chemical do you use to clean a McElroy fusion machine?