Save Money by Maintaining Your Digger Derrick!

It is very disappointing when a business encounters any type of digger derrick problems, especially if there is a rush to timely finish a job. This can be avoided if regularly schedule preventive maintenance is set up with a scheduled program. Proper inspections and early repairs can help avert this kind of scenario. Regular upkeep could lessen equipment down time, reduce wear-and-tear, detect potential mechanical problems, prevent unnecessary failures that affect productivity, and decrease repair costs, eventually saving both time and money for a business.

Preventive Maintenance

Many years ago, digger derrick trucks were simple machines, inexpensive to purchase and easy to repair. The rapid technological advances in commercial vehicles have made them more complex and more expensive, requiring more attention in terms of proper care. An adequate preventive maintenance program can optimize the use of the vehicle and enhance its potential to take the productivity of a company to an increased level. Included below are some of the benefits of such a program:

  • Strengthen Profits – Increased profit generation
  • Eliminate Failures – Curtailed and eliminated machine failures
  • Improve Operation – Enhanced performance of the equipment
  • Decrease Repairs – Reduced need for repairs
  • Lower Overtime – Decreased overtime to cover the production losses due to a truck’s down time
  • Step-up Safety – Increased safety
  • Advance Quality – Improved machine quality
  • Reduce Up-keep Costs – Decreased overall maintenance costs

Maintenance Compliance

Periodic maintenance is usually done to decrease machine failure and reduce long-term equipment costs. These expenses may include: interrupted work schedules; idled workers; loss of productive output; and damaged equipment. Any interruptions due to the breakdown of these vehicles may significantly affect productivity levels. Therefore, it is wise for a company to institute a scheduled preventive maintenance program.

General Inspection

Inspecting the engine regularly can ensure that it is working properly. The engine usually determines the overall mechanical status of the trucks since the engine is considered to be the heart of the vehicle. It is also imperative to check the transmission, brakes, oil, tires, hydraulic hoses, boom arm, engine fluid, coolants, and suspension unit of the device regularly.

To manage safety and decrease expenses incurred because of necessary repairs, it is important to have an expert mechanic inspect the vehicles as certain parts cannot be diagnosed just by looking at them. Having the assistance of a qualified mechanic who can diagnose and inspect the components of the vehicle will help to ensure that all systems are functional.

D.O.T. Requirements

These trucks should always conform to the maintenance requirements of the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.), of which there are two: roadside and annual. Compliance with these requirements will help to safeguard the equipment, the driver, and the owning company’s reputation as well as help in the management of overall business operating costs.

When a digger derrick encounters mechanical problems, it is necessary that it be promptly checked and any necessary repairs performed. By taking care of small issues immediately, future breakdowns may be prevented and repair costs can be minimized. Accordingly, regular maintenance and early detection of any mechanical deterioration is very important. By simply initiating a scheduled upkeep program with the help of a knowledgeable mechanic, time, energy and money can indeed be saved!

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Diesel Theft Prevention: Statistics and Methods

Diesel fuel theft has risen in the past decade in direct correlation with the price of oil. Growing energy demand in emerging markets such as India, China, Russia and Brazil and the volatile supply chain disruptions due to disaster and civic unrest in oil-producing nations will continue to cause fuel prices to rise, creating a lucrative market for black market fuel. This has led, since the financial crisis of 2008, to a situation where diesel theft is beginning to be a huge factor in the risk-management of a logistics company.

The current turmoil in Libya is a good example of how volatile fuel prices are. In December 2010, before the civil war, the country was producing an average of 1.6 million barrels per day. During February, as the revolt caught steam, production fell almost baseline to 400,000 barrels a day and Gaddafi was legally unable to export. According to the Economist, this only decreased global oil production by a mere 1%, while the price of oil sharply inflated 15% to 120 dollars a barrel. While interesting in its own right, this study of price suggests that demand for oil will continually increase while the volatility of production causes oil prices to erratically jump. When these prices increase, fuel, petrol, oil and diesel have all begun to draw significant attention from criminal agencies and enterprising scammers.

Further illustrating the correlation between diesel prices and diesel theft has come through TruckPol, a United Kingdom-wide freight crime intelligence agency. They have begun releasing a report each quarter showing reported fuel theft statistics for hauliers. Their analysis of crime data undoubtedly states that diesel theft has risen. From only the period of January 2011 to March 2011 the incidence of fuel theft increased 18 percent. This trend is can be correlated with the overall rise of diesel prices in the UK. According to the Freight Transport Association, the cost of diesel throughout the UK has risen from 105,11 pence a liter (6. January, 2011) to 112,7 pence (23. March, 2011), an increase of over 7 percent.

These statistics only illustrate the invasive robbery of siphoning fuel, the true statistic would be much higher as diesel theft usually occurs as a scam involving employees “skimming excess” with increasingly ingenious methods. One interesting method reported by The Times of India illustrates a scam whereby workers loosened the nuts on the fuel valves connected to the tanks during the journey of passenger and freight trains and let the fuel slowly leak out into plastic bottles. Or on a much more heinous level, US military contractors abusing an outdated ‘pen and paper’ accounting system selling diesel on the black market, costing the effort in Afghanistan hundreds of millions of dollars.

What can companies and governments do to stem the flow of fraud and theft from their vehicles and tanks?

The first step is to secure the vehicle. Place locking gas caps and anti-siphon security devices to protect against the less motivated thieves armed only with a siphon.

The second step is to park in secured areas. This is the most important to protect against invasive fuel theft. Thieves are much less likely to take the risk of being caught when the vehicle is surrounded by adequate lighting and security.

The third step is training your employees. They should know what is a safe place to park and how to react when a theft occurs. Most importantly against fuel fraud is to treat your employees with respect, pay them well, let them be part of a team and give incentives for good performance. An adequate list of anti-fuel theft techniques can be found from the website of Zurich insurance, which deals in risk-management for logistics companies.

While these methods are helpful, they are far from comprehensive. The most fail-proof method to protect your fleet is to actively monitor your diesel tanks through a telematics device. This works by integrating your vehicles running values and location into a secure database to be monitored by a fleet manager. When you have control over your fuel tanks, you can prevent when it occurs by receiving an alarm message that your fuel level is dropping. Furthermore, scamming by employees is easily recognizable by registering a time and location stamp each time the fuel level increases or decreases, objectively informing you of any incidences or discrepancies in fuel levels.

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Common Truck Maintenance Procedures

Part of successfully insuring your truck is making sure that you avoid accidents. Obviously, the reason you choose premium commercial truck insurance is so that you do not have to worry about getting out of a sticky situation when you do need it.

But there are precautions you can take that will help prevent an accident from ever happening, so that you will not have to deal with filling out forms, getting your truck repaired, having your claims checked, or recovering from an injury.

Here are some common truck maintenance procedures that will help relieve long-term stress.

1) Change the oil: Sometimes, the simplest things cause the most trouble. While every automobile requires its oil to be changed, it is often ignored. And commercial vehicles are pushed even harder than private ones, making this trivial task even more essential. A good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 2 to 3 thousand miles with high quality motor oil.

2) Rotate and replace tires: One of the most dangerous accidents occurs when large semi-trucks blow a tire and skid off the road. Without proper traction, it is difficult for the truck driver to control, and semis can cause a lot of damage to fellow drivers. Rotate tires every 3,000 miles, which will give the auto-mechanic an opportunity to check the brakes and brake pads as well. In addition, you can check the air pressure on a weekly basis to ensure it meets standards. When tread gets worn down, replace the tires before an accident happens.

3) Change the transmission fluid: When hauling a load, transmissions wear out faster than a normal car, nearly ½ the rate. Changing the transmission fluid and filter are an important procedure to prevent this from occurring. It is recommended that you change fluid every 25,000 miles, in order to prevent having to replace the entire transmission.

4) Check coolants: Commercial trucks run more frequently without stopping, making them overheat more regularly. Automatic transmissions require even more attentions. Check your coolants on a normal basis.

5) Do not rely on computers or scheduled maintenance: Modern truck have computers on-board that tell you when situations arise, fluids must be changed, and the engine needs to be checked. But don’t let a blinking light on your dashboard dictate when you perform truck maintenance. Also, some drivers wait for scheduled appointments with mechanics. This may let a problem sneak through the cracks, only to rear its ugly head at an unfortunate time. Don’t rely on schedules or computers, perform regular maintenance.

Commercial Truck Insurance

With these tips, hopefully you can take better care of your truck maintenance and prevent a major accident that may raise your cost for commercial truck insurance. Speak to your truck insurance provider for more details.

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