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Can You Really Get 30,000+ Operational Hours Out of a Scrap Logger/Baler?

Extending the lifespan of scrap equipment can be challenging due to its constant exposure to the elements and a variety of not-exactly-pristine materials. In addition, scrap logger/balers are capable of producing immense amounts of force, but incorrect materials or operation can be damaging to both the frame and the hydraulics, requiring expensive repairs. So, how in the world can any scrap yard expect to get 30,000+ operational hours out of their scrap logger/baler?

In short, they shouldn’t expect this. However, after analyzing Aljon customers that HAVE achieved this and the many more surpassing industry averages, we have been able to divise a few tips that can help to maximize the lifespan of these important investments.

The Right Machine

No matter how well a machine is made, if it’s the wrong tool for the job, you will always cause unnecessary wear and tear. For smaller, occasional jobs, it’s sometimes possible to get away with a less durable piece of equipment or one that isn’t perfectly suited for your business. Some owners are perfectly happy to crush scrap metal with an excavator once a year and haul it off to be processed. However, this kind of use doesn’t scale well and isn’t the safest option for operators and nearby workers. “Macgyvered” solutions are not usually the most efficient routes, especially for continual use. A dedicated scrap logger/baler of the right size can handle everything from cars to rebar, day in and day out for years on end.

Once you’ve identified the right machine for your operation, the next step is finding a great machine. Investigate long-term ownership costs like repair and maintenance, as well as the availability of manufacturer support. Some questions to ask a potential manufacturer include:

  • How long have they been in business? Are older machines still in use?
  • Do they keep replacement parts in stock and have a large onshore inventory?
  • Are they known for sturdy construction and good customer support?
  • Is there a large pool of knowledgeable mechanics who are happy to work on their machines?

Follow. The. Manual.

After you your new machine arrives at your scrap yard, it’s time for the most important step: reading the operations manual. This is necessary both for identifying maintenance needs and understanding how the equipment operates. The manual is the key to creating an effective maintenance schedule that will keep the machine running smoothly. It should include details about everything from how to protect seals and prevent leaks as well as how to clean high-use areas of the machine such as the pusher block and box.

Scrap logger/balers need regular lubrication to protect moving parts. But different areas of the equipment may need different viscosities depending on how much friction they encounter. This can also change with the environment – different temperatures and humidity levels can affect how well different greases perform. It can be tempting to bypass these specifics and just use large amounts of the heaviest grease available, but over-lubrication can cause its own set of problems, including buildup and the trapping of dirt or other contaminants.

Proper Operation

Scrap Logger/Balers are workhorses designed to take (and give) a beating. They don’t need to be babied like an expensive sports car, but they will last longer if they are treated with respect. Use them for their intended purpose with correct materials and for reasonable lengths of time to reduce the risk of stressing the machine unnecessarily. They may not need a full detailing, wax, and polish every week, but basic cleanliness goes a long way towards preventing particulates like dust and sand from infiltrating the system or corrosives like salt damaging the frame.

Operator Training

It may cost a little more to hire operators who are both experienced and willing to learn, but it will help maximize the life of your machine. Scrap logger/balers that are run by workers who pay attention to operation and maintenance needs are more likely to last longer.  So, consider prioritizing the hiring and training of committed operators who will regularly check equipment, schedule maintenance, and run the machines efficiently and effectively.

Most importantly, make sure that operations are organized to reduce the three main “overdoing” risks: overworking, overheating, or overloading the scrap logger/baler. The manual should explain what those limits are, and operators should be trained to stop when they notice any signs of getting close. Operators can also increase the longevity (and efficiency) of equipment by using optimum cycling or idling procedures, e.g. coordinating with the material handler so that cycles are only run when the box is full.

If all of this seems a little overwhelming, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to get every detail right for your scrap logger/baler to run effectively for years. But if you want to maximize the life of your scrap equipment, every little step towards care and maintenance will help you give your machines an edge when it comes to long-term productivity. Regular maintenance and thorough employee training will help you make sure your investments pay dividends for years to come.