The lockdowns and stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic have affected all industries across the world which saw many businesses shutting down their material handling systems and machinery for extended periods of time. During such times of no operation, your equipment might get a little rusty and give some problems on starting up when you resume operations. Thus, it is important taking care of your material handling equipment during the shutdown. Let us find out how you can do that.
This information could also be helpful for businesses who keep their operations shut down during the holidays. Many factories implement a ‘holiday shutdown’ or ‘factory fortnight’—a scheduled break wherein an organization closes a production facility for a limited amount of time for activities like machinery upgrades, preventive maintenance and process improvement.
Lubricate the Equipment
Applying the proper kind of lubricant to all points of your equipment on a regular basis reduces wear and prevents rust and corrosion. This is true while they are not under operation as well. When the key parts of the machine are not in used for some time, their lubricants may dry out. Greasing is an essential part of maintaining your machinery and prolonging its life span as 40 to 50 percent of all bearing failures occur because of improper lubrication.
Keep the Equipment Clean
Protecting your equipment and its parts from dirt and dust is important in keeping it in a good condition. During times of shutdown, you should get your equipment and the areas around it cleaned regularly. Excessive build-up of dust, moisture and other contaminants can cause damage to the machinery and its parts. Moreover, keeping your equipment clear of dirt, dust, debris and workplace clutter will make it easier to spot potential issues. If your equipment is being stored in a dusty environment, cover it with a fabric dust sheet that will protect the components from dust without causing condensation to build.
Move your Trucks Regularly
You should give your material handling equipment a run every once in a while. This is true especially for your industrial trucks and forklifts. When a solid-wheeled truck is standing still for a long time, there is a chance that the wheels will develop flat spots due to the weight of the truck, which affects the truck’s performance once it starts operating again. It is a good idea to move the truck every once in a while so that different part of the wheels are in contact with the floor. This will prevent them from developing flat spots, and the truck can work as normal once your business starts up again.
Perform a Check before Starting up Again
When you resume operation after the shutdown, it is important to perform a check of all the equipment to ensure if everything is working fine. Ensure if all buttons and gauges are functioning correctly, check the fluid levels, tighten the bolts and inspect the filters, hoses, and fittings.
These are the ways you can take care of your material handling system during the shutdown to ensure it functions smoothly once you resume the operations again.