The tight tolerances of today’s machines mean even the smallest particles can cause big problems with internal wear and tear. Cleanliness really does pay, because it prevents unnecessary failures and increases uptime. Follow these tips to help control contamination around your shop and when working on equipment:
- Keep work areas neat and clean.
Dirty floors and cluttered work areas breed contamination. Sweep the floor at least once a day.
- Clean up spills promptly.
Use absorbent pads if possible since granular cleaning methods may pollute the air with contaminants.
- Cap or plug hoses properly.
Cutting hoses creates a significant amount of debris. After properly cleaning assembled hoses with a high-pressure device like a hose cleaner, seal the ends with correct-sized caps or plugs.
- Protect your parts.
Parts in storage are sitting targets for airborne contaminants. Keep parts in their original packaging until it’s time for installation.
- Check components before installation.
Installing dirty parts is a sure way to contaminate a system. Use filtered parts washers and proper methods to clean components.
- Store fluids properly.
Keep oil barrels inside and use tight-fitting covers to protect the barrel tops from dirt and moisture.
Watch this video with Caterpillar Preventive Maintenance Instructor, Jeff Payne, for more tips on proper bulk storage.
- Filter new fluids.
Even fluids fresh from the barrel can contain microscopic particles. Always filter new fluids before using to meet cleanliness targets.
- Protect machine openings.
Use covers, tape or plastic to seal openings and protect the inner workings.
- Use advanced high-efficiency filters.
Good filters are cheap insurance to keep fuels and other fluids clean.
- Protect “works in progress.”
When work is interrupted, cover components to keep them clean until work is resumed.
- Count particles.
Conduct regular fluid sampling and analysis to monitor the cleanliness of the fluids and record the results to track ongoing changes to the condition.
- Put someone in charge.
Make ongoing contamination control an assigned responsibility. Choose someone with authority, and hold that person accountable for results.
What did I miss? Do you take additional precautions to prevent fluid contamination? Please share your comments below.
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