Equipment Category

Equipment Winterization

Arrow Material Handling Winterize Post

Happy New Year and welcome back to the Arrow MHP blog!

As a true dealer partner, we strive to add value to your daily operation, in addition to engineering quality products for your customers.

This month we want to share useful information about Equipment Winterization that you can use to add value to your customers.

What Does That Even Mean?

Winterization, in layman’s terms, means to prepare equipment for harsh winter temperatures and elements. Whether or not the equipment is being used during the coldest winter months, there are steps that should be taken to protect and maintain the equipment during this time of year. This is important information for you to know and pass along to customers to avoid potential future machine issues.

What Does Winterization Consist Of?

As mentioned above, winterization is something that should be done for machines that are both in use and resting through the winter months. Altorfer provides a great list of tips to make sure equipment stays in peak form during the winter months. These tips include things most people would anticipate like filling with proper lubricants, checking fluid levels before each use, inspecting and inflating tires, storing indoors away from freezing temperatures and precipitation and keeping batteries charged and in warm conditions.

Other tips that may be less obvious that can also be helpful may need a little more explaining, so we will break those down below:

Condition hydraulic hoses

Hoses can strain and crack in cold conditions, so it is important to condition the hoses before each use. This means running the motor to raise the hydraulic oil temperature and keeping the machine running for at least 60 minutes. Using special arctic hydraulic oil can also help performance during cold conditions.

Inspect the engine, body and undercarriage

Perform a visual inspection before each use to make sure all parts inside the engine are clean and free of wear and cracks. If any wear is found, those parts should be replaced before use. It is also a good idea to have a mechanic inspect the machine before winter to ensure optimal performance.

Refill fuel tank after each use

Refilling the fuel tank after each use can prevent the tank from freezing overnight. Cleaning and draining the water separator will also help protect the fuel tank from dirt and other debris.

Safety in Winter Conditions

We are always concerned with safety and how we can help our dealers and their customers promote safer conditions. The winter has adverse effects on certain pieces of equipment and the safe operation of those machines. For example, forklifts can face a 25-50% decrease in cycle times in cold weather. This can lead to an inability to perform tasks that are usually easy. This can also slow down reaction times for the machine. This is something to keep in mind when selling forklifts during winter months and when customers are having machine issues during winter months. Some of the tips above would help them get closer to normal effectiveness.

Protecting people should also be a big priority in these conditions and Equipment World provides some things to remember in extreme conditions:

  • Be more careful when entering and exiting machines. Surfaces can get slippery and cause falls leading to injury.
  • Keep job site clean and organized to eliminate accidents and damage. In lower visibility and precipitous conditions, it is more imperative to be proactive.
  • Use insulated gloves to touch the metal surfaces of the machine. Some of the surfaces can get so cold as to cause instant skin damage upon touching with bare skin. Additionally, The Forklift Pro reminds operators that tight fitting and high visibility clothing is still the recommendation. It is imperative to uphold these standards in cold weather to protect from injuries that can be caused by wearing bulky, loose-fitting clothes.

Having your customers follow these steps should help their equipment (or your equipment if you are renting to customers) work more consistently in colder temperatures and help prevent downtime due to unexpected maintenance and accidents. As a bonus, providing useful tools and insight can strengthen your relationships with customers and help build trust. We hope you were able to take valuable information from this blog to pass along to your customers. Are these tips you already knew? Any tips you would add for fellow readers? Let us know in the comments!

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