Best Practices for Winter Excavator Maintenance

winter excavator maintenance, excavator maintenanceCold weather can be hard on construction equipment, much the same way it's hard on a car. Equipment malfunction can cause serious delays and downtime. Follow these winter excavator maintenance tips to minimize the risk of equipment failure at the most inopportune moment.

1. Apply Oil and Lubricant

Check the oil dipstick just as you would on a civilian vehicle; the process is more or less the same. As a rule of thumb, if the oil is fluid enough to drip from the dipstick, then it's good to go. We perform oil checks on all of our excavators before renting them out, and we top them off if necessary.

2. Inspect Hydraulic Hoses

Hydraulic hoses last for about 7,000 to 9,000 hours of use. However, frigid temperatures can degrade the rubber tubing, making it brittle and stiff. Hot hydraulic oil running through the tube's interior can cause further stress. Check for cracks and brittleness before operation. Continue Reading â†'

Pay Attention to the Excavator’s Bucket Capacity

excavator bucket capacity, excavator bucket weight limitA bucket is a common excavator attachment. Buckets, however, have a weight limit. Scooping up more debris than the bucket can handle can place undue stress on the excavator. This is also a dangerous practice. Be mindful of the excavator bucket capacity's limits.

Safe Excavator Bucket Handling Practices

Whether you own or rent the bucket attachment, know its weight limit before use. Exceeding weight limits increases the risk that the excavator will tip over. This can cause serious injury to the operator and surrounding crew. At the least, it can temporarily render the excavator inoperable, leading to increased downtime.

In addition, you need to know the excavator bucket's weight limit at different points of the boom's working range. The bucket's manufacturer should have a lift chart that you can look up in a manual or online. The manual may come with illustrations depicting weight limits at different points in the lifting arc. The weight capacity also changes when swinging the cab. Larger excavators have greater capacity in this regard due to the counterweight in the cab's rear. Continue Reading â†'

Construction Equipment Rental: A Cost Comparison Guide

about usFor new contractors, one of the biggest decisions you need to make is whether to buy or rent equipment. Both have their respective pros and cons. Let's take a look at some of the financial advantages of construction equipment rental. More often than not, you'll save money with a rental.

The Cost Savings of Excavator Rental

The average excavator costs between $100,000 and $200,000, though some customized options can run the cost as high as $500,000. With buying also comes other costs, such as insurance, license fees, repairs, storage, etc.

Renting an excavator costs an average $3,433 for a four-week rental period.

Other Construction Equipment Rental Costs

Here are the buying/renting comparisons of other similar construction vehicles. All rental prices are for a four-week period.

  • Scissor lift--to buy: $22,000; to rent: $399
  • Skidloader--to buy: $20,000-$30,000; to rent: $2,367
  • Forklift--to buy: $11,000-$13,000; to rent: $1,640

Other Cost Considerations

Buying equipment involves a lot of overhead costs. Here are some of those costs as compiled by the construction equipment site Equipment World. The figures are very rough estimates.

  • Heavy equipment use consumes 12.5 gallons of gasoline per hour.
  • An average piece of equipment incurs $4 in maintenance cost per operating hour. Excavators and similar equipment have an average 12,000 to 15,000-hour lifespan.
  • Insurance costs about 2% of the vehicle's purchasing price every year.

In addition, failure to maintain your equipment can result in the need for emergency maintenance or new parts orders. This leads to an annual 400 to 800 hours of idle time per unit. The end result is a $1,560 to $3,120 loss from downtime.

Save Money with Construction Equipment Rental

Save on ownership costs by renting an excavator and associated breakers from Active Excavator Rentals. Learn about us and what we carry in our inventory. Construction equipment rental is the more economical solution for many beginning and veteran contractors in Monroe.

Affordable Excavator Rental and Attachments

Serving Monroe, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellingham, Bothell, Burlington, Mt. Vernon, Stanwood, Sedro-Woolley,  Marysville, Granite Falls, Everett, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Snohomish, Lynnwood, Woodinville, Mountlake Terrace, Mill  Creek, Shoreline, Seattle, Redmond, Woodinville, Bellevue, Sammamish, Issaquah, Renton, Kent, Des Moines, Fife, Tacoma, Milton, Puyallup, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Covington, Maple Valley, Burien, Tukwila, Olympia, Lakewood, Lacey, Kenmore

Best Practices for Excavator Trailer Safety

excavator trailer safety, trailer safety tipsYou may have to tow an excavator from one construction site to another. An excavator on a trailer poses road challenges for the transport driver. Excavator trailer safety is critical considering the immense weight of the freight. Here are some tips for safe transportation.

Excavator Trailer Safety Tips

The most critical step is ensuring that the excavator is secured to the trailer. The chains and other fasteners you use must be approved by OSHA. Riggers must also secure all chains against the tow bar. Speaking of the tow bar, you need to be sure it has a rating sufficient to accommodate the excavator's weight. Underweight tow bars are at risk of detaching while the trailer is in transit. Continue Reading â†'

How to Keep a Clean Construction Site

clean construction site, construction site safetyA construction site is by nature very messy. However, crew members do need to keep the workplace tidy to a reasonable extent. This maximizes safety when working with excavators, other heavy machinery, and spoil piles. Learn how to maintain a safe and clean construction site.

Use Secure Storage

You may have to leave equipment at the construction site overnight. To prevent theft and vandalism, keep smaller equipment locked inside storage containers. Even during construction, keep the equipment inside the storage until you need it.

Separate the Scraps

Construction sites contain tons of waste that you have to dispose of at the end of the shift. Different waste products call for different disposal methods. Separating scraps and waste according to type will facilitate easy disposal and recycling. Construction sites should also have both dumpsters and trashcans nearby to minimize clutter. Continue Reading â†'

How to Prevent Heatstroke in the Construction Workplace

prevent heatstroke, heatstroke preventionExcavation projects tend to increase in the summer. For workers, this means longer hours outdoors under the blazing sun. This poses a health hazard. We'll explain how construction crews can prevent heatstroke or other heat-related injuries during the hottest time of the year. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Recognize Signs of Heat Injuries

Learn to recognize early signs of heat cramps in yourself and your fellow workers. Do you see heat rashes? These appear as clusters of small blisters. Initial signs of heat injury may also include leg and stomach cramps.

These could be signs of electrolyte loss due to sweating. We recommend scheduling regular rest breaks where everyone drinks water and rests in the shade. Continue Reading â†'

Finding Bones at an Excavation Site; What Do You Do?

excavation site bonesYou never know what you might come across when excavating the earth. You may have heard stories of construction crew that discovered mummified remains or dinosaur fossils. What do you do if you find bones at an excavation site?

Bones Found at Excavation Site; What's Next?

Digging holes using an excavator is routine business for contractors. 99% of the time, the job is uneventful and goes as planned. However, a rare instance may occur when you discover old fossilized remnants. Do you keep digging, or do you alert city officials?

Halt all Activity

Do not continue to dig. This isn't a courtesy thing; state law actually requires construction crews to halt all activity upon discovery of bones. Do not disturb the remains or attempt to dig them out if they're still in the earth.

Report the Discovery

Notify the client/landowner immediately. Can you identify the nature of the remains? Is it human or animal? If the former, then you obviously need to phone the police or the local coroner's office. The area could potentially be a crime scene. If it's an animal, then alert the local university or state geological office. The bones may simply be a buried pet or remains that warrant analysis by a paleontologist. Continue Reading â†'

Spoil-Pile Placement and Safety

spoil pileCave-ins are one of the biggest dangers--and leading causes of accidents--in the construction industry. Your spoil-pile can be a contributor to such dangerous accidents. Are you placing your spoil-pile a safe distance from the work site?

Spoil-Pile Explained

'Spoil-pile' is a broad term that refers to a deposit of any excavated material. In most cases, this entails dirt, soil, gravel, and crushed pavement. The pile itself isn't dangerous. However, when someone leaves the pile exceptionally close to a trench, that's when the danger arises. The weight of the spoils can cause the dirt in a nearby trench to cave in. Piles that are exceptionally high can also come tumbling down, causing a mini avalanche. Continue Reading â†'

Excavator Safety Checklist—Safety Protocols Before Commencing a Construction Project

excavator safety checklistSafety protocols absolutely must be in place before operating heavy machinery--no exceptions! Aside from adopting OSHA safety practices and appointing a safety guide, you also need to service your equipment. To ensure good operating condition, do not start any machinery until you go through this excavator safety checklist.

Pre-Operation Excavator Safety Checklist

  • Inspect the construction site to be sure you have enough navigating space for the excavator. The required space will vary depending on whether you're using a zero swing or conventional swing excavator.
  • Verify that the safety clip and locking pins are in place before starting the excavator.
  • Test the boom arm as well as the breaker and hoe pack. Look for excessive upward or downward movement in the arm. You should also listen for unusual squeaky noises.
  • Check the undercarriage for wear and tear in the rollers, track links, idler wheels, and sprockets.
  • Pop open the engine bay and inspect the oil dipstick. Do this every four hours of operation.

Continue Reading â†'

Excavator Attachments at a Glance (Part 2)

excavator attachmentsIf you haven't already done so, please read February's post for part one list of excavator attachments. This is part two which introduces additional attachments. With part one and part two, you will have a full list of the attachments at your disposal.

Common Excavator Attachments

Plate Compactor: This attachment does exactly what its name suggests. Plate compactors compact the soil and earth, eliminating the need to compact by hand. The addition of shock mounts helps distribute the force evenly even when compacting on a slope surface.

Rippers: A ripper is an attachment that rips through tough, compact, and frozen surfaces. It does this with tremendous ripping power and rugged force not possible from manual human labor alone. Operators often use rippers to loosen the ground before removing the debris with a bucket attachment.

Trenchers: Use a trencher attachment for creating trenches in even the most compact and rocky soils. Different chain and teeth options are available to accommodate various soil conditions. Trenchers are ideal for landscaping, irrigation, and utility-based projects. Continue Reading â†'