Maintenance of agricultural machinery is vital for the success and stability of any agricultural venture. It guarantees the operations will be safe and that the necessary equipment and machinery for these operations remain available. Since maintenance is a high cost for agricultural operations, efforts are made to decrease expenditures spend on maintenance whilst also ensuring safety. How is this done? Purchasers invest in repair staff workshops and skills to equip them with the necessary skills in preventive maintenance. What is preventative maintenance?
Preventive maintenance is an umbrella term used to define a set of activities that aim to improve a system’s availability and reliability. This method generally includes inspection, lubrication, cleaning, alignment, adjustment, and the replacement of worn-out subcomponents and subsystems. Preventive maintenance activities are one of two things: component maintenance (CM) or component replacement (CP).
Strategies are employed so that only minimum resources would be required to check the machinery’s optimal performance. These strategies are done through maintenance activities to ensure that each system or component functions as intended based on its design and purpose. It safeguards the system’s reliability and provides the recovery of the parts of the machinery from breakdown.
Maintenance could either be preventive or corrective. Corrective, unscheduled, or failure-based maintenance is utilized when a failure occurs in any of the machinery’s components or when the machinery stops working. This results in unscheduled downtime and immediate replacement of parts; it is also costly, and therefore must be avoided.
On the other hand, preventive maintenance (PM) avoids this by repairing and replacing components even before they fail. This type of maintenance is of two kinds: periodic and condition-based. Periodic maintenance is scheduled in intervals, either after a certain number of operating hours or after a specified number of operating cycles, both of which are based on the machinery’s manufacturers’ recommendations. Condition-based maintenance (CBM), on the other hand, aims to lessen system failure and breakdown using both people skills and technology. This process involves the processing and analysis of data obtained, which would determine the most optimal maintenance action to be done.
Monitoring of the condition of machinery
Since agricultural machinery is used in various conditions depending on factors such as moisture, crop type, temperature, and field characteristics, changes in conditions (based on time and place) may progress to machine failure if not adequately monitored. While most machinery is designed to adapt to changes, these changes may pose problems in some parts of the machinery. Thus, while the machinery is still operational, actions are planned to prevent failure or damage in the agricultural machinery’s system or components. These conditions include the following:
Temperature. Changes in the machinery’s temperature may be indicative of problems such as poor electrical conditions, excessive mechanical friction, and problems in heat transfer.
Dynamic. The energy emitted in forms of vibration, pulses, or acoustics should be monitored and analyzed. Changes in measurement may be indicative of damage or wear imbalance or misalignment.
Corrosion. The material’s extent, rate, and state of corrosion must be monitored and observed, especially on corrosion areas in tillage tools.
Electrical condition. Monitoring changes in system properties such as conduction, potential, and resistance is essential. These are useful in detecting problems such as electrical insulation deterioration.
Performance. Changes in variables such as capacity, electrical power components, structural changes, flow rate, temperature, and pressure are essential gauges in the machinery’s status and the early detection of impending failure.
A diagnostic action must be run as soon as a potential failure is detected. Machine fault diagnostics usually employ artificial intelligence (use of technology), statistical methods (done through data analysis and without a physical inspection of the machine), and conditioning monitoring intervals use of periodic monitoring compared to continuous monitoring).
Machine breakdown affects productivity and halts the entire operations. Thus, prevention is done proactively through monitoring and routine maintenance and repair, which is why owners must invest in the technical facilities and in the skills training of repair staff, which, in the final analysis, is a lot less expensive than replacement of parts and untimely downtimes.