Industrial hardware goes through a lot of wear and tear. This equipment is used for extremely heavy-duty applications and is knocked around, reused over and over again, and exposed to the elements.
However, worn-down equipment can be quite dangerous and increase the risk of accidents and injuries on job sites. Sadly, the number of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry has grown by 5% since 2007. Many of these accidents are caused by equipment that malfunctions, which could be caused by overuse.
Industrial hardware is also expensive to replace over and over again. Many construction companies are already stretching their budgets to the max to keep the overall project cost as low as possible. Constantly purchasing new equipment drives up the cost tremendously.
One way to manage both of these issues is to prolong the use of industrial hardware through maintenance and upkeep. Some very simple steps can make a huge difference in the performance of your hardware equipment and make it last far longer.
1. Set Up Scheduled Inspections
All construction sites are required to have inspections with heavy lifting equipment and machinery before each use. This helps them to catch any signs of wear or damage so parts can be fixed or replaced before they are used. To extend the life of your industrial hardware, all pieces of equipment should be routinely inspected, too.
Catching small issues early can help you avoid expensive repairs or unplanned replacements down the road. Make sure that your equipment gets inspected regularly to look for signs of damage, including rust, dents, or scratches.
Some specific parts of industrial hardware can be replaced if they are damaged. For instance, if just a few of the links in an industrial chain are rusted or warped, they can be removed and replaced with forged steel missing link parts. This is an easy quick-fix that is far less expensive than a full chain replacement.
All industrial hardware should be doubled-checked before use. This could be as simple as retightening screws, realigning links, and so on, make sure that the equipment is being used correctly.
2. Lubricate and Clean Hardware
Since most industrial hardware is used in fairly rough environments, they get dirty and dried out quite quickly. Dust, dirt, and sawdust can build up and cause major issues, while water and moisture from the air can cause corrosion and rust.
All industrial hardware that is left outdoor or in environments where it will get dirty should be gently cleaned before use. Generally, it is best to wipe away debris with a dry cloth so the metal does not rust.
Any pieces left out in the rain or near water should be dried before use, too. It is important to always choose industrial hardware that is designed for specific weather conditions and environments, too. For instance, stainless steel is naturally resistant to corrosion and will not rust in water.
Some hardware pieces need lubrication to prevent the metal from drying out and cracking. Wire ropes and strands generally come lubricated but may require additional applications after continuous use.
3. Teach and Enforce Correct Handling
Using equipment incorrectly is one of the fastest ways to wear down equipment. One of the biggest issues that leads to industrial hardware breakdown is improper storage. Although the materials used in this hardware are quite sturdy, some types of steel will wear down if they are not stored or handled correctly.
For instance, wire ropes are easily kinked or bent out of shape if they are not wound up the right way when stored. This can cause the strands to separate, creating a “bird-caging” effect. Some of the smaller wires may also snap and fray or the core may protrude out from the rope itself.
Shackles can also be damaged if they are not used correctly. The body and pin may crack, twist, bend or stretch if it is used with too heavy of a load. If the wrong pin size or style is used, it will place more friction and weight on the shackle, causing it to misshape.
All workers must receive training on how to correctly use and put away all industrial equipment. Leaders also need to enforce proper handling.
4. Start with Great Quality Hardware
As with anything, you tend to get what you pay for. You will have to replace industrial hardware more often if you are buying ones made from cheap materials. Some industrial hardware suppliers will cut corners by using lower-quality steel to lower their costs. However, this makes the equipment far less durable and strong.
Instead, it is best to invest in top-quality parts made from alloy, stainless, or galvanized steel in the appropriate grade rating for your application. Stainless steel tends to be the strongest and most durable, however, it is not the best for every single application. Be sure to research and which grade and finish are ideal for the intended project.
Over to You
Prolonging the life of your industrial hardware keeps your job site far safer and it can reduce overall project costs. Enforcing proper handling and storage of all equipment and keeping items cleaned and lubricated can make a big difference. However, the best way to ensure that your equipment lasts is to purchase from a great industrial hardware supplier.
Elite Sales is proud to carry only the highest-quality equipment for industrial use. Please contact our team to learn more about our inventory and place an order today.