Material transfer vehicles can deal with multiple hot mix asphalt batches each day. Astec Australia explains why maintenance checks are needed to ensure machines achieve optimum performance.
In a stretch spanning 14 additional kilometres, the $232 million Tonkin Highway is a critical road project.
With hundreds of workers applying their expertise to the task, ensuring downtime is kept to a minimum is crucial to meeting set project timelines.
As one of the primary vehicles facilitating asphalt delivery, material transfer vehicles (MTVs) support high production projects and as a result, lower downtime.
For example, Main Roads WA’s Engineering Road Note 11, Material Transfer Vehicles for Asphalt, explains MTVs are suited to high daily production outputs of asphalt like the widening of the Tonkin. Additionally, the document states long paving runs, adverse weather conditions and paving thin layers of asphalt with a polymer modified binder may also give rise to the use of an MTV.
By facilitating continuous paving, MTVs reduce the likelihood of mix segregation near the end of a truckload, resulting in a more uniform compaction and less frequency of segregated areas of asphalt.
But an equally important factor to lowering downtime is correct cleaning and regular maintenance of MTVs. This fundamental process has a direct relationship to a machine’s wear life and can support its extension.
This is where Astec, a leader in the supply and maintenance of these machines, is well placed to offer its expertise.
Kyle Neisen, Roadtec Product Manager for Pavers and MTVs, says on many sites, MTVs are required as a specification.
“In the event of a malfunction or error, all paving must stop until the machine is available again. Therefore, when an MTV is down it can be costly in terms of money, time and peoplepower.”
A properly maintained machine not only reduces operating costs but performing proper and regular maintenance helps to prevent downtime for the entire crew.
“Cleaning is one part of maintenance that can dramatically increase life of wear parts by preventing some issues such as material build-up,” Mr. Neisen says.
Parts susceptible to wear on an MTV include bearings, sprockets, augers, chains and conveyor floor liners.
When a sprocket is worn or cupped, it can cause damage to chain rollers and this is easily visible. Mr. Neisen says replacing a chain is much more expensive and time consuming than replacing a sprocket.
“That’s why is it so important to perform sprocket inspections daily to avoid downtime where possible,” he says.
Mr. Neisen says proper maintenance and replacing of sprockets will increase the life of the chain rollers and the entire chain.
Mr. Neisen says preventative maintenance should be performed daily, on the jobsite, in order to prevent project delays.
Daily maintenance includes a number of simple checks and procedures. Mr. Neisen says this can only take minutes once a crew has learnt the processes and is in the habit of performing the tasks.
“It’s quick and easy and the payoff in terms of productivity is exponential. This way contractors shouldn’t need to bring a machine into the shop for service until a regular service interval,” Mr. Neisen says.
Mr. Neisen says with each 250-service interval, engine oil changes and other long-term maintenance procedures can be best performed in a maintenance facility.
He says contractors should also check chain tension at least every 50 hours of operation and preferably at the end of every shift.
“If the chain tension is too loose, which is more common, there will be excess wear on the slats and floor plates. If the tension is too tight, the sprockets and chain links will wear quicker,” he says.
In addition, Mr. Neisen says all excess material should be removed from MTVs wherever possible during operation.
“A clean should be performed every time the machine is stopped and has the chance to cool down, not just at the end of the day. When the material cools down, it may get stuck in the hopper,” Mr. Neisen says.
Astec Australia recommends the best way to clean a conveyor is to leave it running for 10 minutes in order to let any loose material out.
From there, the company suggests spraying solvent, focusing on the sprockets and chain links, while ensuring there is coverage to all parts susceptible to wear and build-up.
It is important to spray a release solvent before works start as this can help to prevent build up.
The release solvent should also be sprayed at the end of the shift to assist in clean up. Astec spray release systems are designed to be used with a water-based environmental release agent.
Following this, Mr. Neisen says operators should turn off the conveyors and open the cleanout doors. This way, the hot mix asphalt can be removed from the dump hopper and each of the conveyor’s cleanout doors.
The conveyors can then be cycled to extricate any newly loosened material before the cleanout doors are closed and any final material that may have spilled out is cleaned up.
“Operators can increase the efficacy of the machine simply by following these best practice processes,” Mr. Neisen says.
For more information about Astec Australia equipment contact Jorge Boil, National Sales Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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