By Dean Hayes,
Territory Customer Support Manager,
John Deere

Condition-based maintenance (CBM) can help increase productivity, lower daily operating costs and extend the life of the machines in your logging fleet. Unlike periodic maintenance, where service occurs at scheduled intervals, CBM measures actual machine health to determine when servicing happens and what maintenance is required. A major advantage of CBM is the early identification of equipment problems and servicing equipment before failures can occur.

CBM can be a turnkey solution provided by your equipment  manufacturer through a machine health monitoring system or an owner/operator conducted strategy that focuses on proactive measures. An automated system such as JDLink, offered as one helpful component of Deere’s FleetCare program, provides regular reports about machine health that can be used to great advantage in a CBM program.

Complete Fluid Analysis
CBM uses fluid analysis to determine the condition and maintenance needs of each machine in a fleet. A complete fluid analysis includes the sampling of a machine’s lubricants and hydraulic system fluids. The fluids are filtered, and a trained technician performs a particle-count analysis to ascertain whether further inspection or service is re­quired.

A complete fluid analysis—performed by a trained technician—can detect the following issues that may require additional professional service:

High iron particle content. In large quantities, iron can damage bearings, oxidize oil and consume oil’s additives, all of which can shorten the life of the machine’s key components and impair productivity and uptime. To prevent iron buildup, it’s important to collect iron using magnetic filtration, which a technician may recommend for components such as axles.

High-level contamination may require supplemental filtration to clean up the system. A machine’s breathers and filters can block most particles, but some are still capable of passing through cylinder seals. These particles include microscopic ones as small as 5 microns, the size of a single red blood cell. If left unfiltered, they can shorten the life of pumps and motors. Supplemental filtration can be performed with an on-site filtration caddy. The caddy can clean fluids quickly while other machine services are performed.

Preventing Contamination
With either CBM or periodic maintenance, preventing contamination is usually simpler and less expensive than correcting it. Fluids can become contaminated in many ways. Particles from the outside can enter the system during fueling or regular maintenance. Here are several simple ways to help prevent fluid contamination during servicing—regardless of who is providing the service:

  •  Wash the machine before working on it.
  •  Use only clean rags and tools.
  •  Place parts on clean surfaces only.
  •  Keep hands clean while working on components.
  •  Cap any hoses that are not connected to a machine.
  •  Cover any buckets or drums of equipment-related fluids so they do not become contaminated with debris.
  •  Use clean buckets and storage containers for fluids used on equipment.

Machine systems can also become contaminated with rust from water condensation, chemical reactions from heat, air and water, and from mixing lubricants. Mixing lubricants can also accelerate component wear, shorten component life and dramatically increase operating costs. The simplest solution is not to mix oils. If you are unsure what lubricant to use, check your owner’s manual or contact your dealer to find out.