Equipment Attachment Maintenance - Extending The Life Of Your Attachments

21 September 2021

Just as investing in the right equipment for your business increases your competitiveness and capabilities and enhances your bottom line, so too does the right equipment attachments. Most items of civilconstructiondemolitionlandscaping and road equipment can be fitted with a range of Cat attachments, increasing each item’s versatility and maximising your investment in high-quality equipment that empowers your business to achieve more. However, these attachments need to be paired with the correct make and model, and they must also be attached, detached, maintained and stored correctly. 

Versatile Cat attachments 

The list of Cat attachments available is extensive and includes items that most Australian businesses will never need, like snow blowers, pushers and ploughs, that transform an otherwise single-purpose machine into a multi-purpose machine that supports a wide range of applications. The Cat attachment range includes:

  • Augers — A drilling attachment used to drill holes in a range of materials like dirt and gravel

  • Backhoe — Similar to a digging arm, but simpler, smaller and compatible with a range of machines

  • Blades — Generally fitted to dozers and loaders, and used for levelling and pushing material

  • Booms — Fitted to forklifts, skid steers and other machines to pick up tools and pallets

  • Brooms — Used for ground-clearing applications and available as angle, pickup and utility brooms 

  • Buckets — A range of material handling buckets for excavators, loaders and backhoes are available

  • Forks — Available for skid steers and other loaders, forks are used to lift containers and pallets

  • Hammers — Fitted to backhoes and skid steers to break up materials like rock and concrete

  • Mulchers — Widely employed in forestry and landscaping, mulchers clear thick vegetation

  • Stump grinders — Employed on a range of machines to grind and remove tree stumps

  • Tillers — Used for landscaping and agricultural projects, tillers turn over soil for planting

  • Trenchers — One of the most popular attachments, trenchers cut narrow, straight channels. 

The benefits of correctly maintained equipment attachments

Not only does correctly maintaining your equipment attachments maximise your investment in high-quality tools that enable your business to get more done, but there are also capability and safety considerations that can’t be overlooked. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that the attachments you fit to your heavy machinery like skid steers and compact loaders are compatible with that make and model, and also consider the size of the machine against the measurements of the tool you want to use. After all, you want to ensure the attachments you employ to get more done are designed to work with your machines and are the correct size and weight. The benefits of ensuring your equipment attachments are correctly maintained include: 

Poorly maintained attachments cost more to run

As equipment attachments are hydromechanical and run on auxiliary power from the engine of the machine, if they aren’t correctly maintained they may not function efficiently which means they can cost more to run. If you notice your machines are consuming more fuel than usual when using a particular attachment, this could be an indication that there’s an issue with the attachment. 

Poorly maintained attachments can pose a safety risk

As with any item of heavy machinery, equipment attachments can pose a safety risk when not correctly maintained. Whether a Cat hammer, auger, drill, grapple bucket, stump grinder or mulcher, equipment attachments are intended to break, drill or cut through tough material and, as such, can pose a significant safety hazard to operators and workers on site if they become damaged or aren’t working correctly. 

Correctly maintained equipment gets more work done 

One of the top reasons why businesses invest in high-quality Cat attachments is because it empowers their operators to get more work done which maximises their bottom line. However, as poorly-maintained attachments don't work as efficiently and can result in downtime if it fails on the job and needs repair, situations like this can eat into the business’s profit margin and may result in unprofitable projects, not to mention take a toll on the business’s reputation that sees projects going to the competition. 

Correctly attach and detach equipment attachments

In addition to correct equipment maintenance, it’s extremely important to follow the operation regulations in the owner’s manual, including the attachment and detachment guidelines. If your machines are fitted with a quick coupler, the process of attaching and detaching equipment attachments is simple, however, attaching attachments manually is also straightforward if your operators follow the attachment installation guidelines. Ensuring your team isn’t only proficient in attaching and detaching equipment attachments but are also following safety guidelines is inherently important, as it not only impacts on your business bottom line but also your workplace health and safety.  For equipment with a quick coupler system:

  • Ensure there’s no debris in the attachment

  • Release the attachment with the release button 

  • Reverse away from the attachment so the mounting plate releases it 

  • Move the current attachment and move the next into position 

  • Align the mounting plate with the attachment

  • Slowly slide into the attachment until it locks into place Press the quick coupler engagement button so it’s completely locked in place.  For equipment with a manual system:

  • Ensure there’s no debris in the attachment

  • Release the lock pins on the exterior of the attachment 

  • Reverse away from the attachment so the mounting plate releases it 

  • Move the current attachment and prepare the next attachment 

  • Slowly slide into the attachment and secure it in place with the lock pins

  • Ensure correct alignment and there’s no resistance between the attachment and the machine. 

Storing and maintaining your Cat equipment attachments 

When it comes to your heavy equipment and supplementary attachments, correct storage and maintenance can reduce the need for expensive repairs and downtime that puts your business at a disadvantage. Daily inspections are one of the most important aspects of ongoing equipment attachment maintenance, but you should also have regular maintenance schedules to ensure that your attachments are inspected regularly.  A daily inspection doesn’t have to be comprehensive, but it must involve checking key components to ensure they’re clean and free of contaminants and debris, and aren’t damaged or showing signs of wear and tear. 

  • Check hoses and fittings for leaks and cracks

  • Ensure hoses and fittings are secure and clean

  • Lubricate moving parts (if necessary, not daily) 

  • Inspect the locking mechanisms. 

Scheduled maintenance will depend on each individual equipment attachment, for example, rotating bucket teeth, and you should always consult and follow the owner’s manual, but will generally entail the following:

  • Inspect hydraulic flows 

  • Wash and clean parts 

  • Lubricate fittings 

  • Replace damaged parts

  • Inspect loose sections 

  • Inspect for cracks 

  • Check pins and bushings.  

You should also prepare attachments before storing them. One of the most common reasons why equipment attachments require early (and often expensive) repairs is failing to ensure they’re prepared for storage. 

  • Clean the attachment, removing any grease, debris and dirt

  • Inspect for visible damage, wear and tear

  • If repairs are needed order parts right away to avoid delays

  • Tighten hydraulic connections, loosen nuts and cap screws

  • Lubricate grease fillings and fill exposed cylinder rod areas Connect hydraulic couplers to protect the hydraulic system from pollutants

  • Inspect painted sections and touch up if necessary to prevent rusting

  • Store equipment attachments in a dry and secure place. 

Why choose Cat equipment solutions? 

Not only is Cat the industry leader in the heavy equipment sector but using high-quality Cat attachments delivers a competitive edge for your business, by:

  • Empowering your team to deliver more efficient and higher-quality work 

  • Reducing downtime that can affect your reputation and profit margins 

  • Harnessing your equipment’s maximum performance levels

  • Operating with the highest safety standards

  • Boosting your ROI. 

When you’re ready to increase your business’s productivity and capabilities with high-quality attachments from industry leaders Cat, contact your local Hastings Deering branch. As the official Cat dealers for Queensland and the Northern Territory, we’re the Cat specialists you’re looking for when you need expert advice on quality Cat machines and equipment attachments.

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