Construction Equipment North America

ActiveCare Direct monthly reports

How to spot machine misuse

Protecting your investment is one of the keys to success for any contractor. When machines go down unexpectedly, it comes with a high cost — in both downtime and machine repairs. One way to increase uptime and reduce machine repairs is to eliminate operators’ bad habits that cause unnecessary wear and tear on the machine. Using insights and alerts gained through ActiveCare DirectTM monthly reports allows for operator training that will help avoid these five common instances of machine misuse, thereby saving thousands of dollars in machine repair costs down the road.

1) Hot turbo shutdowns – If the operator doesn’t idle the engine prior to shutting the machine down, it can cause serious damage to the turbocharger over time. Prolonged misuse can even result in turbocharger failures. With monthly reports from ActiveCare Direct, you can identify which machines are experiencing hot turbo shutdown and how often — and can take the opportunity to train operators to idle for 2-3 minutes prior to shutting down the machine.

Potential savings by avoiding turbo repair (varies per machine): $1,000 to $5,000

2) High-speed shifts on wheel loaders – Operators should always bring the machine to a complete stop before shifting from reverse to forward or vice versa, rather than shifting at high speed. Doing so over a long period of time can lead to driveline failure. Some models of Volvo wheel loaders are outfitted with a Reverse By Braking (RBB) feature that does not allow operators to shift at a high speed by sensing the loader’s speed, slowing the machine and automatically applying the service brakes before shifting travel direction. However, for those models that do not have this feature, ActiveCare Direct will flag instances of high-speed shifts on individual machines, giving you an opportunity to train operators before this bad habit causes harm to the transmission.

Potential savings by avoiding transmission replacement: approximately $20,000

3) Misuse of excavator work modes – For Volvo excavators, insights gained through ActiveCare Direct can draw attention to machines that are in Heavy (H) work mode more than 80 percent of the time. But using General (G) work mode instead — just one setting down from H mode — will meet the power required on 90 percent of jobsites. And just that one step down in power will conserve up to 50 percent in fuel. The best way to rectify this common mistake is to ensure proper operator training and understanding about the differences between the work modes — not only giving them a feel for the power that can be produced at a lower setting, but helping them understand what that change in power equates to in terms of fuel efficiency.

Potential fuel savings: estimated $13,125 per machine, per year*

4) Excessive service brake use – Some operators have a tendency to ride the brakes or are not adequately trained to use engine braking and the retarder. ActiveCare Direct monthly reports automatically flag those machines and operators who exceed 80 percent service brake usage, thereby helping you avoid or postpone costly brake replacement, and identify training opportunities for operators.

 Potential savings by avoiding brake replacement: Varies by condition of brakes at time of repair

5) Overuse of differential lock engagement – Volvo articulated haulers are designed with industry-unique differential locks that allow for 4x6 or 6x6 drive combinations. By running in 4x6, the operator saves fuel and reduces tire wear. 6x6 should only be engaged when running in incredibly muddy or challenging conditions. ActiveCare Direct monthly reports automatically flag which machines are running in 6x6 more than 50 percent of the time, so you can see which operators have an opportunity to reduce fuel consumption and tire wear if properly trained.

Potentially savings by avoiding tire replacement: $25,000

* Estimated as a 50 percent improvement from 7 gallons per hour to 3.5 gallons per hour on an excavator averaging 1,500 hours per year and a fuel cost of $2.50 per gallon.