July 26, 2022

Don’t Have A Meltdown: Prevent Your Equipment from Overheating with T3

Excavator working in hot sun with caption: Don't Have A Meltdown

Whether you’re building in a rare heatwave or someplace where the sun is always shining, high temperatures can wreak havoc on construction equipment. Heat can do more than just harm engines. Excessive temperatures can affect many equipment systems, as well as the personnel operating them. With T3 – the operating system for construction – you can build processes, monitor vital statistics and receive alerts to keep your jobsite moving and prevent your budget from evaporating. 

Before the Heat

Data Points: According to EquipmentShare’s data science team, coolant-related equipment Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) more than double in summer months compared to the winter, and peak in July, August and September. However, average US temperatures peak in June, July, and August. By analyzing hundreds of thousands of equipment data points from 2021, we see a strong correlation between outdoor temperature and these DTCs. It appears that heat-related downtime situations take time to develop, and might be prevented by setting trouble code alerts in T3 and conducting diligent inspections. 

Just as an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a few minutes of inspection can potentially save hours of downtime on the jobsite. Before things heat up, here are a few items to check on before you get to work:

  • Fluid Levels: Make sure your engines have the proper amount of coolant and oil, and check any other fluid levels, as well. High temperatures can speed up the loss of fluids, shorten their operational lifespan and exacerbate any small leaks present in gaskets or seals.

  • Radiator: Ensure the radiator and radiator cap are free of damage, debris and corrosion.

  • Engine Belts: Heat can cause belts to wear more quickly. Check all belts for cracks, discoloration and signs of uneven wear.

  • Tire Pressure: High temperatures can cause increases in tire pressure - in some cases, 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Overinflation can cause uneven wear and decreased traction, placing your machine at an increased risk of having a blowout or sliding when on a grade.

  • Air Filters: The dust that accompanies a hot, dry worksite is more than just a nuisance for your team. It can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of your engine air filter and affect overall performance.
  • Cabin A/C systems: For equipment with an enclosed cabin, verifying the cabin A/C system is operating before every shift is more than just a matter of comfort. An individual suffering from heat-related illness can experience dizziness, confusion and even lose consciousness - putting the entire jobsite at risk.

  • Surprise! Check Your Batteries: Everyone hates when batteries suddenly fail in the wintertime, but the origin of many of those frustrations is in the summer. Excessive heat can contribute to shortened battery life. Monitoring your battery’s health now can save you headaches later on.

With T3 Work Orders you can create work orders and assign team members to ensure all of these checks are completed on your schedule.

Operations in Extreme Heat

Ensuring your equipment and your team are ready for the heat is only the first step in making the most of a hot day on the jobsite. The way in which you deploy your equipment can maximize productivity, as well as minimize heat-related issues. T3 can help you manage all of these considerations.

Where are you storing your equipment when it’s not in use? Are you storing it in a place with shade or in full sun? When you store your equipment out in the open and start it up after the temperature has risen, you’re placing your cooling systems at an immediate disadvantage - they will have to work harder, faster and for longer just to maintain proper operating temperatures. Even if you don’t fire up the engine, direct sunlight will degrade exposed seals and hoses over time. Whenever possible, store your equipment in full or partial shade to minimize these effects. Better yet, if you find you are storing your rental fleet for long periods, use the T3 Rent app to easily off-rent the equipment you’re not using. You’ll save money and EquipmentShare will handle the storage.

We all know how brutal the midday heat can be in the summer. Where possible, schedule your equipment operations to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Doing so will reduce heat-related problems for your equipment and operators. With T3 Time Cards, you can set custom schedules and break times for your workforce and they can clock in from their mobile device when they arrive on-site. By scheduling indoor and shaded tasks for the middle of the day, you can remain productive while taking care of your fleet and your team. 

T3 allows you to monitor your equipment usage and minimize equipment idling, which often happens due to negligence and wastes money. However, when it’s time to shut down your equipment on a hot day, a phased shutdown is often the best approach. By intentionally allowing your equipment engine to idle for just a few minutes before shutting down, you allow the cooling systems to begin cooling the engine without it being under load. This gradual approach can reduce engine wear and make the next start much easier.

Using T3 and Telematics to Stay Ahead of the Sun

With T3, you can stay ahead of heat-related issues before a mechanical failure occurs. By leveraging the power of telematics and alerts you can keep tabs on important equipment details and become aware of potential problems in real time. 

Track these variables with T3 to stay ahead of heat-related problems:

  • Coolant Level and Coolant Temperature: Receive an alert when coolant drops below a certain threshold or exceeds a predefined temperature. These may be signs of an imminent shutdown.

  • Oil Pressure and Oil Temperature: By setting alerts on low oil pressure and high oil temperature, you can communicate to the operator the equipment needs to be shut down and checked immediately.

  • Idle Duration: Phased shutdowns aside, running your equipment unnecessarily only increases wear and wastes fuel. Set a time limit for idle duration and receive an alert when equipment is running in the heat for no reason.

  • Fault Codes (DTC): Use T3 to dig deeper into when and why a fault code is triggered. These codes can include the A/C systems keeping your operators cool and able to work.

T3 can alert you to so much more - learn more here.

Stay Cool - EquipmentShare Is Here To Help

Your local EquipmentShare branch is ready to help you beat the heat with a tech-powered rental and the expertise to keep your jobsite moving. Download the Rent App, or get started here.

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