Top 5: Extending the Life of Post-harvest Equipment

Published online: Jul 28, 2017 Top Five
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This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Potato Grower.

Even once the growing season is over and the potatoes are out of the ground, their journey is far from over. Post-harvest equipment plays an enormous role in the industry, and taking time to look after your equipment will extend the life of your biggest investments. With regular care and maintenance, you will save time and money.

Wyma has provided us with five tips for extending the life of post-harvest equipment.

1. Keep Equipment Clean

Take time each day to clean equipment thoroughly. Trapped dirt causes parts to malfunction, leading to costly equipment breakdowns. Clean equipment is also safer and easier to inspect. When parts are clean, you can easily see if they are running correctly.

It is also a good idea to keep your site as clean as possible. Equipment should be sheltered from wind and rain, where possible, to help prevent rust and rot.


2. Inspect Equipment Regularly

Make sure you have a comprehensive inspection and maintenance schedule. If you take time to check equipment regularly, you will be able to fix small issues before they become major problems.

Perform preventative maintenance to replace high-wear parts before they break down. This will save you time and money. Parts that should be checked often include bearings, seals, gaskets, belts, rollers, pulleys and electric elements.


3. Staff Training

It is important to have trained staff on-site. They will know if equipment is running correctly and will be able to troubleshoot effectively.

It is worthwhile to train everyone who is working on or near equipment so they know what equipment should look like—and sound like—when it is running well. Problems will be found early if you have plenty of trained staff paying attention.


4. Lubrication

Lubricants help moving parts perform better. They reduce friction and extend part life. Include “part lubrication” on your maintenance schedules.

Make sure you are using the right lubricants. There are different lubricants for different parts, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations.


5. Use High-Quality Spare Parts

If you want great performance and long life from your equipment, use high-quality spare parts. Do not replace parts with similar but lower-quality parts. Low-quality parts will not only wear faster; they can also cause damage to your equipment if they are not completely fit-for-purpose.