By Greg Franklin, Director of Fleet and Facilities
Our shop teams support the branches in many capacities. At the core, our goal is to train, maintain and repair. One of the key things that we train field operators on is pad maintenance for mowing and two-cycle equipment (aptly named after the concrete pad adjoining the shop facility where small equipment maintenance is performed). Standard pad maintenance consists of sharpening blades, greasing, pressure washing, removing debris buildup under the deck, and checking all safety devices.
Pad maintenance is completed twice a week during mowing season (typically March through September) by each crew’s field manager and one or two trained crewmen. The second weekly visit adds cleaning air filters, checking tire pressure, and changing the oil/filter to the checklist. Maintenance can be scheduled for either the end of the day or before leaving the yard in the morning, a choice that varies by branch. Once completed, the field manager should check off on the pad maintenance schedule in the shop that all functions were completed.
Air intake screens (before and after) are to be kept free and clear of debris at all times. Make sure they are inspected and thoroughly cleaned on pad maintenance days using a broom or air blowgun.
Performing quality bi-weekly pad maintenance has many benefits for operators:
- Ensuring that all safety devices are working properly decreases the likelihood of an accident happening while on the job
- Sharpening blades twice a week increases production by enabling a mower to move faster while maintaining a quality cut. Sharp blades are also better for the turf, cutting the blades of grass instead of ripping them as dull blades do
- Well-maintained equipment will minimize the frequency and cost of major repairs and increase the life of the equipment, which equates to greater branch profit
- Training field managers and crew personnel on pad maintenance helps ensure that all equipment is being operated correctly and safely
Shop personnel are available to help train field operators on how to properly maintain the equipment and what to look for to minimize failures, and can advise on how to properly perform small repairs (loose bolts, broken belts, bent blades, etc.) on a piece of equipment while in the field to minimize downtime. If you have a question about repair or need training or a refresher course on pad maintenance, please contact your branch’s shop manager. We are here to help!