Whether your business is closing for a holiday, slowing down during the winter months, or undergoing a scheduled upgrade, there will come a time when you need to put your equipment into storage. Complex industrial equipment is just as likely to suffer damage in storage as it is in use. Since your equipment is essential for continued operation, here are some tips to keep it safe.
#1 Check your insurance
Insurance is a complex area, and most businesses hold several different policies in unison. Machine breakdown and damage cover is the most important, and you should check that your policy covers storage. Most will, but some might specify the length of time that you can keep your machines dormant and the type of environment that they can be kept in. Double-checking your insurance and making any necessary changes covers you in the event that something goes wrong.
#2 Clean before storage
This applies to all machinery, but it’s especially important for more complex devices like heat processing tools. These pick up dirt and debris, and since they contain small parts, that detritus can cause major internal damage if left to build up and settle. Keeping your machinery clean is good practice anyway, but it becomes crucial when you put it into storage. Dirt and salt do more than just eat away at the paintwork. They can cause blockages and jams, which are enough to stop your machines from working when you take them out of storage and turn on the power.
#3 Lubricate moving parts
Your manual will be able to tell you which machine parts need to be lubricated, but this is an essential step. When you take your machinery out of storage and start it again for the first time, all the moving parts grind into action. Since they’ve not been used for a long time, that starting up process generates enormous amounts of friction. Lubricating parts in advance allows for a seamless restart.
#4 Put air in tires
Any machinery that includes tires should go into storage completely refilled with air. Tires will naturally deflate if you store your machinery flat on a hard surface for a long time. Not only will this make the restart a more laborious process, but it can actually damage your tires. Replacing tires across your entire range of equipment isn’t something that anybody wants to do, so fill them up to the top in advance.
#5 Repair even minor damage
All equipment sustains minor scrapes and light damage during use. This might seem harmless enough at the time, but it can take a turn for the worse in storage. If, for example, some paint has been scraped off a machine, this might open the way for rust to form, which spreads fast. Chips, scratches, and any blemishes should be investigated and repaired before you put your machines into storage. That, really, is the only way to ensure that they come out at the other end ready to be used.