Managing costs is the key to success in every industry, but it’s especially true for industries like agriculture, construction and others that rely on heavy equipment.
That heavy equipment and machinery comes with costs, some fixed others variable. The price of diesel and other fuels is just one of the expenses that must be budgeted for. However, it’s different from some other budget items because its cost can often be dependent on factors that are both in and out of the owner or operator’s control.
Price of fuel is the obvious external factor outside an operator’s control. For this blog post, though, we are going to focus on those factors that operators can control. There are, in fact, plenty of ways heavy equipment owners and operators can take steps to save on diesel costs for their machinery.
An engine that is running well is going to use fuel much more efficiently. But a well-tuned engine starts with using the right fuel grade for equipment and machinery. That better grade of diesel may not pay off if it’s not the recommended grade for the engine in question.
In addition to minding what fuel is used, keep an eye on equipment thermostats so you can keep an eye on engine temperatures. According to Attra-National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, most tractor engines run at their highest efficiency levels when the water temperature is between 165 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The owner’s manual will contain more information about what temperature is ideal for your specific equipment.
Another part of properly caring for heavy equipment engines – and saving costs on diesel – is staying on top of all regularly scheduled maintenance. These service appointments can make a world of difference in keeping machinery in good condition and ensuring maximum possible fuel efficiency is achieved.
This preventative maintenance can help save money on fuel. A study from the University of Maryland found that a full tune up of tractors led to reduced fuel consumption by about 15%. Good maintenance routines can also identify other types of problems that could turn into a more serious, potentially very costly problem with the equipment down the road.
Your equipment’s owner’s manual will provide you with the best ways to keep the machinery running as it should. This will include information on caring for the engine, fuel, oil filters and air filters – all items to check and cross off the list during maintenance checks.
One of the primary reasons for heavy equipment fuel waste is time spent idle. Reducing idling times could help reach potential fuel savings of about 15 to 45%.
To decrease idle times, you can invest in technology, including an auto idle or other idle management system that can reduce engine RPM to idle or below idle engine RPM automatically. These systems are effective, too. They can reduce fuel used to about or even less than 1 gallon per hour, per Municipal Sewer and Water.
Owners can also invest in equipment that includes auto shutdown features that shut off a piece of equipment or machinery if it has been idling for a predetermined amount of time usually specified by the operator.
That brings us to another key to better fuel use: proper operator training and technique while at the job site or out in the field. How the equipment is used can greatly affect fuel efficiency and potential savings – or additional costs if the operator’s technique is not correct or wasteful.
Be sure to train all operators on how best to use the machinery they drive and maneuver with throughout the day. For example, train operators on which work modes should be used so that the appropriate power levels are being used by the machinery. This will help reduce wasted fuel and inefficiency.
Fuel loss can sneak up on you if you are not careful about how you store fuel. Poorly stored fuel can result in losses due to evaporation and leaks. As an example, a tank capable of storing 300 gallons of fuel can also lose up to 120 gallons per year just due to evaporation alone, according to Attra.
But there are practical steps you can take to store fuel in a better, smarter way that could reduce loss to as little as 15 gallons every year. Those tips, as suggested by Attra, are to:
It’s no mystery that an engine runs better when its air filters are clean. So, it makes sense then that you should clean your heavy equipment diesel engine air filters regularly.
Cleaning the air filter can lead to better fuel efficiency and engine performance. That’s not all, though. In fact, equipment that’s running with a cleaned filter can save you thousands of dollars each year. We have done the tests – on multiple types of construction and agriculture machinery – to prove that this works.
Cleaner air filters can also keep engines in better shape and lasting longer by decreasing. You won’t have to spend as much time – and money – on costly fixes if an engine is operating under less stress.
Now, some folks may claim that you should never clean air filters. However, we have designed our Air Filter Blaster product to work wonders without damaging the filter in any way.
Give our products a try and we assure you that your heavy equipment engines will be running smoothly and efficiently, which will save you money on fuel and maintenance.