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Facility Maintenance Decisions

Modifying Lift Equipment Can Void Warranties





By Thomas A. Westerkamp   Equipment Rental & Tools

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Perform a Needs Analysis Before Specifying Personnel LiftsPt. 2: Lift Specification: Weigh Productivity and CostPt. 3: This Page

Managers should make a practice of asking suppliers about their lift products‚ specifically regarding compliance with applicable standards related to safety and environmental issues. This step ensures the selected lifts will be the most appropriate choices for technicians.

Managers also should make technicians aware that modifying lift equipment can void the warranty, so they need to check with the manufacturer before doing so because safety might be at stake.

For instance, converting a pallet lift to a personnel lift by adding a cage attached to the forks not only might void the warranty. It also might increase torque in a way the equipment was not designed to handle, making it unstable and more likely to tip over. Adding a counterweight can stress components, possibly resulting in hairline cracks that weaken, distort and ultimately cause the part to fail.

Warranties usually require user registration to establish the start date of the warranty period. Programs vary by manufacturer, equipment and even component. For instance, one manufacturer offers a one-two-five warranty — that is, one year on parts, two years on the drive train, and five years on structural members.

Managers also can buy certain used pieces of equipment with a warranty, which usually is shorter than one for a new unit. But it pays to check this out when considering a used unit’s value. New or used, purchase or rental, the warranty can save major repair or replacement costs if a part, the drive train or a structural component fails.

A warranty certainly can help managers hold down the equipment’s overall cost, but even with a comprehensive warranty program, managers still must deal with delays due to loss of equipment availability and safety issues in the event of a failure.

Managers also must consider whether the warranty includes a loaner while the repair is being made? If so, what is the delivery time? Some programs include a rapid replacement policy, either on the same day or within 24 hours. But even this backup arrangement can be costly if the situation results in idle workers who must wait for the replacement lift equipment.

This is where a comprehensive maintenance program pays off. If technicians follow the manufacturer’s pre-operation checklist and other periodic checklists to the letter, they can detect failures before work starts. If technicians find a problem, they can arrange for a replacement without a loss of service or a delay in the project.

This benefit underlines the importance of ensuring these checks are done in a timely manner by a trained, experienced technician who knows what to look for, can recognize incipient problems, and knows when it is time to take immediate action or at least get a repair request into the work-order system to avoid unscheduled downtime.


Continue Reading: Maintenance at a Higher Level

Perform a Needs Analysis Before Specifying Personnel Lifts

Lift Specification: Weigh Productivity and Cost

Modifying Lift Equipment Can Void Warranties

posted on 1/1/2009

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