fuel consumption

Fuel is a significant cost for any business that relies on heavy equipment.

As prices of petrol and diesel are skyrocketing in South Africa, it pays to save on heavy equipment fuel consumption wherever possible.

These smart practices will help you save on fuel.

Keeping haul roads levelled and in good condition

A reliable network of roads plays a vital role in the productivity and efficiency of any construction site or farm. The cost of constructing and maintaining roads is offset by significant improvements in fuel savings, efficiency and productivity, as well as vehicle maintenance.

Vehicles using roads that are smooth and debris-free are more efficient. They don’t have to stop and start constantly, which saves fuel. It also saves time and lessens wear and tear on a vehicle’s brakes, tyres, drive train and suspension.

Minimise idle time

Idling drives up fuel costs. Any time an operator spends idling a vehicle wastes fuel.

It’s not unusual for vehicles to be idling for up to 50% of total running time. In that case, your fuel costs might be double what they should be.

Adopt these smart tips to reduce idling time on vehicles:

  • limit idle time at shutoff to two minutes for older engines, almost none for newer ones
  • turn off vehicles waiting for more than five minutes to load or unload
  • restrict morning warm-ups to three to five minutes
  • turn off equipment during lunch and breaks
  • use automatic shutdown when available.

It’s important to train your vehicle operators. A skilled operator can use up to 10 to 12% less fuel than an unskilled operator. A skilled operator also enhances safety, improves productivity and extends component life.

Training not only reduces fuel costs, it increases employee loyalty and improves retention.

Track fuel consumption over time

Monitoring fuel consumption over time using an advanced telematics system can help reduce fuel use. If you track fuel data and it goes up suddenly without the job changing, something needs attention.

Is the tyre pressure low? Have your roads deteriorated or is your site layout inefficient? Do your operators need more training?

You might detect issues like dirty fuel injectors, plugged air filters, defective sensors or a slipping clutch. These can be fixed and fuel consumption reduced.

Limit speed and shift at lower RPM

Driving heavy machinery slowly is far more fuel efficient. High speeds destroy fuel economy and can cause emissions to spike.

Also, gearing up and throttling down at high RPMs destroys fuel economy. Ensure your operators regulate their driving speeds, take time moving their vehicles and are careful to reduce RPMs before they change gear.

Be strict about maintenance

As engine components age and wear and tear occurs, the fuel efficiency of heavy equipment decreases. Servicing and other routine maintenance tasks help slow this process down, saving money in the long run.

Quality machines operate more efficiently than older or poorly maintained equipment.

Invest in a rebuilt Cat motor grader from KH Plant

To help reduce fuel costs, invest in a rebuilt Cat motor grader to construct and maintain good roads on farms and construction sites. It’s much cheaper than a new grader.

A rebuilt grader boasts much better fuel efficiency than a used grader bought direct on the secondhand market. At KH Plant, we completely recondition and re-engineer all our Cat motor graders to meet the original manufacturer equipment (OME) standards.

Skilled and experienced technicians follow a rigorous step-by-step rebuilding process. Only the best repair and refurbishment techniques are employed to create a “good as new” and fully operational motor grader.

At KH Plant, we know how a restored motor grader can save on heavy equipment fuel consumption. We specialise in restoring Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.

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