Shear Heavy Equipment Excellence

Critical Heavy Equipment Maintenance

A handful of critical maintenance tasks can ensure that mobile shears stay productive.

Equipment maintenance: for some it’s one of the necessary evils of running equipment and a dirty job that can rob valuable production time. Even so, the tasks at hand are critical ones that can ultimately help equipment earn its maximum return on investment. When it comes to the hydraulically powered mobile shear—one of the scrap recycling industry’s workhorse equipment categories—routine maintenance is all in a day’s work. While some of the maintenance procedures are similar, the exact requirements can differ between brands.

When Shearing Doesn’t Cut It

According to shear manufacturers, there are some types of material that should not be cut with a mobile shear, specifically things made of hardened steel. Common examples include railroad rail, truck axles, steel forgings and hydraulic cylinder rods.

Routine Upkeep

Shear maintenance relates directly to the design of the shear itself, and the better the design, the easier and less frequent the maintenance will be. Because of the wide variety of shear designs on the market, maintenance can vary widely from brand to brand and also is highly dependent on the material being cut. Multiple problems can stem from a lack of maintenance. Without proper shear maintenance, you may deal with busted blades, broken bolts, hydraulics issues, material jamming, premature wear on bearings, welds breaking are just a variety of structural failures.

To the untrained eye, shears are a very simple machine. However the tremendous forces produced by the shear and the extreme environment in which they work can make them self-destructive if not properly maintained and operated. Since all parts of the shear are directly related to each other, excessive wear in one area can adversely affect other areas. Seemingly small issues can therefore develop into large problems, if not addressed.

Blade Considerations

Manufacturers agree one of the most important mobile shear maintenance aspects is keeping the blades in proper operating condition. These consumable parts must be inspected regularly. In some models, mobile shear blades have multiple usable edges and they are designed to be rotated when one of their edges has been worn out. However the life of each blade edge can vary.

Blade maintenance is largely about keeping the shear blades in proper operating condition so they will be sharp enough to perform the cutting tasks at hand. Shear blades must be rotated as called for in the owners/operators manual. For scrap recyclers, general cutting includes scrap materials such as I-beams and other structural steel, rebar, cable, steel plate, sheeting and industrial equipment, right down to items such as vehicles and appliances. The most significant deciding factor concerning blade life is the material that’s being sheared. Shear inspections also should reveal whether the blades need additional maintenance work, namely rotation or replacement. Or, shear operators may need to grind down and square up blade edges that have rolled.

Users of Stanley/Labounty shears need to flip blades on those shears after every 40 hours of use. Basic maintenance includes surface grinding all edges and shimming the blades to get them to the correct tolerance. Stanley/Labounty recommends replacing blades every 80 hours.

Scrap recycling market uses the full product line of Stanley/Labounty shears, from the MSD7R to the MSD9500R. Along with attending to the blades, a number of other routine tasks may be needed daily, depending on the manufacturer. Greasing the moving parts is a requirement for all shears, and detailed instructions for this are provided in the operators’ manuals.

Shears need regular greasing at four- and eight-hour intervals, along with inspections of the auto-guide, blades, fasteners and hydraulic components. During these inspections, operators need to be on the lookout for cracked, missing or broken blades; loose, missing or broken fasteners; hydraulic leaks; or any cracks in the welds and attachment structure.

Technical Tasks
 along with these more routine maintenance tasks, other preventive tasks need to be handled on a longer-term basis. These requirements can vary by brand and are listed in the operators’ manual supplied by the manufacturer.

A fair amount of welding knowledge also may be required, again depending on the shear brand, to keep the shears maintained. For instance, one key task clients may need to perform is to build up and hard surface the jaws. This can return jaw surfaces that have been worn down back to their original profiles and harden the jaw surfaces. These specialized welding techniques are explained in the product manual.

Most shear operators opt for dealers that can service both the attachment and the carrier itself. A lot of times there may be hydraulic issues with one or the other and you don’t know where the problem is.While most users can perform their own routine maintenance, some also rely on local equipment dealers or outside contractors to perform maintenance tasks.

Common Problem Areas

Some of the common maintenance issues in the field are not greasing the attachment at the specified intervals, using blades long past their service lives and not maintaining the blade gaps specified by the company.

A common mistake on the operations side is using the shears to cut un-shearable items—hardened-steel objects, such as railroad rails, axel shafts and truck springs. These seem to cause recyclers the most problems with their shears. Using torches to cut these types of hardened, brittle materials and saving your shears for what they are designed to cut.

Another common mistake is using the weight of the excavator to pound the shear’s upper jaw into the ground to clear a jam or to get the shear to cut more than it is hydraulically capable of. These actions cause excessive wear to the parent material of the jaws and blades and will lead to more frequent need for build up and hard surfacing.

And one surprising problem area: not attending to routine maintenance at all. Following the proper specified maintenance schedules will help ensure that the shear lasts for many years.

PineRidge Lisco Edwards(PLE) is an Exclusive dealer to Stanley/LaBounty in Ontario, Canada. We Buy/Sell/Rent/Service Mobile Shears.
Below is a Maintenance Schedule for all LaBounty Mobile Shears that PLE performs either onsite or in the shop. Give us a call to put your Shear on one of our Maintenance plans to keep it performing and to prevent future downtime and money on repairs.
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