Expert engine maintenance tips

Perkins has been providing reliable diesel engines to power machinery used in the mining, construction, agriculture and utilities industries since 1932. With Allightsykes as the company’s Australian distributor since 2007, Perkins has a strong presence in mining operations Down Under.

With off-grid mines often relying on generator sets to run a multitude of power-dependant operations, Perkins’ global training manager Andrew Miller says the importance of timely engine maintenance cannot be overstated.

Perkins offers engines ranging in capacity from 0.5 litres to 61 litres in electric power – making it one of the largest ranges of diesel engines from a single supplier.

“Perkins engines are tough and dependable – but they, as with all engines, benefit from regular care and attention and it’s important to ensure your equipment is maintained,” Miller tells Australian Mining.

“Straightforward daily checks are recommended, plus in-depth weekly and monthly engine inspections which help flag up potential problems before they lead to major repairs. Maintenance schedules vary from engine to engine, and specific guidance is given in your engine’s operation and maintenance manual, which is available on the Perkins My Engine App.

“Maintaining your Perkins engine is the key to its optimum performance. Slight changes in performance can easily go unnoticed, often a drop of 20 percent in performance can happen before the operator notices. Missing service intervals can lead to reduction in performance, let alone the worst case of a vital part failing.”

Noting that the performance checks required will vary by engine type and operating conditions, Miller recommends ensuring the checks and frequency are right for your engine.

“All Perkins engines come with a detailed list of checks to carry out at set intervals,” he says. “The regular checks that you need to carry out fall into daily and weekly categories, along with regular servicing at specified intervals. They all have the same aim of helping your engine run as long as possible at maximum efficiency. No two schedules are exactly the same, so you should always check the schedule for your particular engine.”

“It’s also worth noting that the checks either relate to the calendar time or the hours your engine has been running. Checks should take place far more often on an engine in almost constant use than for one used occasionally. So, for example, changing the engine coolant is recommended every two years – but it will need attention sooner if your engine runs for 3000 hours, which is the equivalent of running 24/7 for just over four months,” he adds.

The daily checks are just as important as the regular servicing, Miller explains. “Regular maintenance is especially important on standby generators. Standby generators play a very important role providing uninterrupted power in mission-critical operations,” he says.

“It’s also important to consider what happens when your engine is not started for some time. Engines are designed to be used and need to be kept in good condition while not in use. For many of us, that means those moments where our machines will be parked for extended periods.

“When a machine is left unused, problems can start to develop that will prevent it from working properly when the time comes to start it up again.”

A collaborative approach

In Australia, Miller says collaboration between Perkins and its national distributor, AllightSykes, creates a two-way channel for the company to remain connected with its customers.

“The relationship that AllightSykes has established with the mining industry end users ensures that strong support is available for our customers through AllightSykes’ personnel. On the other hand, AllightSykes’ close engagement with Australian mines enables us to take feedback from customers or, at times, test some pre-production stage engines in the rugged working environments to validate new products,” he adds.

David Whincup, product line manager – engines at AllightSykes, says Allightsykes offers comprehensive local access and support to the complete range of Perkins engines and Perkins genuine parts across Australia.

“Through our network of branches and dealers, we are able to offer a wide range of service options for our customers from standard servicing through to full customer service contracts,” Whincup says.

“Our technicians are certified by Perkins and trained in the latest engines available in Australia, including the Tier 4 ranges coming in from the US and Europe. Our service branches are also able to offer technical support and advice.”

For any additional information regarding engine operation or maintenance, Whincup encourages customers to get in touch with their local AllightSykes branch or dealer.

“They are experts on all Perkins engines and happy to answer any question you may have. Give them a call today if you have any concerns about your engine or machine’s readiness,” he concludes.

This article also appears in the October issue of Australian Mining.

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