During winter, breakdowns on your rendering or plastering machine, grout or flow screed pump can become more common. The harsher weather conditions can take their toll on your machine and if they are sat not working for a while due to freezing temperatures this can affect them further. Rain, frost, ice and snow can be detrimental to your machine however there are steps you can take to avoid mechanical issues and keep working throughout the winter. It is worth noting that rendering is not recommended below 5°C.
Prevention is Better the Cure
Machine Maintenance is even more important during the winter months so problems can be recognised before they escalate. Preventative care will increase the longevity of your machine and decrease your expenditure on sudden faults and breakdowns. You should train your team to carry out daily inspections to spot early signs of stress; check out our blog which gives you a more detailed breakdown of visual inspections and daily checks >. If your pump is a towable unit, include checking the tyre pressure in your regular checks since tyres can loose air more quickly in cold conditions.
It may also be worth scheduling in pre-winter inspections or servicing to ensure your machine is ready to withstand the more extreme winter conditions. Even simple steps such as keeping your machine clean will help with protecting the body and components as well as ensure you can more easily spot faults.
Correct storage of your machine is key during the winter months. If your machine is outdoors it will be exposed to the elements. If rain, snow, frost gets into your pump , it can affect the electrics and even on a diesel machine, the additional water (rain, ice, snow) will impact it. An enclosed, weather resistant storage area is recommended to keep your machine safe and in good working order. Cold temperatures affect wiring, hydraulics and hoses as these parts can become brittle and susceptible to cracking or bursting. Not only is the damage to your machine going to be costly, it will of course prevent you from carrying out your job and crucially can cause a danger to the machine user. Batteries are another element that require warm storage. Cold weather caused rapid depletion of stored energy in batteries, a decrease in capacity and charge potential. If any of your machines run on battery power, be mindful that in winter they have to work harder to start up. Try and keep batteries warm and fully charged.
An essential part of winter maintenance is draining down your machine. The drop in temperatures could cause water to freeze and subsequently expand which may mean parts of the machine crack and are damaged. To drain down your machine you need to open both drain taps as well as the water outlet and allow the water to flow out. If you have a water pump, you should also drain this. It can be worth having a spare water bowl as this can be liable to crack in chillier weather.
In winter months, it can take your machine much longer to warm up so allow this time so it can reach optimal working temperature. This also gives the wire, hydraulics and hoses time to regain flexibility. Allowing time to warm up increases your machines efficiency and subsequently the lifespan. When machines remain unused for longer periods of time, it can be harder to fire them up. If possible start your machine up approximately every 3 days in downtime to make sure parts don't lock up. Applying lubricant and ensuring you are greasing up working parts of your machine will also help. With diesel pumps ensure you use anti-freeze in the radiator.
Rotors & Stators
Rotors and stators are an essential element to keep your machine working at its best. These parts can also be affected by cold weather and have a habit of seizing up when it's cold and can be virtually impossible to take apart. We would advise you to take your rotor and stator apart in cold weather or if you're not using your machine for a prolonged period. Alternatively ensure you sufficiently lube up your rotor and stator to prevent it locking up.