Machinery Maintenance... made easy!

Stay Sharp

Keith Cann-Evans highlights the best way to keep your most valuable machinery in tip-top condition.

The prime objective of every golf course is to keep the greens in top condition. Huge investment is made in a vast array of course maintenance equipment, of which, grass-cutting machinery probably accounts for the largest proportion of spend.

It is essential that these machines are kept fully functional. Which is why being able to service and sharpen the blades quickly and efficiently, minimising the downtime, is as important as the mowers themselves.

Until recently the option to purchase your own grinder or retain the services of a contractor has been a financial decision depending mainly on the number of units requiring servicing. The financial investment of a grinder has been compared directly with the cost of using a contractor. But using an outside agency brings its own problems. Apart from the inconvenience of having to schedule the grinding programme it can also mean the machines are off site for an extended period of time.

One element that has altered the equation is the requirement of modern day clubs to improve the quality of the greens to meet the standards expected by members. This has led to a greater emphasis on top dressing programmes, which inevitably reduces the sharpness of the grass cutting equipment. This in turn increases the frequency for re-grinding the cylinders and bottom blades. The net result is the equipment requires more than the annual sharpening and costs rise accordingly. The flexibility and efficiency of having your own machine on site and having complete control over the time management of the workshop can be the deciding factor.

Many grass cutting machinery manufacturers believe that the key to achieving optimum performance from your mowers is to grind the blades back to the original manufacturers specification. To do this you have to choose your grinder and method of sharpening from the number of grinding machines available offering spin, relief or a combination of both methods of sharpening.

Keith Cann-Evans is Managing Director of Hunter Grinders Ltd

Don’t Get Tyred Out

Jon McGott gives some excellent advice on tyre maintenance.

Maintenance of tyres and wheels is one of the most important jobs in the workshop, because without working tyres in good condition your expensive machine, is effectively useless, and you then have to start counting the cost of downtime.

A little time spent once a day, or every two days at most, can pay dividends in spotting potential tyre problems before they bring your machine to a stop.

Check the outside of the tyres carefully for any cuts, bulges or penetrating objects. Any of these must be attended to before the tyre is put back into service. If your tyre dealer tells you the tyre is scrap, do not assume he just wants to sell you a new tyre, he may, but if he is worth his salt he will be giving good advice.
When you replace tyres, make sure the replacement is the same in terms of its carrying capacity, and speed rating. Many manufacturers have several versions of one size to suit different applications, and you need to ensure yours is correct.

Do not be tempted to try and re-use a tubeless tyre by inserting a tube. If the damage is sufficient to render the tyre non tubeless, it is probably sufficient to drastically shorten the working life of the tyre, as well as damaging the tube, and also many tubeless tyres have internal ribbing which will chafe tubes and ultimately cause a deflation.

If you are already using tubes, and have a puncture, do not repair the tube - replace it! Make sure the tube is the correct size for the tyre, and always use new tubes in new tyres.

None of this is “rocket science” - just common sense, but at the end of the day it is your licence, your contract, your livelihood, and possibly your life at risk if you do not do this most simple of tasks.

Jon McGott is Technical Support Manager for Trelleborg Wheel Systems UK Ltd.