Shop cleanliness 101

02/25/2016

It is important to adopt a clean-shop mindset to ensure the most productive environment possible. Maintaining proper lighting, adhering to proper storage procedures, promoting technician hygiene and requiring proper handling of fuel filters are just a few of the recommendations that can help minimize contaminants.

Tip No. 1: Let there be light
Equip service areas with proper lighting so technicians can clearly view machine components and parts while working. As a building ages, so does the lighting, making it harder to see lingering dirt. Every five years, conduct a top-to-bottom cleaning of all service areas. You may be surprised by what has been missed over time.

Tip No. 2: Use high-pressure washers
Dirt, dust and other debris that accumulate on a machine during use can introduce contaminants during repair if not removed. Use high-pressure washers to clean machines quickly and thoroughly before service work, especially when completing major maintenance.

Tip No. 3: Follow proper fluid storage procedures
Improper handling or storage of fluids can leave behind contaminants that pose a threat to critical system components. Set up a dedicated fluid containment area for engine oil and hydraulic oil. Store oils in bulk containers that have a filtration system to help reduce contaminants.

Moisture and other impurities in fuel can also cause damage to engine components. Any fuel entering a storage tank should pass through a filter to help prevent contaminants from spoiling the total supply. Technicians should inspect fuel supply tanks regularly and remove excess moisture before transferring to a machine tank. Fluid-sampling services can be used to determine if fuel has been compromised due to improper storage practices.

Tip No. 4: Handle fuel filters properly
If handled improperly, installing a new fuel filter may introduce contaminants into a machine. Before installation, technicians should pressure-wash around the fittings and lines to remove dirt and other debris. It’s also recommended that a fuel filter be installed immediately after removing it from the plastic bag. If the filter cannot be installed right away, it should be placed in a sealable plastic bag to avoid exposure to dust or other particles.

Tip No. 5: Promote technician hygiene
Technicians regularly handle critical machine components. If a technician’s hands are dirty, the dirt can easily be transferred to other components and potentially impact a machine. To help keep components clean, technicians should wear gloves. Using gloves not only ensures shop hygiene but can promote long-term personal health for technicians by helping to reduce the amount of oils and fluids absorbed into their skin.

By reviewing these tips, your service department can offer a clean, dirt-free environment and successfully reduce contaminants that might otherwise be introduced into critical and costly machine components, such as diesel engines.