We understand that equipment is an operational cost on the farm, not a profit driver. However, keeping your farm machinery in peak operating condition certainly plays a role in meeting tight production deadlines. The last thing you need to deal with is downtime caused by unexpected equipment failures and costly repairs. To avoid this, we recommend creating a farm equipment inspection checklist to guide daily machine walk-arounds prior to operation. Adhering to this kind of checklist not only helps you catch small issues before they become larger problems, it also promotes safety and helps prevent accidents on the farm.
First Order of Business: Go Digital.
We also recommend ditching the clipboard when performing these daily inspections. Adding manual paperwork to your daily task list just isn’t feasible. Not to worry. Mobile data collection solutions, like Device Magic, can be used as an equipment inspection app. This allows you to build custom inspection reports and checklists that you and your employees can easily access out in the field, even when they’re offline.
The problem with using a cookie-cutter inspection checklist is that it probably won’t cover every type of farm machinery that you use, and won’t address specific issues that are important to your operation. A custom-built mobile form; however, allows you to easily create checklists tailored specifically to your needs. Additionally, the ability to access your equipment inspection reports through a mobile app can improve efficiency and help ensure accurate recording of critical information.
What To Include On Your Farm Equipment Inspection Checklist
As we mentioned, checklists will vary depending on your operation. But there are several areas you should always include on a comprehensive equipment inspection checklist. So let’s take a look at these items.
Engine Compartment & Electrical Components
A daily check of your equipment’s engine compartment and electrical components is crucial to maintaining optimal safety and uptime on the farm. This will be the most thorough part of your inspection, as there are quite a few areas you want to be sure to check, including:
- Switch the front and rear lights on/off
- Test the machine’s back-up alarms
- Make sure the engine battery is charged
- Check all belts and hoses, especially your hydraulic hoses, to make sure they are connected properly and not damaged
- Inspect engine compartment covers and guards to ensure they are properly installed
- Check for and remove any debris in the engine compartment
Again, checking the brake system is especially important for safety on the farm. Brake systems on specialized farm machinery can be complicated and multi-faceted, which further emphasizes the need for an inspection checklist tailored to your specific equipment. However, there are a few general items to always include:
- Inspect for air or fluid leaks
- Perform brake system diagnostic tests if you have the necessary tools
- Identify any brake system components with excess wear that possibly need replacement
Operator Cab Inspection
A comfortable machine operator is a productive machine operator, right? It’s crucial to keep your machines’ operator cabs clean, organized and, most importantly, safe for optimal efficiency. Here’s a few items to be sure to include in the cab inspection:
- Make sure all steps, handrails and grab bars are secure
- Inspect and configure all windows and mirrors to ensure optimal visibility
- If the machine has wipers, check wiper fluid levels and make sure the wipers effectively clear the windshield
- Check that the seatbelt, safety harness, and other safety-related elements in the cab
- Test the horn
- Ensure the operator control panel and/or display screen is working properly
- Check for machine issue indicators
Wheels & Tracks
Whether you’re operating machinery with wheels or tracks, it’s critical to keep these components in good condition. Especially to avoid ground or field disturbances. Here’s what to look for on wheeled machines:
- Debris or air leaks in the tires
- Excessive wear
- Visible rim damage
If you operate track machines, it may be harder to identify and diagnose undercarriage issues. If you suspect issues with the steering or material handling, call your equipment dealer to see if service is needed. You should regularly inspect these items on track machines:
- Track components, such as the rollers, idler wheels and sprockets
- Shoes and links on metal track machines
- Tension and torsion axles on rubber track machines
An important part of preventative maintenance is checking the fluid levels on your machine. Puddles around the equipment can be one of the first indicators of an internal problem. Machine fluids and related areas that should be inspected regularly include:
- Engine and hydraulic oil
- Fuel water separator
- Engine coolant
- Diesel exhaust fluid (DEF)
Create Custom Inspection Checklists for Your Farm with Device Magic
If your farming operation relies on specialized machinery, you need access to customized and thorough inspection reports. With a simple drag-and-drop interface, the Device Magic platform makes it easy to build inspection checklists and forms with all the features you need. Additionally, our mobile forms app works offline, which is a key benefit for rural operations with limited internet connection.