A little TLC and regular maintenance go a long way toward keeping your equipment performing dependably in summer heat.
Summer’s in full swing across the Lower 48, and it’s already been a scorcher for many areas. Still, work goes on and that means on many days, you’re going to be asking a lot of your inspection system and equipment: high performance under grueling conditions. Here we suggest some things you can do to ensure minimal downtime during hot, high-performance time frames.
- Keep equipment clean. Clean equipment each time it is removed from the pipeline. Most importantly, remove the camera from its tractor, remove wheels and treads, and clean beneath all of these. This can prevent some extensive damage from corrosion or to seals from debris.
- Lubricate all relevant areas on a regular basis so your equipment isn’t working against itself. Heat is also hard on lubricants of any sort. The more intense the heat, the more they tend to thin down, so it’s important to make sure oil reservoirs are full, and that moving parts and reels are greased with enough quantity to ensure they’ll continue operating under hot conditions. It’s a good idea to keep some spare cans, tubes and bottles of any lubricants you may need on your vehicle, in case you do run into heat fatigue with what’s already applied. You may even want to invest in some that have high temperature formulations.
- Check down hole equipment for pressure loss or leakage. You don’t want to find out in the middle of a sweltering job that you have to stop because water entered a housing where it shouldn’t have.
- Position portable equipment out of direct sunlight if you can. The sun’s direct rays beating down intensely on any equipment (but especially that with metal components) is one of the harshest types of exposure it can endure. High heat will cause all components to expand somewhat. Metal parts can eventually develop permanent warps from this type of long sun exposure.
- Heat flexing can cause screws, nuts, bolts and other fasteners to loosen. Keep hardware tight. Check hardware constantly for wear or excessive looseness.
- Another rubbery surface that’s subject to heat hardening and cracking is power cord sheathing. Some of this is now made from siliconized rubber that’s more hardy, but it’s still a good idea to run your hands over power cords from end to end, so your fingers might feel cracks your eyes have missed. Replace these as necessary. Don’t wait for cracks to become wide or long—even a small opening in that outer sheath could allow dangerous arcing in wet environment.
- Outer plastic sheathing on cables is subject to a lot of punishment even without the heat effect, so keep an eye on those, as well. Replace as needed.
- Check connections between main equipment housings and cables, cords, plugs and accessories. Heat flexing may also have affected these.
- Clean off cooling fans for computers, generators and other truck-mounted equipment. Dust, cobwebs and other debris can gather over time, decreasing the fan’s effectiveness.
Keep these tips in mind, and your equipment should continue to serve you well in any weather.