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Anyone who has spent any time around a construction site knows that equipment maintenance is a top priority for contractors. From daily systems checks and scheduled maintenance to operator training and dealer support, equipment maintenance is a critical component of an efficient and profitable jobsite.

What’s less widely known is that construction technology equipment--from software to machine control to precision instruments--also requires routine maintenance in order to deliver the best possible results over an extended period of time. Follow these tips to ensure that construction technology solutions are properly cared for and serviced to reap the rewards for years to come.

Software Maintenance

One of the easiest and best ways to maintain software and firmware investments is to install all updates as they are released. Updates to software and firmware are typically free, and in some cases happen automatically. But if an update doesn’t happen automatically, it’s important to take the time to install it.

Updates generally are released because they fix a known problem, and even if a problem isn’t apparent, it’s best to stay current with updates and versions. It’s also important to take the time to read the release notes that come with updates to be aware of new functionality and product changes.

Routine Maintenance

Although many field technology devices are designed to be rugged and able to withstand a certain amount of wear and tear, they still require routine maintenance. Total stations and other precision instruments should be serviced once per year. This service will include checking to see where and how the total station is wearing, including connections between wires, instrument calibration and even tightening bolts. This annual maintenance visit can help ensure that the equipment operates at optimal performance and can prevent larger, more costly problems in the future.

In addition to having equipment serviced annually, precision instruments should be calibrated and checked by operators on a bi-weekly basis. Total stations can lose their precision with the jostling of being transported, which means it’s also important to check the calibration to a known point before each use.

Storage and Transportation

Because GPS devices are designed to be durable, it’s not uncommon to see them thrown in the back of a truck or rattling around on the floor during transport. Even though these are rugged devices, it’s still important to clean, store and transport them properly. Be sure to put equipment back in its carrying case at the end of the day, and store equipment where it won’t vibrate or be knocked around.

It’s also important to keep field hardware clean. For exterior surfaces, alcohol wipes or soapy water work well, but it’s more important to take care when cleaning lenses. Always make sure lens caps are on before transporting equipment, and when cleaning them, be sure to use a rag made specifically for lenses, that won’t scratch or leave behind debris.

Operator Training

Operator training may not seem like an important part of equipment maintenance, but it most certainly is. Operators who have been trained by the equipment dealer are more likely to use, store and transport the equipment with care, and they are more likely to identify potential problems early, when they typically can be fixed faster and less expensively. Properly trained operators are also more likely to use the technology to its fullest, gaining optimal accuracy, efficiency and overall results from the equipment.

Field Support

In some cases, properly trained operators can troubleshoot minor repair problems, such as checking loose connections, tightening screws and adjusting an instrument’s calibration. However, when issues escalate beyond basic troubleshooting, it’s important to have a knowledgeable and reliable dealer available to help.

By establishing a relationship with the dealer, contractors often have immediate access to customer service, personalized training, technical support, maintenance and more. Think of the equipment dealer as more than a sales representative; it is an experienced construction professional who is on call to help when questions or problems arise.
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