Graco had the opportunity to visit a city maintenance facility in Minnesota, where they recently installed a Graco Grease Jockey automatic lubrication system on one of their snow plows. This install, with 41 lubrication points, was the first for the city. The city targets to get 12 – 14 years of life out of their plow trucks, so proper maintenance was an important consideration in why they chose automatic lubrication. Watch the video to see how Graco helped the city maintain optimal lubrication on their snow plows.
Before the city began using Grease Jockey, maintenance was done exclusively in-season by the drivers or maintenance crew. Manual lubrication was difficult to keep up with given the amount of hours required to keep the trucks in service, so often it didn’t get done. Making matters worse, the high corrosive environment that snow plows operate in from carrying and distributing salt and other anti-icing materials, presented a significant issue for the steering and dump body components. When the maintenance team was approached about the concept of automatic lubrication the city had just experienced the pain of replacing a dump-body hinge pin due to excessive corrosion.
Fleet Maintenance Foreman, Jeff Reiten, and Street Maintenace Equipment Operator, Mike Cordes teamed up to share their experience with Graco. “Our biggest issue has been the main swivel pin on the dump boxes – they are very expensive to fix,” said Reiten. “During harsh Minnesota winters, we’re running salt and brine, a liquid that gets into everything. These Grease Jockeys have really held up, and help us avoid costly repairs.”
Proper lubrication in even the harshest environments
Lubrication is critical in ensuring equipment keeps moving and operating costs are reduced. Without proper lubrication, operations can suffer from equipment downtime and shortened life. The Graco Grease Jockey system applies a small amount of grease to lubrication points while the vehicle is moving, which is especially important in harsh conditions.
“Nobody knew there were auto-lube systems available for dump trucks, let alone plow trucks,” explained Cordes. “The temperature can drop from 32 degrees to negative 20 degrees here in the winter, and we never had one issue greasing or freezing up. We went out on 40 to 50 snow events this past winter, and the Grease Jockey saved me 30 minutes to an hour each snowfall.”
Improved preventative maintenance cycle
"The Grease Jockey system has definitely improved the maintenance cycle on the snow plow. Upfront there was a little expense, but the Grease Jockey has saved money and time, making it well worth the investment in the long run,” said Reiten.
“Applying a small amount of grease while the vehicle is moving, we have had zero pin failures throughout the winter. If your truck is in the shop, others in your department have to pick-up the slack, which leads to slower response time,” added Cordes. “From a safety standpoint, it’s great to have the Grease Jockey, there is no need to crawl under the truck with snow and ice falling on you. You barely even notice that it’s there, my truck is programmed every 3-hours to grease.”
“My co-workers hate that I have this, because they have to crawl underneath their trucks, and I just sit back and say, ‘Well, I am done!’” concluded Cordes.
How do you justify the upfront cost?
Automatic lubrication may have the perception of a costly investment, but taking just these few key factors into consideration may result in an unexpected Return on Investment (ROI):
- Cost of labor
- Cost of parts
- Driver safety
- Fleet downtime
- Truck in shop
- Time to manual lube
- Oil waste