We can all agree that properly maintaining mechanical equipment is the key to achieving top performance and longevity from your gear. But is simply changing oil and filters enough?
Power Packs, often used in remote locations, are typically started up, connected to refrigerated containers, and left unattended for hours on end. Does this sound like your operation?
While designed and built for this exact type of application, there are still many aspects of this machine that require close attention. After all, your livelihood depends on your power packs working properly at all times.
Whether they are left running overnight in the reefer yard or sent out on a barge for an 8 hour journey, engine failures can mean lost cargo and lost profit. Without proper maintenance, what might have been a small problem may quickly become catastrophic.
Here are several recommendations to help you get the most life out of your Power Packs.
7 Best Practices for Every Power Pack Operator
1) Regular fluid and filter changes – Engine lubricant and fluid filter changes should be done in 250 hour intervals. Depending on the conditions in your yard, 500 hour air filter changes are fine. However, in dusty environments more frequent changes are recommended.
2) Thorough inspections – a certified maintenance mechanic should perform full mechanical inspections at regular intervals to review all belts, hoses, clamps, and wiring connections. Allowing maintenance staff more consistent time inside the power pack will enable them to discover potential abnormalities that may show up between services.
Discovering something like a broken hose clamp may take an hour’s time to correct. But left un-checked, the potential engine damage that might occur would cost far more in both time and money to repair.
3) Maintain an inspection logbook – Designating one mechanical inspector is ideal for having a single set of eyes and ears capable of discerning small changes in power pack performance that might otherwise go undetected. If this is not practical, we suggest keeping a log book for each power pack so that inspections can be easily documented for future review. Here’s a suggested checklist that you can use. Click here
4) Keep it clean – A clean engine and power pack interior will allow for easier identification of small oil or coolant leaks. So it is important to add regular cleaning schedules to your maintenance plan as well.
5) Check-in Frequently During Each Shift – Do not run a diesel power pack for long periods of time without periodic shift inspections. Consistently verify that is is running properly. Use your eyes and ears to detect warning signs of potential issues, such as; rough engine noises, changes in exhaust smoke, or any audible or visual alarms on the control panel.
Power Pool Plus suggests scheduling inspections at one-hour intervals or during routine reefer temperature checks. As mentioned earlier, a brief inspection log stored inside the power pack is a great way to keep an active report. Nothing elaborate, just a simple 5-10 item quick check list.
The point here is to simply make sure everything looks and sounds good in an effort to avoid a major, unexpected, and uncontrolled problem.
If this is not practical, such as running a power pack on an unmanned barge, a thorough and complete pre-trip inspection should be performed.
6) Use the Right Fluids – Today’s engines require very specific lubricant and coolant fluids for proper operation. In fact, using the wrong fluids might void factory warranty stipulations. Gone are the days of simply adding water to a low radiator.
If you are unsure which fluids should be used in your power pack, contact Power Pool Plus.
7) Other Considerations – there are tools available to you from the engine manufacturer that can help your team identify problems and add another level of safety. Many are available directly from your local Cummins Part Distribution Center and include, but are not limited to:
- High Temperature Sensors
- Low Water Temperature Sensors
- Low Oil Pressure Sensors
Be advised that the installation of sensors not already on the engine may require programming of the digital control panel. Should you have questions, please contact us directly.
A properly designed power pack that is built specifically for your application will provide years of quality service. Stay ahead of potential problems. Make frequent and consistent maintenance scheduling an essential part of your PM plan.
Have questions or need more information?
Contact Power Pool Plus Today
Purpose Built Power Generation Solutions for Refrigerated Transport
For over 25 years Power Pool Plus has been a global leader in building, selling, and renting power generation solutions that are ‘Purpose Built’ for the refrigerated transportation industry. We are committed to the market segments in which you operate including Ports, Shipping Lines, Barge Lines, Produce Growers, and Intermodal operations.