With the end of the season on our doorstep, winterization should be on your mind.
Winterization activities should be performed to guarantee the most efficient startup possible when your next season begins. Keeping your next season in mind while shutting down will go a long way toward maximizing efficiency in the New Year.
First, let’s take a look at the importance of winterizing your plant and preparing for your next season.
Why Winterize a Crushing Plant?
The primary goal of all crushing sites is to maximize efficiency, no matter the season.
The push for efficiency is exactly why some crushing plants aren’t winterized in the traditional sense. Plants in warmer climates, for example, keep production going through mild winters to maintain productivity. Plants in colder regions may find that the most efficient approach is to continue production 24/7, with a nightshift added during the winter months to minimize start up and shut down time while increasing production hours.
For many crushing plants, though, winterization with an extended time of shutdown is the most efficient option. If the plant doesn’t have the resources to function 24/7, the cold weather will make starting up the plant in the morning impractical.
Performing winterization can be beneficial because it allows a chance to clean up, analyze, and improve a crushing plant for the next crushing season.
What Goes into Winterizing?
The specifics of the winterization process will vary from plant to plant, but there are common items that most plants should consider.
Some of those include:
Draining all water. Standing water will freeze and damage the pipes. It is important to entirely drain them, leaving behind no residual water.
Loosening tension on all belts. Belts kept taught through changing temperatures and cold winter months will be much more likely to freeze in place because of increased contacting surface area between belt and flashing. Loosening belts will also allow for needed belt repairs during shut down.
Fully washing all screens. Doing this will minimize start up time by reducing time spent removing frozen material.
Digging out dump boxes. Doing this will prevent excess material from freezing and ensure a clean start next season.
Unhooking batteries. Leaving batteries hooked up during the winter months can possibly drain them, creating a need for replacements in the spring. It is also important to remove the batteries in your mobile equipment and store in a properly controlled environment.
Topping off all fluids. Leaving tanks low can cause condensation to accumulate on the inside as temperatures fluctuate; if the water builds up and then mixes with the contents of the tank, problems can arise.
How to Approach Winterization Strategically
In addition to the practical procedures that are involved in winterizing a crushing plant, there are a variety of more strategic components that can help prime a plant for success when your next season arrives.
Some of these include:
Designating the same crew for winterization and startup if possible. If you know you’ll be the one getting things going in the spring, you’re more likely to pay close attention to the details during shutdown. Having the same set of eyes during both phases of the operation allow for maximum quality assurance.
Taking time to analyze site needs and budget for repairs. We’ve discussed this process in detail before, but it’s worth restating that winter can be a time for equipment inspections. Take advantage of any shutdown time by examining equipment, completing repairs, and replacing wear parts before it’s time to start production next season.
Are You Ready for Winter?
Your goal as you approach winterization should be to prime your plant for success next season. When the time comes to start back up, you will want the process to be performed efficiently and without risk of downtime at the start of your new season.
Do you need assistance with winterizing or crushing equipment inspections? We’re here to help. At Mellott, we offer inspections and equipment servicing to ensure that you’ll be running at optimum efficiency when it matters most – and that you’ll be well positioned to start back up as smoothly as possible next season.
To be prepared as your season winds down, get in touch with us at 800.634.5634 to discuss your specific needs.