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Avoid Common Operating Mistakes that Wear Out Hydraulic Hammers


Hydraulic hammer attachments are designed to withstand substantial abuse. Yet, common operating mistakes can quickly shorten their operating life expectancy. Train operators on practices to avoid, and look for designs that can minimize damage if, and when, misuse occurs.
Hydraulic breaker attachments are designed to withstand the harshest of operating conditions. Yet, the repeated impacts and vibration they're subjected to throughout their use will inevitably result in wear over time, necessitating a rebuild or, in severe cases, outright replacement.
How quickly a breaker reaches this point lies in part in the hands of the equipment operator. Improper operation can significantly shorten breaker component life and drive up repair/replacement costs. As such, it's important to recognize and correct poor operating practices before they result in premature failures.

Compatibility is key

Before an operator even gets behind the controls, he or she needs to make sure the carrier and breaker attachment are a good fit.

Match the size/weight of the breaker to the carrier lift capabilities to ensure operating stability. Then make sure the hydraulic capabilities are compatible.
It's also important to make sure the breaker and carrier are properly set up for the application. For example, some jobs require the breaker to be operated with part or all of the attachment submerged under water. In such cases, the breaker and carrier must be properly set up for underwater use.


Know where to start.

Operators should be trained to start breaking at a corner or edge of the material and work their way inward, and to frequently reposition the tool. Encourage the use of "scoring" to penetrate material - in other words, break in one spot, move the tool over, break in another spot and so on.

Operators should also be instructed to keep blank firing to a minimum. Blank firing occurs when the breaker is operated with the tool suspended in the air, causing the piston to fire inside the housing. This can be hard on tie rods.


Minimizing damage by design.

No matter how diligent you are in training, or policing, your operators, breaker misuse will periodically occur.
To start with, breaker manufacturers are simplifying the daily service operators are required to perform. For example, most breaker attachments require greasing of the lower tool holder bushings and tool every two to three hours to prevent metal on metal contact that can cause premature tool bushing wear. Auto lube systems are available to help eliminate manual greasing requirements.

Other features in today's breaker designs are intended to minimize the wear and tear encountered during operation. For example, vibration dampening helps to protect both the breaker and the carrier.


No substitute for training

Even with such design advancements, wear and damage will gradually occur over a breaker's life. As such, basic inspection and service of the attachment should be part of an operator's training regimen

Understanding the basic working principles of a breaker can also prove beneficial. Taking steps to enhance operator expertise is just one more way to keep breaker life-cycle costs under control.