Don’t Forget To Inspect Your Bucket Truck

Social Issues

Bucket truck operators and crews rely heavily on how well their devices help to accomplish all aerial tasks efficiently and safely. It is imperative that these complex machines undergo proper maintenance and testing before anyone utilizes them for any applications. Operational safety and economics for these powerful machines also rely mainly on a proper maintenance and examination schedule.
Importance of Bucket Truck Inspections
Although most aerial lift machines are designed and built for safety, factors such as accidents, fatigue and overloads may result in the development of some major problems. Regular annual inspections of aerial lift devices are required by two authorized government agencies called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). Through regularly scheduled inspections, developing problems can be identified earlier, before they cause downtime or work site injuries. When defects are identified earlier, the fleet company can be spared from more expensive repairs. For repairing, remounting and rebuilding equipment, most managers seek competitive quotes and thus experience substantial monetary savings when they have more time to shop around.
Types of Tests
The different types of tests can be categorized as structural, functional and operational, dielectric, and optional tests. The most common types done with the machine are the structural tests which include visual, acoustic emission, magnetic particle, dye penetrant, ultrasonic and torque examining.
Visual Tests
Visual inspections are usually performed on areas that are easily accessible which includes the chassis, outriggers, pedestal, turntable, rotation bearing, elbow, upper boom, bucket, winch, charts and placards. Upon checking the vehicle’s chassis, the operator must make sure that the truck frame, aerial sub-frame, suspension, PTO, pintle hook and brake components are thoroughly checked, as well as the steering, electrical, hydraulic, cooling systems and exhausts are examined. Both the lower and upper booms should be inspected, paying close attention to the structure, welds, lift cylinders and attachments, leveling cables or rods, boom rest supports, insulator, mounting brackets, and other components.
The accepted method in the industry of examining fiberglass and steel structures is called the acoustic emission test which is also part of the visual inspection. This type of examination includes setting up sensors on the boom and defects can be detected by the emission of sounds through these sensors. Both non-destructive examination methods which are magnetic particle and dye penetrant are used to identify any cracks in the surface on the ferrous material, except for dye which is also used for non-ferrous material. Ultrasonic examining is used to detect flaws in accessible critical pins, and torque testing is performed on critical fasteners.
Functional, Operational and Dielectric Tests
To check the condition of the bearings, pins, cylinders, bushings, bucket leveling mechanism, outriggers and holding valves, functional and operational examinations are executed. Through these tests, any worn gear boxes or bearings, pins or bushings can be detected. Also any loose fasteners can be discovered which are very critical to the vehicle’s aerial operations. Dielectric examinations are performed to verify the strength of the electric insulation in the FRP of both the upper and the lower booms, upper control system, tool circuit and bucket liners.
Inspection is very important to the well-being and functionality of bucket truck as well as the overall position of the fleet company who owns these pieces of equipment. So before going out to the next operation, make sure that inspections and tests are done thoroughly to these powerful and complex machines.

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