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Keeping a hydraulic breaker properly maintained is the key to productivity

These maintenance tips will ensure that your breaker is ready to work when needed. Hydraulic breakers turn compact loaders and excavators into powerful demolition machines, breaking concrete, asphalt, rock and other materials. Like any piece of equipment, keeping a hydraulic breaker maintained is the key to keeping it running productively.

Tool and bushing

The tool and bushing are the most important parts of a hydraulic breaker to maintain, and keeping these components lubricated is critical to keeping the breaker functioning. It is easy to tell if lubrication on the point and bushing is required because a film of lubricant should always be visible on the tool.

As a general rule, the tool and bushing should be lubricated with grease once every two to four hours of operation. However, jobsites with high levels of dust, or jobs where the breaker is working in a horizontal or inverted position, call for more frequent lubrication of the tool and bushing.

Daily inspection

Like any other piece of equipment, a breaker requires daily, weekly and yearly maintenance checks. Contractors should perform maintenance checks on a hydraulic breaker at the same time the checks are done on the loader or excavator carrying the attachment.

Before operating a breaker, the operator should make sure the unit is in proper condition to be operated. This includes checking the following components to make sure they are not loose or damaged:

  • Attachment pins, retainers and locks.
  • Bracket cap bolts and nuts.
  • Tool retainers and locks.
  • Hoses and connectors.

If these components are loose or damaged, they should be replaced before the breaker is operated. If any nuts, bolts or retaining hardware are missing, they should be replaced before working with the breaker.

Hydraulic breakers work with material that is abrasive and becomes jagged during the demolition process. This material may cut small holes in hoses. Before beginning work each day, all hoses, connectors and ball valves on the breaker and the loader or excavator should be inspected for any sign of leaks. If a leak is found, the equipment should be repaired before it is used.

Jobsite conditions cause wear on a breaker, and operators should look for cracks or other signs of excessive wear on the cradle, bracket cap or side plates. Cracks or excessive wear on the breaker require immediate attention.

The lower bushing is another area that will show wear. Hydraulic breakers come with a tool that operators can use to check the bushing and the retainer pin for wear. The tool shows whether there is too much wear for the breaker to be used.

Weekly inspection

Weekly maintenance also involves looking for cracks and excessive wear on the surface of the point, on the retainers and retainer bores and on the piston strike face. Cracks or wear on these components should be addressed if found.

Bolts and nuts also need to be inspected each week. Contractors should use a torque wrench to check the tightness of the bolts and nuts each week.

After every 100 hours of operation, inspect the couplers on the breaker side. Constant pounding of hydraulic oil on the accumulator and back pressure wear out the couplers. Sometimes contractors say they can’t unhook their breaker. The likely reason is that they have never changed the coupler.

Annual inspection

At least once a year, contractors need to check to make sure the hydraulic system flow and pressure on the breaker are operating normally.

Maintaining tool carriers

Performing daily, weekly and yearly maintenance on the loader or excavator carrying a breaker is just as important as keeping the attachment working properly. A loader or excavator that is not maintained can damage the breaker.

Most important is the hydraulic system on the loader or excavator because the system powers the breaker. Hydraulic breakers are demanding on compact loader and excavator hydraulic systems, which is why it is recommended that the interval for routine hydraulic system maintenance be cut in half when breakers are used on these carriers.

Systems that support a loader or excavator hydraulic system, such as cooling equipment, also need to be maintained. Efficient cooling of the hydraulic system will prevent heat-related damage or failures of the carrier or the breaker.

During the operation of hydraulic breaker, the working tool and internal bushing should be checked every 2 hours and lubricated with a special grease with antiscuff additives.