MILWAUKEE, WIS. — Fuel is one of the greatest operating costs for any contractor who owns heavy equipment so working in a way that can save fuel can end up saving a lot of money, says the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
“To reduce fuel use, you have to know how and when fuel is being wasted,” said William Bernhard, technical and safety services manager for the AEM, in a statement, adding contractors can start by examining top fuel usage influencers in off-highway applications. “Machines equipped with telematics can provide actionable data by tracking dozens of data points so that workers can gain valuable insights to help save fuel.”
Idle time is one of the largest contributors to fuel inefficiency and can help manage fuel consumption.
To decrease idle times, operators can take advantage of fuel-saving technology, such as auto-idle and auto-shutdown where a machine can idle for a preset period of time.
AEM also suggests examining the patterns in the machine’s idle times. If a machine idles for short periods of time, such as a few seconds to a few minutes frequently throughout the day, that may mean the machine is at a bottleneck in the workflow.
“However, if a machine idles for several minutes at a time or more, infrequently throughout the day, that probably means the operator is not shutting down the machine when on break or on the phone, when exiting the machine, or when having their work interrupted for a longer period of time,” indicates an AEM release. “In these cases, a discussion is needed with the operator regarding company expectations, to take the necessary steps to decrease idle time.”
How an operator uses a machine can also influence fuel efficiency and small changes in behavior can have a big impact on fuel use.
One easy way operators can save fuel is by using the appropriate work mode, which makes it easier for operators to match the power needed to the application at hand.
In order to set up a jobsite to optimize fuel use, a company needs to examine data related to jobsite workflow, including equipment capacities, the number of each machine on site, equipment and material locations, terrain and more, the release indicates.
According to Bernhard, another issue is maintenance. This includes checking fuel filters on the machines, from your suppliers, the storage tanks at your jobsites and your base fuel storage facilities.
“By tracking how much fuel is used in applications, the amount and type of idle time, and analyzing other machine data, you can get a good picture of when fuel is wasted,” said Bernhard in the statement.
“Combine this with fully understanding and using the fuel-saving features of your machines, and you will be able to get the most out of each gallon.”