One aspect of proper hydraulic hammer maintenance that can be overlooked is how the hammer is stored while not in use. Incorrect hydraulic hammer storage can damage the hammer, making it difficult to operate when it is taken out of storage to be used at the next job site.
Proper hydraulic hammer storage requires a few steps after use to prepare the machinery for short term or long term storage. By using these general storage tips along with specific storage directions, the hydraulic hammer will be protected while not in use and will make it easier to maintain for the next project.
General storage tips
Consult the manual
As they say, “When all else fails, read the manual.” But seriously, always consult your manual for proper hammer storage steps based on the make and model of your specific hydraulic hammer. The manual can provide insight into when to use short term storage methods versus long term storage methods. Using the manual will help you ensure the hammer is being stored properly, making it easy to take out of storage before the next job.
Store the hammer upright
The best way to store any hammer is upright. No matter how long the hammer will be stored, it should be kept in its proper orientation, meaning that the hydraulic hammer should be stored in an upright position with a secure foundation to keep it upright throughout the storage time.
Using the incorrect orientation, such as laying the hydraulic hammer on its side as opposed to upright, can damage seals and/or internal components, leading to leakage or poor operation once it’s out of storage. By keeping the hammer upright and following the necessary storage steps, it will not only lengthen the lifespan of the hammer, but it will also make it easy to prepare for the next project when you bring it out of storage.
Use a stand or sturdy support
Depending on the size and type of hammer you can store it with the tool bit installed, or with the tool bit removed completely. Ideally, you want to store the hydraulic hammer on level and firm ground with the proper stand, support, and positioning. This will keep it secure and prevent costly additional maintenance.
Follow the necessary storage steps
There are three ways to store your hydraulic hammer, each with their own specific set of steps. For short term storage there is one standard set of instructions, for long term storage there is a standard set along with an alternative set, depending on your preference and storage situation.
Short Term Storage Steps
1: Place the hammer horizontally on wooden blocks to support the tool.
2: Remove the tool retainer(s) and disconnect the hammer from the excavator.
3: Cap off the hydraulic lines with a properly fitting hydraulic cap. Allowing water to enter the hydraulic lines will cause expensive damage.
4: Grease the tool retainer(s), bushings, and upper shank of the tool.
5: Reinstall the tool in the hammer.
6: Cover the hydraulic hammer with a weather resistant covering like a tarp. It’s important that water is not allowed to accumulate in the lower area of the hammer.
Long Term Storage Steps
1: Remove the tool from the hammer.
2: Grease the tool retainers, chuck housing, and upper shank of the tool.
3: Release the backhead nitrogen charge pressure (for backhead charged hammers)
4: Push the piston as far up inside the hammer as possible.
5: Reinstall the tool.
6: Cover the hydraulic hammer with a tarp or other weather resistant covering.
Alternate Long Term Storage Steps
1: Store the hammer upright in a safety stand.
3: Use the hammer weight to push the piston up inside the hammer. If necessary, release some nitrogen from the backhead until the piston is able to push completely up to the top of its stroke.
4: Cover the hydraulic hammer with a tarp or other weather resistant covering.
Storing a hydraulic hammer properly between projects or for a few months, can make or break the lifespan of the hammer. By taking the extra steps to store the hammer properly you can save yourself a lot of money by protecting the most expensive components from weather and corrosion. Making sure the piston is completely retracted into the hammers allows the hydraulic seals to protect against corrosion which leads to premature seal failure and leakage.
When the time comes to put the hammer back into service, any nitrogen charge that was released will need to be recharged. Fel-Tech can provide this service for you, and we also offer nitrogen charge devices so you can complete the process yourself.