As experts in the wood chipper industry, we often get to see the best of what these machines can do when cared for properly. Unfortunately, we also see what can happen to chippers when certain aspects are overlooked.
Here’s the truth: preventative maintenance is always an essential part of working with heavy machinery like a chipper. In the spirit of helping you avoid costly performance and operational issues with your products, we’ve compiled five of the most common mistakes people make when using a chipper — and how to avoid them.
Note: Anyone opening the chipper hood should always follow all the safety shutdown procedures outlined in their product’s manual.
1. Running the Chipper with Dull or Nicked Knives
The knives are obviously the most integral part of a chipper, but you’d be surprised how many people tend to run their chippers with dull knives. Aside from inhibiting the chipper’s ability to do its job efficiently, operating a machine with dull knives can also cause it to vibrate wildly — something that can be a major safety hazard in addition to affecting the chip quality. Dull knives will also result in poor chip quality.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to avoid these pitfalls: simply check the knives before each use. Inspecting the chipper’s knives is a crucial part of daily maintenance, and it only takes a few minutes in most cases. Just open the hood and look each knife over for any signs of dullness and nicks. If you notice signs of wear and tear, you can have the knives serviced in sets or use a Bandit knife saver kit to restore dull edges.
2. Forgetting to Adjust the Anvil
The anvil is a stationary component of a chipper with a longer lifespan than most other parts, so it’s easy to overlook routine maintenance. However, if left unadjusted over time, you may begin to notice excessive vibration, long slivers in the chips, too much dust, and uneven pieces. All of these issues can be a result of improper anvil-to-knife clearance.
A good rule of thumb is to check and adjust your anvil each time you replace or sharpen your knives. The ideal anvil-to-knife clearance can be found in the instruction manual.
Here’s Gavin discussing maintenance tips for your knives and anvil:
3. Neglecting the Slide Box
The slide box is yet another wood chipper component that is easy for most to overlook in terms of maintenance, despite how simple the actual maintenance part is. We recommend using oil to lubricate the components instead of standard grease. Simply raise it up and lightly apply the oil to the plates so it feeds better.
4. Overlooking the Belts
Belts are responsible for spinning the chipper disk or drum, so they take quite a bit of abuse over time. Chipper belts can stretch, crack, fray, and even rot, so they must be routinely checked to ensure proper working order. The same goes with checking the tension on the belts — tensioning the belts too tightly is a common mistake with chippers.
If you have a brand new chipper, check the belts within 10 hours of its first extensive use to make sure everything looks as it should. Once you’re past the brand new phase, check the belts after every 50 hours of usage, or once per month.
5. Forgetting to Grease the Bearings
As with almost any piece of heavy machinery, it’s absolutely essential to keep bearings greased. Neglecting your bearings is a surefire way to fork over money for expensive repairs down the road (not to mention the costs of potential downtime during those repairs).
In most cases, you can grease your bearing as much as you’d like; just be sure to refer to the owner’s manual if you need some additional guidance. (Note: this approach does not apply to the Bandit 12XP models.)
No one really enjoys routine maintenance — especially on a daily basis — but this is always the best way to ensure your chippers are continually providing optimal performance on the job site. Just a few minutes each day is all it takes to keep your chipper working in prime condition while simultaneously mitigating the potential for any significant issues in the future.
Cal-Line Equipment is the largest Bandit distributor in the world. We proudly offer a massive selection of Bandit inventory ranging from hand-fed chippers to stump grinders and everything in between. We also excel in keeping your machines running their best with our extensive parts & service department. Whether you’re looking for a new wood chipper product or simply need repairs and service, we’ve got you covered. Drop by and see us today at any of our locations, or contact our team to schedule a demo. We look forward to heari