Ben Rice | Agriculture Industry Representative
What do dairy farms, snowy streets and fertilizer co-ops all have in common? Corrosive environments that are NOT friendly to your machines. Don’t worry, we’re not here to be the bearer of bad news. We caught up with Ben Rice, Cat® skid steer and compact track loader expert, to highlight some tips and product solutions to help you prevent rust, as well as protect your machines and their resale value.
Why is machine protection especially important in farming or snow and ice management?
This was actually a big topic of conversation when members of our product team attended the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) tradeshow in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this summer—concerns about machine corrosion and rust in applications involving salt, brine and manure and preventive techniques to avoid this type of damage.
When it comes to rust, it’s less about the hours on the machine and more about the time exposed to the elements in that application. Whether you’re operating on a dairy farm or clearing snow and ice in the winter months, your machine is being exposed to corrosive substances. Manure, fertilizer and brine from the streets can build up on the interior and exterior of your equipment, ultimately causing premature rust damage.
How can you protect your machine against rust damage?
There are several solutions on the market today that provide an extra layer of protection against corrosive environments. Some can be retroactively applied on your machine; however, it’s recommended to have this layer applied at the factory to prevent rust damage from the start and keep costs down.
Caterpillar recently started offering a product called EquipCoat™, a corrosion inhibiting coating that’s available for all skid steer and compact track loaders produced in the Sanford, North Carolina, plant. Applied at the factory, it encapsulates all surfaces, providing a sealed barrier from corrosive substances. Solutions like EquipCoat not only protect against rust, but also oxidation and fading paint.
We also recommend washing your equipment as often as possible to rinse off any residue that may have built up on components during operation. However, when time is limited, products like EquipCoat can help prevent corrosive damage until the next wash. It’s also durable enough to withstand pressure washing.
What are the main benefits of applying a protective product, like EquipCoat, to your machine?
Simply stated: decreased downtime, increased resale.
Fasteners, hydraulic fittings and hoses that are unprotected are at a high risk for rust. With an extra layer of interior and exterior protection, you don’t have to worry about rust taking over your machine. Less time repairing surface rust means more time on the job.
Additionally, the first visible sign of run-down equipment is rust. It signals poor machine conditions. Not only is rust unattractive, it can raise questions about how well the machine was maintained. Taking steps to protect your machine from corrosion, like adding a protective layer at the factory and regular washing, will ultimately help maintain its value when it comes time to trade-in or sell.
If you’re considering a new Cat skid steer or compact track loader purchase and you work in a corrosive environment, it’s a great time to talk to your dealer about applying EquipCoat right from the factory. Applying an extra layer of protection provides a huge return in terms of the machine value and performance over time.
Agriculture Industry Representative
Having spent his formative years on a tobacco farm, Ben Rice went on in the agriculture field to earn degrees in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science from North Carolina State University. Rice now brings his invaluable expertise to Caterpillar as an industry sales and service representative.