Regardless of your stance on the results of the 2016 presidential election, one thing is clear: there are big plans and opportunities in store for American construction and equipment companies in the coming years. With a greater focus on domestic infrastructure, Donald Trump hopes to invest up to $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements over the next ten years, meaning more work and jobs. But how?

The Current State of American Infrastructure

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) releases a report grading the infrastructure of the entire United States as well as each state. With an A being Exceptional, a B being Good, a C being Mediocre, a D being Poor, and an F being Failing, the United States received the GPA of a D+ in 2013. States like Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri each received a C- for their infrastructure performance. This grade was calculated by assessing each state’s as well as the country’s overall current capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation, public safety, resilience, and innovation of every category that makes up our infrastructure, including:

  • Energy
  • Parks
  • Roads
  • Ports
  • Bridges
  • Wastewater
  • Levees
  • Drinking water
  • Schools
  • Transportation
  • Rail
  • Inland waterways
  • Aviation
  • Solid waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Dams

Nearly 10 percent of America’s bridges, about 60,000, are classified as deficient according to an analysis completed by the Federal Highway Administration. The American Society of Civil Engineers says 32 percent of our major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, which increases the risk of damaging cars and creating dangerous driving conditions. The Federal Aviation Administration estimated airport congestion and flight delays cost the country nearly $22 billion in 2012. We need all of these components to be working efficiently and effectively; however, receiving a poor grade for our daily needs is an issue our latest presidential candidates acknowledged. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump carried infrastructure improvements at the forefront of their political initiatives for a reason.

The Construction Industry in the Next Four Years

Now that Donald Trump is the president-elect t, one of his main goals during his term is to steer spending away from globalization efforts and focus it more toward our infrastructure. According to his platform, President-Elect Trump hopes to pursue an “America’s Infrastructure First” approach that will encourage investments in transportation, clean water, a more modern and reliable electricity grid, telecommunications, and security. In turn, this would create thousands of new jobs in construction and manufacturing in order to sustain the building plans for new railways and bridges, new waterways, improved erosion control systems, and more expansive energy and telecommunication.

In order to enable the economic development that Trump is working toward, construction in the aforementioned areas is necessary. According to the infrastructure report card released by ASCE, the United States requires an estimated investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020 in order to reach a grade-A infrastructure. President-Elect Trump plans to invest up to $1 trillion in infrastructure alone over the next ten years. This may not meet the ASCE’s timeline, but it’s definitely a step toward it. This investment will not only pay for new infrastructure plans but also work to streamline the building permit and approval processes currently in place as well as improve project delivery and cut wasteful spending.

Trump plans to focus on steel manufacturing, making it the backbone of our economy. With the hopes of restoring the industrial age, that means the need for industrial equipment will be at an all-time high. Preparing your equipment fleet and workforce will be critical to keep up with the plans for growth.

Prepare Your Fleet with Rough Terrain Cranes from RTL Equipment

Whether these plans come into play during Trump’s term as president or beyond, we at least know infrastructure has become and will likely remain a primary concern in politics and elections to come. We need to be ready and open-minded as new infrastructural needs arise and bring the best in equipment and expertise to every job. Now is the time to assess the condition of your cranes, excavators, and crawlers. If they’re showing signs of wear, now is the time to start looking for replacement cranes for sale or rent in your area. If your equipment is in good condition, it would still be wise to find a certified equipment dealer and maintenance crew should your construction equipment need any repairs, especially as these infrastructure plans begin in full-swing. Finding a company that can provide emergency service should you need it will be crucial in keeping up with Trump’s plans for our infrastructure. Learn more about the best equipment products for your application and how to maintain your equipment.

Construction equipment downtime has a variety of detrimental effects, including loss in profit, decreased productivity, increased budgets for repairs, and a pushed back timeline on project completion. Rather than dealing with the worse-case-scenario, instead plan ahead in order to avoid downtime. Some preventative actions you can take include planned maintenance and inspection, monitor current downtime occurrences, involve your employees, and look into equipment upgrades.

Monitor Current Equipment Downtime Patterns

If you are facing regular downtime due to equipment repairs, start a record of which equipment is failing or requiring repairs—more specifically which parts—and how often. If you’re noticing certain parts are wearing very often after a certain type of job or your equipment is struggling during a specific season, then you can make note of these observations to start establishing your equipment maintenance plan. You can then prioritize your focus regarding which components of the equipment and cranes require more attention as well as factors that are causing the downtime, like improper use of the equipment.

Maintenance Plan for Cranes & Construction Equipment

The best way to avoid downtime is by preventing it altogether with regular equipment maintenance and inspections. Not only are these services planned but so are their expenses. By inspecting and servicing parts, especially ones that wear a little more often, you can detect the weathering early on and repair or replace the damage before facing parts or equipment failure, ultimately leading to downtime and costly replacements. Regular maintenance is also known to extend the life of your cranes and construction equipment.

Another good practice to exercise everyday before starting on the job is having your team inspect each piece of equipment before use and end the day re-inspecting each. This will ensure you find any problems or possible damage on your cranes and can get the repairs completed quickly so as not disrupt your project and timeline. It is especially important to inspect your cranes and construction equipment after seasonal storms and changes. Operating your equipment during the wintertime could have worn out some parts, so inspecting those for damage will prepare for equipment for the seasons and jobs to come.

Work with your construction crane and equipment dealer to establish a maintenance plan based on manufacturer recommendations for timing, parts, inspections, and more. At RTL Equipment, we have an in-house equipment service technicians who will come to your warehouse and service the equipment on-site. They are trained to repair forklifts, cranes, excavators, and more, and they are educated in OEM standards. We carry a wide range of stock parts for our Terex, Doosan, Kobelco, and Mantis lines. Scheduling this maintenance for each piece of equipment will give you the choice and control of when the equipment is not in use rather than having it fail right when you need it.

We also recommend you keep a detailed record of maintenance performed on each piece of equipment. Should you choose to sell the equipment later on, you increase your resale value by showing that you regularly serviced the equipment and took care of it. While you own the equipment, maintenance will increase your control of cost of ownership and improve your overall bottom line as well as increase the return of investment.

Involve Your Crane & Equipment Operators

One of the main reasons a piece of equipment fails or a part needs replacing is due to user error. If your crane operators are not properly trained in using the heavy-duty cranes, you may not even know the equipment needs repair until it is too late and you face downtime with costly repairs. Putting your crane and equipment operators through regular trainings will ensure they are using the equipment effectively, even as manufacturers update operation recommendations. This is also a matter of safety on your job site. If a worker is misusing heavy-duty equipment, a serious accident could occur. Make sure your operators are fully trained in the use of your cranes, forklifts, and excavators ensure the highest level of productivity.

If your operators are trained and using the equipment in the most effective way, then it would also be useful ask for their input on equipment performance. They are using the equipment firsthand and on a regular basis, so they will be the first to notice if anything seems out of the ordinary out on the job. Operators will also be a great reference to determine what parts need maintenance and how frequently they need the service.

Construction Equipment Upgrades

As your equipment gets older, it becomes more and more obsolete in the industry. Getting parts replaced and old equipment repaired therefore becomes a more difficult task. Also, as the equipment gets older, it becomes less effective, leading to decreased productivity and more regular need for repairs and possibly downtime. When you’re noticing that your equipment is lagging, consider upgrading your cranes to newer models or upgraded controls and components. You can extend the useful life of your equipment with the upgrade and even increase productivity and safety on the work site. Contact your crane and construction equipment dealer to learn more about available upgrades for your equipment.

If you need regular equipment inspections, assistance establishing a  maintenance plan, or upgrade recommendations, RTL Equipment can help. We are highly trained in OEM standards for each line of cranes and construction equipment we offer, so we know directly from the manufacturers what is needed for your equipment to last and work effectively for your needs. Take a look at our large stock of cranes, forklifts, and equipment parts available for sale and rent at RTL Equipment today.

For many contractors in the Midwest, construction season is year-round despite the cold and snow. Whether you will store your heavy-duty equipment until spring or operate during the winter months, there are steps you can take to properly prepare your machinery for the upcoming winter.

Storing Your Construction Equipment for Winter

Before storing your construction equipment away for the winter, always be sure to conduct a multipoint check of your machines to ensure the tires, brakes, and parts are in working order. Lubricate or replace worn parts before stowing the equipment. Fall is also a good time to verify the hours on the machine to determine whether or not it’s due for some required maintenance. As always, the owner’s manual is a good resource to consult when it comes to maintaining your industrial equipment.

Store Equipment Indoors if Possible

Keeping your construction equipment in an enclosed facility during the harsh winter months will protect it from the weather elements, allowing it to start easier when you are ready to use it again. Labor is also saved with indoor storage by eliminating the need to brush off accumulated snow. Remember to disassemble any attachments and store them separately to protect hinges and joints from damage.

Protect Equipment Stored Outside

Doosan crane in winterIf it’s not possible to store your equipment inside, park it in a safe place outside away from any muddy areas. It’s also a good idea to jack skid-steer wheels about an inch off the ground to prevent flat spots on the tracks. To avoid unnecessary wear and tear, try parking your machines on wooden boards so they don’t freeze to the ground. Other outdoor storage tips include:

  • applying a thin layer of grease or petroleum jelly to all exposed cylinder piston rods to combat rust
  • retracting hydraulic cylinders
  • lowering attachments to the ground
  • releasing the hydraulic pressure
  • removing the battery and storing it in a dry, warm place (remember to charge periodically)

Lastly, cover the equipment with a tarp to block out moisture and prevent snow buildup. You’ll also want to start the engine until it gets up to working temperature once a month. Then, check the fluid levels and operate the controls to make sure everything is still operating correctly.

Operating Industrial Equipment in the Winter

For contractors who still need to operate their equipment during the winter, following these tips and the recommendations listed in the owner’s manual of the machine will reduce the likelihood of breakdowns and premature equipment failures.

Check Fluids and Filtration Regularly

Extreme cold weather affects oil and fluid viscosity, which can cause wear to your equipment. In extremely cold climates, check to see if arctic hydraulic oil is appropriate for your machine.

  • Make sure all components are properly lubricated to reduce wear and tear.
  • Clean the fuel tank cap or vent thoroughly, inspecting for water and sediment in the fuel.
  • Fill the fuel tank after every shift to avoid freezing.
  • Inspect the air filter periodically for damage or debris that could hinder its maximum efficiency.
  • Replace the air filter regularly.

Inspect Cooling Systems and Hoses

Cooling systems, reservoirs, and hoses should be inspected and maintained frequently in order to prevent freezing and corrosion. Coolant also lubricates shaft shields and minimizes cavitation, which is a condition that can erode components.

  • Flush coolants and replace them according to OEM standards and intervals.
  • Confirm coolant in the radiator is always filled to the cap.
  • Inspect the cap for relief pressure.
  • Ensure coolant concentration remains at 50%.

Keep the Battery Charged and Clean

Cold weather itself doesn’t have a large impact on the lifespan of your battery, but it can cause stress to certain components. The best way to maintain your equipment’s battery throughout the winter season is to keep it fully charged, allow it to warm up before starting, and clean any dirt, debris, or corrosion. Avoid frequently starting and stopping the machine as this action doesn’t allow the battery to fully recharge and can cause problems to the battery and the equipment.

Maintain the Machine’s Undercarriage

The undercarriage of an excavator or backhoe is the most susceptible to wear and tear, particularly in the winter. Fall is a perfect time to schedule your annual undercarriage inspection to ensure your machine is ready to take on the harshest season. You should conduct a visual inspection every day to keep the undercarriage clear of mud, snow, and debris and to check for any loose or worn parts.

Inspect the Tires

2000 Terex All-Terrain Crane tires

In addition to maintaining the undercarriage every day, you’ll also want to make sure the tires receive a daily inspection. Keep the tires inflated to the proper tire pressure, remove debris, and vigilantly look out for any signs of cracking or chunking. Make sure the tires wear evenly, and if you notice any sort of damage or cracking, you must replace them. To avoid added stress, remember to remove counterweights when not in use.

Adjust Operational Habits

Operators shouldn’t aim to just get through the winter; they should work to maintain the equipment’s longevity. To ensure your machine makes it through or even beyond its projected lifespan, contractors will have to adjust their habits in cold and snowy weather conditions by minimizing high operating speeds and on-road travel. Alternating your turning directions also limits wear on the machine and prevents premature breakdowns.

Warm Up the Engine

One of the most important actions you can take during winter operation is to always run the engine until it reaches operating temperature before attempting to use the equipment. Failing to warm up the engine properly can blow out components and lead to expensive repairs, not to mention unanticipated downtime. Allow the machine to stretch and cycle through the functions to distribute warm oil throughout until all parts operate efficiently.

Keep in mind that abiding by the owner’s manual and staying on top of preventative maintenance will ensure your crane, crawler, excavator, and other industrial equipment will last for many years, and not just throughout the winter season. If you need spare parts or want to schedule routine maintenance service, contact RTL Equipment before the temperatures drop!

RTL Equipment recently delivered a new Terex SK415 tower crane to Reynolds Crane and Rigging in Madison, WI. Reynolds Crane are very enthusiastic about the future tower crane market in the Wisconsin, Illinois region, and are looking forward to keeping their new Terex SK415 busy. The crane was erected at a new construction site near central Madison, and the Wisconsin Capital Building.

Reynolds personnel were extremely impressed with the condition of the new crane when it arrived from Italy. Everything was very well organized, which allowed for efficient assembly of the crane.

RTL Equipment, Inc. is looking forward to securing more of the fast growing tower crane market. .

RTL Equipment Sells Terex Tower Crane in WisconsinTerex SK415 Tower Crane sold in Madison, WIRTL Equipment Delivers Tower Crane To Reynolds Crane and Rigging in WisconsinTerex SK415 Tower Crane - RTL EquipmentRTL Equipment now sells Tower Cranes

Recently, RTL Equipment, Inc. took a group of sixteen customers to Doosan’s ROC (Real Operation Center) in Tucson, Arizona for hands on product testing and education, combined with some fun and recreation in the desert mountains.

by Ron Hadaway

Improvements to Tier 4 engines help burn cleaner fuel and reduce air emissions. To meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel requirement standards, Tier 4-compliant engines—designed with high-pressure common rail (HPCR) systems and fuel injectors—use ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel.

Water can be introduced into fuel as early as the refinery stage and continue to be present through the terminal, distributor and pump stages. During cold weather conditions, water molecules can detach from diesel molecules, and because they are heavier than diesel molecules, they tend to settle at the bottom of diesel fuel tanks and bulk storage tanks. This can cause potential engine problems in equipment and lead to bacteria growth in the tanks. Today’s lower sulfur amounts in diesel fuel multiplies saturates, which increases the tendency of fuel to gel and plug the fuel filter during cold weather conditions.

The following eight fuel management best practices can help reduce machine downtime and costly injector plugging from water, debris and other contaminants found in diesel fuel.

Tip 1: Test bulk fuel tanks every six months.

When storing diesel fuel, the last thing you want is water or other contaminants in your storage tank. Water can degrade the fuel chemical structure and eventually lead to pump, filter and injector problems.

Every six months, you or a professional diesel fuel cleaning and inspection service should test your supply tanks for contaminants. A small amount of water can be removed, but if significant amounts of water or sludge are found, the entire tank should be drained and cleaned. To help monitor your supply tank, keep a preventive maintenance log for the tank that includes maintenance history, filter changes and particle counts.

Tip 2: Keep supply tank fuel filters clean.

Often machines are filled with a 5- or 10-gallon plastic container. How do you know that the container is completely clean or how the fuel was stored before adding it to the container? To bypass these issues, make sure any fuel entering a storage tank passes through a dispensing filter, which will help increase the effectiveness of the machine’s fuel filter and help prevent contaminants from entering. Additionally, fuel tank filters should be capped and the tank vent must be filtered. Tank filters typically have a 10-micron-or-fewer fuel filter to help remove moisture as fuel is dispensed through the vent.

Tip 3: Fill machine tanks at the end of each workday.

Diesel fuel can reach high temperatures during the workday. As the machine cools, condensation can form in air gaps. Make sure every machine is filled with diesel fluid at the end of the day to reduce your maintenance costs.

Tip 4: Use 2-micron fuel filters.

Some fuel filters chosen for HPCR engines are highly effective at trapping down to 2-micron contaminants and removing free and emulsified water. No filter will remove all contaminants. However, using the cleanest fuel possible and an efficient fuel filter help minimize the amount of particles entering the machine. Additional fuel filter best practices include:

  • Drain the water trap daily.
  • Never prefill a new filter during installation.
  • Never open fuel connections in the system downstream of the fuel filter.
  • Use the manufacturer’s recommended replacement fuel filter.

In case contaminated fuel is used in a machine, it is best to purchase an extra fuel filter for every Tier 4, HPCR-engine-equipped machine.

Tip 5: Prepare for cold weather.

Much of the chemistry added in the ULSD fuel can present challenges for diesel fuel suppliers to consistently provide fuel that performs well in cold climates. However, you can utilize cold-weather practices, which include removing trapped water from your machine’s fuel filter daily, maintaining your machine’s battery state of charge for optimum cranking speed, installing an engine block heater and choosing the best engine oil and hydraulic/hydrostatic oil for the conditions. Maintain a cold-weather kit and follow the cold-starting procedures in your operation and maintenance manual.

Tip 6: Attend a fuel management clinic.

Heavy equipment dealers should be trained on fuel management, and they may host events to accurately relay those tips to you and your operators. On a daily basis, dealers can help assess your situation provide a plan on how to treat any fuel-related issues.

Tip 7: confirm the fuel’s cloud point.

A fuel’s cloud point is the temperature at which wax begins to drop out of fuel, creating a translucent appearance. The wax forms crystals—50 to 200 microns in size—that can quickly plug the fuel filter. The cloud point from the refinery is based on the geographic location and the time of year that the fuel is intended to be used, so make sure to ask your supplier to confirm the fuel’s cloud point.

Tip 8: Identify poor-quality fuel suppliers.

Seeking diesel fuel that meets your needs and choosing a reputable supplier are important. You may have to pay more for clean fuel, but investing in quality fuel that is blended appropriately for the climate may lower your consumption, provide fewer filter changes and deliver longer component life. Two questions you should ask before you buy are: “What micron level of filtration is used on your delivery line?” and “Is this the best fuel available for current conditions?” A good distributor will provide diesel that meets specifications for all environments.


This article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Construction Business Owner magazine. Visit to read more.


RTL Equipment, Inc. has been a major sponsor for several years of the Iowa Children’s Open golf tournament held each year at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville, IA. The golf outing celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, with all proceeds going to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital and the Iowa Children’s Museum, which is responsible for the Child Life Program at the hospital . This year, we are delighted to announce that the tournament raised a record amount of $144,000. RTL Equipment, Inc. would like to thank A1 Crane, Tri-State Crane, Doosan Construction, Kobelco Cranes, Tadano Cranes and Terex Cranes for their generous support of this event.

RTL Equipment Sponsors Tournament for Children's HospitalRTL Equipment Works in the Community