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In construction, survey equipment is used to cover a wide range of applications right from surveys, construction supervision, to heavy engineering precision manufacturing applications. The majority of its functions are utilized at job sites, exposing it to different environmental and external elements. Besides, the cost of equipment and devices is considerably high. Therefore, contractors and construction firms should give proper heed to maintain these instruments.

Need for Proper Care of Survey Equipment

Proper maintenance and care of survey instruments should be taken for the following reasons:

  1. Most of the survey equipment is expensive.
  2. Replacement of survey equipment from time to time is not an economical solution.
  3. Properly maintained survey equipment gives precise and accurate results.
  4. A well-maintained survey equipment saves time and money.

Maintenance of Survey Equipment

Survey equipment must be checked and maintained at different stages of its use. Some maintenance tips have been enlisted below:

  1. Carry out routine care of survey equipment
  2. Undertake smooth and safe transportation of survey equipment
  3. Perform regular calibration checks and repair
  4. Take precautions against job conditions

1. Conduct Routine Care for Survey Equipment

Survey equipment comes with manufacturer’s details and product manuals that instruct on maintaining and taking care of it in the right way. Some of the essential points to remember for routine care of instruments are:

  • Always inspect the instrument for lumps, dents, or cracks. Check whether the polished and the machine faces of the lenses and mirrors of the instrument are in proper conditions. Check whether the clamps and screws involved have smooth motions and operates without any binding or gritty sound.
  • Always keep the survey instrument in clean and dry conditions as possible. Regular cleaning of the instrument helps to know any issues with the instrument. Dirt and dust present in the instrument for a longer period results in scratches, friction, or stick motions.
  • When the instrument is kept idol for a long period, it is necessary to cover the equipment.
  • Always clean the non-optical parts of the instruments with a soft clean cloth.
  • Use a fine lens brush to clean the surfaces of the lenses. Avoid the use of silicon treated tissue, which lead the lens to get scratch. Do not use water, oil, or benzene to clean the lens. Never attempt to clean the internal surface of any lens of the instrument.
  • Always cover the instrument when it is uncased for a longer period, especially in an environment that is harsh and dusty. An instrument used in a damp environment must be taken care of to avoid condensing moisture inside the instrument.
  • A surveying instrument used in a cold-weather must be left in the case overnight. Always keep the instrument uncased when planning to store in a heated room overnight. An instrument covered with wet or frost must be moved to room temperature and left to dry.

2. Perform Safe Storage and Transportation of Survey Equipment

Improper storage and transportation- both can damage the survey instrument severely. Tips to follow while storing and transporting the survey equipment are:

  • Use of an efficient storage case for the instrument.
  • The compartment has to be provided within the survey vehicle to keep the equipment and the related tool supplies separated. This helps to avoid damage and easy sorting of items.
  • Carry heavy instruments in the lower parts of the vehicles, without contact with other tools or equipment.
  • The entire survey crew must follow good care and general housekeeping of the vehicle. Do not mix up the passenger compartment and the equipment compartment together.
  • Most of the instruments’-carrying case takes the shape at which it must be placed and handled. Follow the same position while storing and handling. This is applicable for optical targets, staff, and prisms used.
  • Jolting and excessive vibration of the instruments while transporting can be avoided by providing cushioned compartments.
  • Before removing the instrument, make a plan to remove it and the way it must be placed. It must be kept back in the case in the same way it was taken out.
  • Always take the equipment out with proper grip in both the hands. Do not exert pressure on the vertical circle, circular levels, or the tubular levels.
Transit Theodolite Safely Stored Inside Its case
Transit Theodolite Safely Stored Inside Its case

3. Perform Regular Calibration checks and Repair

  • A calibration test should be performed every two weeks to ensure the accuracy of the measurement.
  • The position accuracy must be checked by placing the instrument over a known point in the ground.

4. Take Precautions Against Job Conditions

All survey equipment is designed and modeled for the harsh construction conditions. For example, during heavy rains, the instrument must be used by using a rain shield over it. This helps to prevent the moisture from entering the mechanical joints of the machine.

Total Station Surveying - Instrument Covered due to Rain
Total Station Surveying – Instrument Covered due to Rain

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Store and Transport Survey Instruments Safely?

Improper storage and transportation- both can damage the survey instrument severely. Tips to follow while storing and transporting the survey equipment are:
1. Use of an efficient storage case for the instrument.
2. The compartment has to provided within the survey vehicle to keep the equipment and the related tool supplies separated. This helps to avoid damage and easy sorting of items.
3. Carry heavy instruments in the lower parts of the vehicles, without contact with other tools or equipment.
4. The entire survey crew must follow good care, organizing, and general housekeeping of the vehicle. Do not mess up the passenger compartment and the equipment compartment together.
5. Most of the instruments’ carrying case takes the shape at which it must be placed and handled. Follow the same position while storing and handling. This is applicable to optical targets, staff, and prisms used.
6. Jolting and excessive vibration of the instruments while transporting can be avoided by providing cushioned compartments.
7. Before removing the instrument, make an idea to remove it and the way it must be placed. It must be positioned back in the case similar to the way it was taken.
8. Always take the equipment out with proper grip in both the hands. Do not give pressure on the vertical circle or circular levels or the tubular levels.

How to perform routine maintenance for Survey Instruments?

Every survey equipment possesses manufacturer details and product manuals that specify how to care and maintain it appropriately. Some of the essential points to remember to have routine care for instrument are:
1. Always inspect the instrument for lumps, dents, or cracks. Check whether the polished and the machine faces of the lenses and mirrors of the instrument are in proper conditions. Check whether the clamps and screws involved have smooth motions and operates without any binding or gritty sound.
2. Always keep the survey instrument in clean and dry conditions as possible. Regular cleaning of the instrument helps to know any issues with the instrument. Dirt and dust present in the instrument for a longer period results in scratches, friction, or stick motions.
3. When the instrument is kept idol for a long period, it is necessary to cover the equipment.
4. Always clean the non-optical parts of the instruments with a soft clean cloth.
5. Use a fine lens brush to clean the surfaces of the lenses. Avoid the use of silicon treated tissue, which lead the lens to get scratch. Do not use water, oil, or benzene to clean the lens. Never attempt to clean the internal surface of any lens of the instrument.
6. Always cover the instrument when it is uncased for a longer period, especially in an environment that is harsh and dusty. An instrument used in a damp environment must be taken care of to avoid condensing moisture inside the instrument.
7. A surveying instrument used in a cold-weather must be left in the case overnight. Always keep the instrument uncased when planning to store in a heated room overnight. An instrument covered with wet or frost must be moved to room temperature and left to dry.

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What are the common calibration checks performed on any survey instrument?

A calibration test at least every two weeks ensures the accuracy of the measurement.The position accuracy must be checked by placing the instrument over a known point in the ground.

What is purpose of maintaining survey instrument?

Survey equipment must be maintained at different conditions of its use. Based on which, some maintenance tips are explained below.
1. Conduct Routine Care for Survey Equipment
2. Perform Smooth and safe transport of Survey Equipment
3. Perform regular calibration checks and Repair
4. Take Precautions Against Job Conditions

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Neenu Arjun

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