David Carter, product manager for engine & drivetrain at Caterpillar dealer Finning UK & Ireland, reflects on the rise of rebuilds and explains why you shouldn’t give up on your favourite dozer, wheel loader or excavator just yet.
THE UK’s industrial output was hit hard by the recession of 1981. Many owners and operators who needed to upgrade their machines, such as the Cat824C wheeled dozer and D8K crawler dozer which were popular at the time, simply didn’t have the resources or capital to purchase new equipment. However, back then, that was the only simple option. But in 1984, Caterpillar and its dealers changed the market, by unveiling a cost-effective alternative to buying new machines and the rise of rebuilds began.
Today, contractors and companies can achieve a low total cost of ownership (TCO) from a machine by implementing a comprehensive maintenance plan and rebuild strategy. This delivers an effective second or third life for a piece of equipment for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
For example, a Cat D6 Dozer exceeding approximately 14,000 hours, or with engine fuel burn above the 100% threshold, will inevitably start to slip in terms of performance and efficiency. The top tier level of option, buying new, is a large investment for a customer when comparing against a rebuild. Opting for a certified powertrain rebuild on a D6 would give you like-new performance but is a 70% saving versus buying new – a much smaller hole in your wallet.
What are the options?
There are three main types of machine rebuild programme. Powertrain rebuilds, covering the radiator, engine, transmission, torque convertor, final drive and axle. Powertrain & Hydraulic rebuilds, covering the mentioned powertrain components plus cylinders, pumps, motors, valve blocks and hoses. Thirdly, Complete Cat Certified Rebuilds, which restore the whole machine to like-new performance and appearance.
This like-new status comes from the, approximately, 7,000 parts which are renewed, but also the inspection and evaluation of 85% of the parts on the machine which can be re-used, thus meaning a Certified Rebuild can be an environmentally sustainable solution, helping to build a better world. The proud owner will also have the peace of mind that the machine is warranted with a five-year Cat EPP which is provided free of charge on all our certified rebuilds throughout 2021.
While cost is a clear motivator, machines going through the certified rebuild process will also benefit from the latest critical technology and engineering upgrades, so operators can benefit from the latest technologies at no extra cost. Optional production-enhancing technologies can also be added during the rebuild process, such as Cat Slope Assist, or any of the Cat Grade technologies.
“Cat technology is backward-compatible within a model series, so an earlier model receiving a certified rebuild can be equipped with the latest technology,” Dave Matranga, marketing professional at Caterpillar.
One of the most commonly rebuilt machines at Finning UK & Ireland is the 980H Wheel Loader, a staple piece of heavy equipment in quarrying & aggregates, mining, Industrial, waste and steelworks. The 980H is a perfect example of a machine that was built to be rebuilt, with a 60 per cent saving in costs when rebuilding the Powertrain compared to buying new with a five-year warranty included.
In 2020, more companies have seen the benefits of the Cat certified rebuild programme —the Finning Repair, Rebuild and Response (RRR) teams delivered 60 certified machine rebuild & component rebuilds during the course of the year, despite the global pandemic to support our customers with the long-term investment of their assets. Find out more about the process on the Finning website— you’ll see that, just like your cast iron skillet, your trusty Cat can age well too.