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Flagler Upgrades Program to Give Machines New Life

Volvo recommends a mid-life refurbishment prior to major component failure as the most economical option for machine owners.

Wed September 03, 2014 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Flagler Construction Equipment in Fort Myers, Fla., offers its customers the Volvo Certified Refurbishment Program, but has implemented some upgrades of its own in the quest to give new life to trucks and loaders.

Volvo recommends a mid-life refurbishment prior to major component failure as the most economical option for machine owners in machine availability, cost control and residual value. Rebuilding major components after failure can be more costly and time consuming due to consequential damage from a catastrophic failure.

A mid-life power train refurbishment gives new life to high hour Volvo machines, returns the machine productivity and reliability to near new conditions, increases equipment availability for greater profitability, offers a turnaround of 35 working days or less, gives a “like new” appearance and performance, increases the residual value of the machine and offers an inspection that points out poor maintenance and operator habits.

Some advantages to a refurbishment are that it is less costly than a “run to component failure” approach, there are consistent results with a certified refurbishment, a one-year warranty is offered on replaced OEM parts, the refurbishment can be customized to fit individual needs and Volvo financing also available.

Major components including engine, transmission and axles are covered by a five year/3,000 hour free warranty. Currently, the power train refurbishment program is available for articulated haulers and loaders.

The refurbishment needs to be performed at approximately 14 to 20,000 operating hours, although this hour range can vary depending on the application and maintenance of the machine. Flagler can assist in determining the optimal time for a rebuild via the use of the following analysis tools: Volvo inspection using the appropriate condition assessment and inspection form, VCADS, machine tracking information system (MATRIS), hour readings, maintenance practices and fluid sampling.

Volvo offers the following warranties: three months/5,000 hours on remanufactured components, 12 months/1500 hours on parts, and 90 days/500 hours on parts repaired or rebuilt by Volvo CE or the dealer at no additional cost.

Volvo Construction’s enhancement of the program includes an increase in the rebate from 10 to 15 percent off the parts. In addition, the warranty has been improved to include three years/5000 hours on drive line specific parts including the engine, transmission and drop box. Parts used in the drive axles and planets have a three year/5000 hour parts warranty.

These warranties are all offered at no extra cost to the customer.

Flagler’s service management team noted that they go through the remanufacturing process with the customer in mind, and different options are available.

Choices include power train; power train plus, which can be customized for different issues that need addressed; and the full refurbishment program.

“The selling feature for the refurb process is that it’s tailored to the customer,” the team noted. “If the customer only wants the engine and transmission built, we can do that. It depends on the application of how the customer’s using it, and we can put new life into a machine.”

The process begins with general interest from the customer, usually at the point of new equipment sale.

“Volvo machines are built to be rebuilt,” the management team said. “We expose that at the beginning of the purchase and start the process. Depending upon the application of the machine, we’re going to want to go and put a new life package together.”

Flagler sends out a customer service representative to audit the machine and talk to the customer about their application, what the machine does that they need it to be better at and what it does well and how it’s making money for them.

The team explained that all of their machines carry a MATRIS report.

“From the beginning of operation all the way to the last hour used, it tells you about its utilization — fuel economy, starts and stops, shifts from forward to reverse, how long it spent in each gear and temperature of the machine,” they said. “We’ll sit down and analyze all of the data that has been produced — probably a 48-page report on everything that the machine has done and how it’s been operated. We’ll look at that, and that’ll be the baseline to determine how we’re going to structure the rebuild. We can give a machine back to a customer that’s better suited to the application than when they bought it.”

Next, Flagler takes a look at the things that will probably need to be addressed during the refurb — whether pins and bushings need to be evaluated, if electrical systems need to be refreshed, if the hoses are wearing or deteriorating and if there are hydraulic leaks. All of these factors are noted and taken into consideration before the customer is presented with options — power train, power train plus, or a full refurb. More than 50 percent of the time, a customer falls into the power train plus category.

“Next, we’ll present a quotation for budgetary purposes,” the team explained. “Then, the customer either accepts or denies, or we modify from there, and then the machine comes into to our facility and all parts are ordered. We strip down the machine, strip down every component, and then invite the customer in and show them how this machine is being used. At that point, we can make recommendations for oils. The customers who don’t use a Volvo oil product see the deterioration of some of the components. That oil is specifically designed for that component, and you can start seeing some of the wear patterns that exist if oil changes aren’t being done regularly. It’s sort of an education process to get that customer more involved with that machine and see the insides of these components.”

Once everything is gone over, the quotation is adapted for the customer, either up or down, depending on the condition of the machine.

“If they’ve done a good job maintaining that machine out in the field and they’ve taken care of that machine very well, we will pass that savings back on to them,” the team said. “Next, there’s a meeting with the customer right in the middle of the build. We finalize the customer’s wants, and we reassemble the machine, bring all the software up to date, put it through a full quality inspection, and then deliver the machine with the technician on site to make sure that everything is good.”

The service team explained that Volvo is unique in that it utilizes a Volvo reman center, as opposed to each dealership creating its own version of a rebuilt engine and a rebuilt transmission.

“Major components come out of a Volvo reman center, and it’s all quality controlled, built with the engineers who originally designed that component with them standing over their shoulder, so there’s no dealer interpretation of the reman,” they said. “It’s done by the manufacturer for quality control reasons, and then shipped out to the dealer. It’s very unique, very good quality and there is no learning curve for the dealership.”

The cost of the process varies to an extent, but the team noted that the target price for a total machine tear-down with every nut and bolt removed, rebuilt and reconditioned is 40 percent of new for the power train, 55 percent of new for the power train plus and 70 percent of new for the complete rebuild.

Currently, depending on the model, refurbs can be done on loaders and trucks as old as 10 years. Rentals also are offered at a discounted rate.

Flagler Construction Equipment, the exclusive Volvo Construction Equipment dealer of Florida, is a part of the Flagler CE Holdings Group, which also includes Penn-Jersey Machinery in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

The mission of Flagler Construction Equipment (FCE) is to be the leader in the distribution of construction machinery and equipment, and to be perceived as the provider of the highest quality customer experience in the sale, rental and servicing of their products.

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