Taking out the garbage is a messy job, but somebody’s got to do it. But it’s also a challenging job, one which puts equipment to the test.
National Ecology Corporation does it in part with some help from Foley Inc. of Piscataway, NJ, which recently finished its second of three complete Certified Rebuilds of Caterpillar 950F front-end loaders for the Monmouth County, NJ, municipal solid waste processor.
National Ecology uses its two 950Fs (a third is soon on the way) for pushing, feeding and stockpiling its feed conveyers.
Nelson Jenkins, plant manager of National Ecology, said, “So far, the machines have performed tremendously. We put our front-end loaders through a lot and like all contractors, we can’t afford downtime.”
Not only could National Ecology not afford downtime, it also could not afford new equipment when the time came to upgrade its fleet.
“When we began looking at ways to upgrade our fleet, we explored not just purchasing, but leasing, but even that was more that a company like ourselves could do. That’s when Foley told us about the possibility of getting a rebuilt machine,” said Jenkins.
Soon the process of determining if a Caterpillar Certified Rebuild was in the cards for National Ecology was under way.
Two Types of Rebuilds
“Caterpillar offers two types of rebuilds. First is the complete, Certified Rebuild. For this, we rebuild the machine from bumper to bumper,” said Jon Souliere, service manager of Foley’s construction division. “There are at least 7,000 parts that are replaced. We rebuild the engine, the transmission, torque converters and axle, and we also get into the cabs of the machines where we replace dashboards, headliners and steering wheels.”
Foley also offers a Certified Power-Train Rebuild, where, depending on the machine, the company will rebuild or recondition approximately 3,000 parts.
“We’ll rebuild everything that moves the machine. … the engine, the transmission, differentials, axles, torque converters. We stay below the cab, if you will, for these rebuilds,” said Souliere.
But Foley won’t rebuild just any piece of equipment — it must be a cost-effective alternative for the customer.
“The way we try to do our rebuilds is to make the cost between 60 to 70 percent of a new machine. Once you get to around 70 percent, you need to take a hard look at whether doing a rebuild is right for all involved. We’re not going over 70 percent, regardless,” said Souliere.
It was this rule that made a Certified Rebuild affordable and sensible to Nelson Jenkins and National Ecology.
Finding the Right Candidate
To verify a machine’s condition for a potential rebuild, a Foley technician will perform an in-depth evaluation, which involves, in part, cleaning off components, operating the machine, and checking pressures and oil samples and so on. Once this is completed, the technician will enter his or her findings into a software program that essentially rates the different major areas of the machine in question.
“The [software] is really like a template or database in that it shows what other Caterpillar dealers have done and how much labor time they invested into replacing or rebuilding a part, as well as the cost of that part,” said Souliere.
Once the technician gives the machine a clean bill of health (and also knows that cost of rebuilding the machine will not exceed 70 percent of the cost of a new machine), Foley will gets into specific details … what’s going to be replaced, what isn’t, and the timeframe in which the work will be done. National Ecology and Foley signed the contract for a Certified Rebuild and the transformation of three 950Fs began.
The Money-Saving Secret
“The 30 to 40 percent difference from a new piece of equipment comes through the parts that don’t need to be replaced during the rebuild,” said Souliere. “That’s why preinspection is so important. If there’s too much that needs to be rebuilt and the price gets close to 70 percent, the machine isn’t the right candidate.”
“The customer also benefits from a rebuilt machine in a couple of different ways,” continued Souliere. “These Certified Rebuilds get an entirely new data plate and serial number. They also get a better-than-new warranty; Foley offers a one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, including field service. After the one-year, 2,000 hours, Foley goes up to a three-year, 5,000-hour complete power-train warranty.”
What ultimately matters to Nelson Jenkins, though, is that his machines — the 950Fs — get the job done.
“These [the 950F front-end loaders] have worked just like new machines … And in many ways, they really are new. In addition, we saved money — $100,000 for each machine so far. In fact, we would not have been able to even have these front-end loaders if not for the rebuild program. I’m looking forward to our third addition any day now.”