By Eric Taylor
|At the Eriez service center in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, remanufactured equipment leaves the facility with an ‘as new’ warranty. A typical rebuild of a suspended electromagnet, as shown here, can include the coil, core, stud seals and oil expansion tank.|
With the pressures of a challenging economy and the current price tags of new equipment, more and more mining companies are deciding to rebuild rather than to buy new. Here are some guidelines to consider to determine which way to go, especially as it pertains to magnetic separation, vibratory feeders, metal detection, suspended electromagnets and magnetic drum separators. However, these basic guidelines can also be applied to all equipment used in your mining operation.
Track Performance and Service Life
Companies can find out from the manufacturer what the predictable effective life may be for a certain type of equipment. Based upon this forecast, they can schedule the appropriate inspection to help them decide whether repair or replacement is needed. Optimum operating efficiency and product longevity depend greatly on the individual piece of equipment and its working environment. Routine tests can determine when it’s time to upgrade or replace components or purchase a brand new model.
Annual maintenance checks can be performed by qualified plant personnel or an outside party. The goal is to limit costly downtime and make sure equipment is operating at peak performance. Once an inspection is completed, the service center will be better able to determine the next course of action, whether this means replacing one component or remanufacturing the equipment to original specifications. In some cases, a total replacement is needed, but that is only after consideration is given to several scenarios to get that equipment back on line.
Consider the ‘Buy New’ Price Compared to the Rebuild Price
When all is said and done, the price tag for new equipment may be beyond budgetary constraints. At Eriez’s 5-Star Service Center, for example, they have been able to provide economic guidelines for these products when it comes to rebuilding compared to buying new.
Research New Features
As time goes on, manufacturers develop product enhancements that may be sought by the management team. Sometimes these innovations can be added during the rebuild process. Other times, these improvements can only be enjoyed if a new product is purchased. One example of an innovation is related to suspended electromagnets (SE). Eriez has incorporated an external oil expansion tank on its SE models, which helps prevent coil burnout on oil-cooled electromagnets, and the company offers a five-year warranty of the internal coil assembly. This can also be added to existing designs.
When it comes to magnetic drum separators and scrap drums, one will find that the magnetic power of new magnetic drum separators may be incorporated into the old model. With vibratory feeders, newer designed products now come equipped with energy-saving components that should be explored before someone rebuilds or buys new. These should be asked for when a rebuild order placed.
Today’s metal detectors come with software and even smart phone technology that one may wish to consider. By talking to the rebuild facility, one can investigate whether they need to go new or can upgrade their current unit.
What’s the Timetable?
When is the product needed? At Eriez, it typically takes one to four weeks to rebuild most products. They may be able to expedite delivery at a premium price. The delivery lead time of new versus rebuild will need to compared. When they have stopped production or face safety issues that compromise their working environment, they will need to find the best answer in terms of a firm delivery date.
Evaluate the Warranty and the Vendor’s Reputation
Mining operations entail numerous pieces of equipment working together in a seamless operation to bring the finished product to market. Metal detectors, magnetic separators, vibratory feeders, screeners and conveyors all play an integral role in many functions. Mining companies use this equipment independently or in a comprehensive flow system to help increase product purity, preserve downstream equipment and improve productivity.
Since process equipment represents a significant capital investment, plant operators should perform routine inspections to detect any malfunctioning or underperforming equipment. This procedure helps spot trouble areas, minimizes downtime, and prevents potential harm to plant personnel and downstream equipment.
There are several ways to determine which rebuild facility to trust with an upgrade project. Companies can ask for references from past and present customers or ask their peers who have used the facility. They can also visit the rebuild facility and see first hand the setup and how equipment is repaired and upgraded.
Warranty is also important. Be sure to understand the extent of the warranty before committing whether to buying new or rebuilding.
Eric Taylor is manager of Eriez Manufacturing Co.’s 5-Star Service Center. Eriez is based in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA. For further information, visit www.eriez.com.