WesTrac is leveraging Caterpillar’s global database, expertise and ‘Built to be rebuilt’ design philosophy to assess parts for safe reuse when rebuilding both mining and construction equipment components.

Many companies today are favourably considering the intelligent option of rebuilding their machines instead of buying new to maximise the value of their equipment in the current economy. With the capability to evaluate parts or components that can be safely reused in rebuilds, WesTrac is saving the customer significant rebuild costs.

WesTrac Regional Manager - Central Operations NSW, Robert Walters recalled that reusability had become a thing of the past with companies choosing to replace component parts with new parts during the resources boom instead of assessing them for reuse. However, the current market environment has made companies extremely cost driven. Consequently, WesTrac has responded to these new market requirements, and reinvented themselves as an organisation applying reusability guidelines within their work bays.

Justin Ryan, WesTrac Area Manager, Newcastle, Component Rebuild Centre - Product Support NSW/ACT agrees that reusability is now a key part of the business with the reuse strategy saving a customer up to 20 per cent on a component rebuild. He explained that WesTrac already had the systems in place, and just needed to reprioritise the reuse strategy.

Ryan adds that WesTrac has introduced a ‘reusability champion’, Mitchell Peace into the business, who was trained at the Component Rebuild Centre, and is now not only looking after reusability within the CRC but also across hydraulics and in the machinery rebuild spaces as well.

According to Peace, WesTrac and Caterpillar engaged in a scrap bin analysis eight months ago on all the parts deemed unserviceable from powertrains components disassembled in the past few months. Peace sat with the Caterpillar representative, and went through all the components for feedback on how WesTrac determined reusability in the CRC. This scrap bin analysis led to WesTrac changing the way they approached reusability in the CRC.

Describing the typical process of a component overhaul within WesTrac’s CRC, Peace explains that a component will go through a two-stage sign-off before it is deemed unserviceable. The technician who disassembled the component will first make the decision based on Cat reusability guidelines and experience. This is then double-checked by the Team Lead who signs off on the work prior to it being quoted to the customer.

WesTrac is leveraging the Caterpillar relationship a lot harder to apply their knowledge to their products in its own environment, which ensures customers get the best value for money.

Ryan says that they can draw information instantly through the computer systems within the bays and then apply it straight to a component on the floor. Once the technician assesses or inspects a component they can apply the reuse and salvage guidelines. Any issue can be put back through to Caterpillar from the bay or referred to any other technician within the workshop. The whole process ensures WesTrac is applying the latest information from the bay level with no dilution at all.

Keith Kubrick, Senior Engineering Specialist - Caterpillar Global believes it is an almost continuous process with the guidelines continuously updated as they gain new information. Observing that the entire part reuse process is all about total cost of ownership and providing the lowest cost to the customer, he said they would otherwise only be using new parts every time rather than considering salvage or reuse of the existing part.

Ryan says WesTrac will provide a range of options for its customers with different cost price points so they can select the one that best suits them. WesTrac has also introduced a repair warranty stream that has not traditionally been involved with CRC.

He explains that customers in the current marketplace are more likely to have a failure if they are pushing out their programs and maintenance intervals. WesTrac’s new repair warranty stream will ensure a rapid turnaround for customers by getting their components back to them quickly.

Ryan says WesTrac has the relationship and technology with Caterpillar as well as specialist tools and resources in the workplace; and is now reinforcing the culture required for a technician on the floor to understand the importance of reusing parts and components. WesTrac plans to expand this capability into its engine section and other areas of the business including hydraulics and machinery rebuilds.