Instant ReplayPart I: When Buying a Remanufactured Concrete Boom Pump Makes Sense
Part II: What to Look for in a Remanufactured Unit
STURTEVANT, Wisconsin (October 10, 2005) - Rebuilt, remanufactured, reconditioned … they all have the same meaning - adding renewed life to an existing product. According to the Remanufacturing Institute (TRI), remanufacturing grew out of necessity into an annual $100 billion global industry, representing a major force in today's economy.
With the reconditioning business a growing trend in America, the market for rebuilt truck-mounted concrete boom pumps has continued to prosper. According to Steve Rising of Concrete & Material Placement in Wichita, KS, “We have four refurbished boom pumps and two new ones. We find that buying reconditioned equipment is an economical and practical way to go when a new unit just isn't in the cards. It keeps costs down and avoids new equipment taxes.”
In the most simplistic terms, the reconditioning process encompasses components that must be first removed, then rebuilt or replaced, and finally reassembled. However, varying standards exist, and buyers need to be attuned to even minor remanufacturing differences that may increase unit performance or reduce service problems.
“Our refurbs are not just a quick fix and paint job,” says Dave Adams, CEO and President of Putzmeister America. “The workmanship must be of the highest quality to carry the Putzmeister name, and the fully remanufactured equipment that comes out of our specialty Pro-Tech Pre-Owned Equipment Center is no exception.”
What should one expect from pre-owned equipment? It depends on the price tag. Units sold “as is” and “where is” are available at a lower price, but buyers may take a gamble if they're unsure of the pump's past history.
Obviously a “partial” or “fully” remanufactured unit carries a higher price tag than one sold “as is”, but it should have undergone a significant modernization process. Buyers can gain a higher comfort level when they have documentation of the unit's remanufacturing process and receive a warranty to back it up.
Malcolm Yearwood of Concrete Services & Equipment in Gainesville, GA says, “Of the seven units in our fleet, four of them are fully remanufactured. When buying a fully reconditioned Putzmeister boom pump, we're paying about 60% of what a new unit costs and still getting a six-month refurb warranty. That's the best in the business. It means you can almost buy two rebuilt pumps for about the price of a new one.”
“We feel we get the equivalent of a new pump with a "completely" reconditioned unit, as major parts are not just quickly fixed, they're extensively rebuilt or replaced, depending on the part,” says Malcolm. “With all new wear parts and pipeline, there's no difference in the wear of these components whether they're on a new or remanufactured pump. The only real gamble is the truck, but even that gets new tires and is made functional to meet a 119-point D.O.T. inspection checklist.”
Malcolm continues, “Although it depends on interest rates and down payment, a brand new 36-Meter at a $7,000 monthly payment would translate into a reconditioned unit at a lower payment of about $5,000 a month. That's a $2,000 monthly savings or $24,000 annually. Therefore, you can generate more revenue with lower payments. Plus, if necessary, you can use these savings toward any mechanical equipment issues; however, it will more likely end up as profit.”
“Customers pay the same amount for concrete pumping services whether a new or remanufactured unit shows up on the job” notes Rising. “Their main concern is that the equipment is reliable and the job is done at a fair price.”
Malcolm claims, “We discovered that even after operating our fully reconditioned Putzmeister boom pump for about three years, we could still get close to what we originally paid for it when selling.”
Remanufacturing centers tend to create their own personalized standards, based on past experience of what specifically needs to be reconditioned for increased performance and reduced service problems. They also seem to base it on their own desired workmanship level in maintaining a quality image.
“As different levels of refurbs exist, buyers should be aware of these levels up front,” says Jonathan Omer, Putzmeister America's Marketing Manager. He notes, “Our Pro-Tech Center offers three tiers of service from highest to lowest: Premier, Select and Standard. As a result, customers can choose from the company's inventory of pre-owned equipment at a level that meets their needs and budget. Plus, we offer complete documentation of all services performed.”
Yearwood notes, “For a smaller pumping company, especially one just starting out, a fully reconditioned unit is the way to go. After all, if you're solely depending on the unit to make a living, you need the greatest reliability with the least cost.”
When considering a “fully” refurbished unit, the following questions should be asked:
- Are major components such as the valve, all pipe, the entire electrical harness, the main bearing and even the material cylinders replaced, rebuilt or merely repaired?
- Are minor parts such as grate, vibrator, swing-out elbows, clamps, remixer paddles, piston cups, seal kits and others replaced or just repaired?
- Do the gearbox, hydraulic main pump and drive cylinders receive a highly intensive restoration? Is this done in-house or sent out to professionals at specialty rebuild centers?
- Does the company take extra steps such as to hone the barrels, polish the rods, replace the seals and pressure test the hydraulic cylinders?
- Does the boom pump undergo a major “transfusion” with all truck and hydraulic pump fluids completely drained from the system, new filters installed and then all oils replaced?
- Are repaired and replaced components tested individually?
- Does the refurb include specific load tests and performance tests as well as a boom inspection for stability and a pre-delivery inspection for functionality to ensure operational effectiveness?
- Is the truck made functional and does it pass a 119-point D.O.T. inspection checklist?
Rely On the Experts
OEM suppliers of gearboxes, hydraulic main pumps and drive cylinders have also joined the growing rebuild industry and some boom pump remanufacturing centers are utilizing these company's specialized services.
“We believe that certain components need to be reconditioned by specialized rebuild centers,” says Doug Brunet, General Manager for the Putzmeister Pro-Tech Pre-Owned Equipment Center, “as they possess the precise tools, appropriate work environment, and trained personnel who consistently rebuild components on a daily basis. Since that's their forté, we take advantage of this expertise.”
More than Just a Coat of Paint
Brunet claims, “When it comes to paint, it's important that the unit is completely and extensively pressure washed before even being considered for sandblasting, priming and painting. Even the best paint job won't last long if the unit is not extensively and diligently cleaned before a high quality automotive finish paint is applied.”
Put it in Writing
Ask for documentation such as all test records as well as D.O.T. and boom and component inspection reports. Putzmeister, for example, offers the industry's first "certificate of workmanship" pertaining to refurbished equipment. This certificate documents all items modified, replaced and tested in the exhaustive reconditioning process so customers are aware of what alterations were executed.
Rising notes, “Having reconditioned machine documentation both assists with ongoing maintenance records and improves the unit's resale value down the road.”
When should you buy new over refurbished? According to Malcolm, “We purchase new equipment when innovative models have just been introduced or reconditioned equipment is not available in the size we need. Of course, if you want the newest model with all the latest features, buy new. However, if you want the pump for profit, buy a reconditioned one.”