Robert Gilmore, Operations Manager of the Fleet Management Division for Volusia County, is responsible for 2,250 vehicles and pieces of equipment. Included in that total are production machines such as track-type tractors and landfill compactors that work the face of the landfill and are critical to daily operations.
“With managing a fleet of this size, having five shops throughout the county, and handling all repair requests, we are constantly looking for ways to maintain good uptime on these machines, especially critical machines,” Gilmore explained. “One machine in particular demonstrates the team effort between Volusia County and Ring Power by achieving maximum uptime while keeping costs low.”
In February 2002, a new Cat 836G landfill compactor, coming off Caterpillar field testing work with approximately 175 hours, was delivered to Volusia County’s Tomoka landfill southwest of Daytona Beach. Volusia County previously had been running Cat 826G landfill compactors, but managers opted to upsize the machine to improve production at the working face.
TM&R contracts are written to cover all maintenance and repair costs for a Cat machine over a specified period. Instead of paying for maintenance and repairs as they are needed, customers pay one flat rate to cover a broad range of parts and services.
“A total maintenance and repair contract offers customers a range of services,” said Dansby. Key to the success of a contract is evaluating the customer’s needs and targeting the contract to the specific needs- meaning no two TM&R contracts are the same. The main focus of all TM&R contracts, however, is to maintain equipment in optimum working condition, put in place ways to reduce risk to the customer, and optimize equipment owning and operating costs.
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Key elements of the TM&R contract provided to Volusia County included 5-year / 7,500-hour complete coverage on warranty and service items, a 48-hour downtime clause, performance by certified Ring Power service technicians of all required maintenance, and minimal parts stocking for the customer.
Commenting on the decision to go with a TM&R contract with Ring Power, Gilmore, said: “As we worked with Ring Power, we realized this was a great way to get fixed cost and set our annual budget. But the biggest reason this TM&R contract looked so attractive was the 48-hour downtime clause Ring Power incorporated. It said they must supply us with another machine or pay a penalty of a fixed daily cost if our machine is not back up and running in 48 hours.”
A second life for a big compacter
In 2005, the 836G was coming out of the TM&R contract with about 9,500 hours of work behind it. Ring Power and Volusia County looked at options for the machine. “When it comes to front-line equipment, we look to roll the machine before 10,000 hours, usually around 7, 500 hours,” said Gilmore. “What we have found is we can get good residual value from the Cat machines and that we eliminate the potential problems that can occur staying with older machines.”
Instead of just selling a new machine, Ring Power came in with another equipment investment idea for the customer. During the process of assessing the condition of the machine and reviewing the success of the TM&R contract, Ring Power developed the option of a second-life machine rebuild backed by another TM&R contract for another 5 years/ 7,500 hours. Volusia County managers made the decision.
Chris Tomkinson, Ring Power Service Department Manager, explained: “All 836G components were taken off, and the machine was taken down to the bare frame. All parts were thoroughly inspected and measured against strict reusability guidelines, and all parts down to the wiring and hose routings were overhauled, refurbished or replaced.”
“On the average, 75% of components of a second-life machine are recycled. Cat engines and components are designed to be remanufactured to provide multiple life cycles. When parts do not meet Caterpillar reusability standards, they either will be reconditioned to a like-new or replaced with Reman or with new Caterpillar parts,” said Tomkinson. “Add in parts availability, and Ring Power does a 30-day guaranteed turnaround of the machine rebuild.”
The result is a cost savings of 40 to 60 percent compared to buying a new machine.
Thirty days after being taken out of service, the 836G was returned to Volusia County landfill and put back in production- backed once again by a 5-year / 7,500-hour TM&R contract. According to Gilmore, the 836G has seen 98% uptime.
Three lives, and looking at four
In late 2008, the 836G showed about 17,500 hours on the meter- well past Volusia County’s 10,000-hour threshold and coming to the end of the of its second TM&R contract. Another decision had to be made to buy new or to extend the life of the machine.
“After a thorough inspection, Ring Power developed a rebuild plan and cost estimate and recommended a third-life rebuild for the 836G,” said Dansby. “Having the type of customer relationship we have with Volusia County and having good documented knowledge of machine condition, we felt Volusia County would benefit economically from another rebuild.”
In December of 2008, the 836G went into its third-life rebuild, and it was returned to Volusia County in January 2009 with a 5-year / 10,000-hour warranty. “Increasing the hours on the TM&R came about due to the fact that after looking at the data (machine condition, component reliability), out of pocket expenses, and life span of the machine, we felt we could offer Volusia County an even better warranty,” said Dansby. “Having confidence in the rebuilt components and the Caterpillar product durability, we felt this offered the most value to the customer.”
For Robert Gilmore, this is just an added benefit to an already profitable partnership between Volusia County and Ring Power. “This has been a good relationship with Ring Power,” Gilmore said. “It has been a cooperative effort to keep machine availability high.”
“I have been told after this second rebuild that the 836G frame is still in good condition and that in four years we should evaluate the frame for a potential third rebuild”a fourth life for the 836G,” Gilmore concluded.