This story was originally published in Earthing Equipment Magazine in April 2020 as 'Cat Rebuild Risk Free For Rental Fleet'
The business case for a certified rebuild of larger Cat equipment is convincing in most cases but for Australian-wide, West Australian based rental company, Axis Hire it was compelling.
Taking into account the vagaries of the rental market (not all machines are hired all of the time), being able to tap into a Caterpillar backed rebuild for a high cost capital item, offered the company the equivalent of a new machine at a fraction of the cost.
Rebuilding compared to buying a new machine lessens the capital recovery period and allowed Axis to offer plant items that might otherwise not make economic sense on the rental list.
Axis Hire managing director Mark Cates said the company was focused on providing equipment rental to the Australian civil construction and mining industry.
“Axis operates just short of 800 pieces of equipment Australia wide and that varies from a Hilux to a Cat D10 Dozer.”
The earthmoving fleet is not particularly diverse in brand with less than a handful of items out of more than 100 that aren’t painted Cat yellow.
Axis Hire plant manager, Mike Brown said the company’s decision to undertake their first Cat Certified Rebuild in late 2019 involved a cooperative arrangement.
“We did a Cat Certified Rebuild (CCR) on a D10T in our own Bunbury workshop in conjunction with the local WesTrac dealer and it just made sense,” Mr Brown commented.
“We happen to share a back fence with WesTrac Bunbury, and have a great relationship, so we organised this prior to committing to the process.
Regardless of the location, the CCR process remained true to requirements to ensure full warranty of the machine with a combination of work for the powertrain being shipped to WesTrac Head Office WA (Guildford) and locally WesTrac Bunbury for a full overhaul including dyno testing.
“It was a full machine rebuild – tracks, track frames and we did some of the grunt work ourselves – while Caterpillar did the engine, transmission and differential overhaul,” Mr Brown said. “We had a full-time Cat technician applied to the rebuild… and that offered a double advantage as it helped us have the labour to do the rebuild but also meant everything complied with Caterpillar’s Certified Rebuild Program."
Setting aside the mechanics, the business case made obvious economic sense.
At the top end of a rental fleet buying a new machine is often not viable, Mr Cates said. “In a rental fleet application we are capital cost restrained because we don’t have the term. In this case, the dozer was in our fleet; it was an asset we already owned and it was nearing the end of its service life so it was better to invest the money to make it as good as new,” he said.
“Economically, the cost of a rebuild compared to a new machine purchase is not even in the ballpark,” Mr Cates reckoned.