October 23, 2013
On a recent press tour, I visited Liebherr’s remanufacturing operation (Reman Competence Centre) in Ettlingen, Germany. For nearly a decade, the site has breathed new life into existing machinery parts. Earlier this year, it delivered its 10,000th remanufactured component.
“Once a part reaches a certain age, signs of wear are to be expected, particularly on the drive components,” says Kurt Schollenberger, managing director of Liebherr-Ettlingen GmbH. “It often becomes uneconomical to combat this wear through simple, isolated damage repairs.”
When a part is sent for remanufacturing, it goes through a high-pressure pre-cleaning process to remove the coarsest dirt. It is then completely disassembled and any wear parts that can no longer be used are disposed of. The remaining material is then thoroughly cleaned, with any paint being removed, and detailed diagnostics are run.
Schollengerger says that each individual part is examined under stringent tolerance criteria to determine if it is suitable for reuse. Following quality checks, individual parts are then stored or used in the refitting of a “reman component” which are given the same guarantee as new components.
The company offers three different processing levels of service: exchange components, general overhaul and repairs.
The three-tier concept was introduced at Bauma 2013, earlier this year.
Exchange components provide the most rapid exchange of components, with a replacement part being sent to the customer within 24 hours to minimize downtime. The used component is disassembled once an exchange unit is delivered. The option targets customers with machines that have a high residual value and long operating life, with costs approximately 70 percent of the price of a new component and with the same guarantees.
Overhaul components involve removing the component from the equipment, sending it to the reman center, and processing it there. This option is available for customers with machines of mid-level residual value where downtime can be planned into the operation. It takes three to 10 days, and costs approximately 50 percent of a new component, with the same guarantees.
Repair is available for older machines that are minimally used. Unlike replacement and overhaul parts that have fixed prices, repair prices are quoted after damage is assessed. Reconditioned parts are used, as possible, with a 50-percent guarantee of new components.
As demand for remanufactured components continues to increase, Liebherr is establishing new reman operations based on its Ettlingen model. The goal of additional operations is to minimize transport times.
Sites are under development in Burlington, Canada, and in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, with other sites being considered in South America, South Africa and China.