Remanufacturing: A Lower-cost Alternative

The expense associated with 2010 emissions compliance compounded with current economic conditions may have you scratching your head when it comes time to turn over your truck fleet. In this climate, many contractors have given serious consideration to the used truck market. But there is a viable option to either new or used — remanufactured.

“The use of remanufactured components can cost-effectively extend the life of a truck,” says Paul Duplessis, marketing manager, Detroit Diesel Genuine Parts, Daimler Trucks North America. “Remanufactured parts minimize the total cost of ownership for the end user, including minimizing repair time.”

“Typically, remanufactured engines and components can offer a substantial cost advantage vs. new while offering performance and reliability on par with new components,” says Shawn Zwicker, ReCon new business development leader, Cummins. “In most cases, remanufactured engines or components can make sense for any contractor to extend the overall life of the vehicle. The vehicle and chassis can generally be updated or repaired, if need be, in order to live the new life that remanufactured engines or components can bring.”

Jeff Irr, remanufactured marketing development manager for Mack Trucks, believes remanufactured components make sense in almost every repair. “Mack remanufactured parts are as good as new, while offering the customers a money-saving alternative,” he states. “Generally speaking, remanufactured parts are between 30% to 50% less costly than new.”

So before repair or replacement, evaluate your current trucks to determine if remanufacturing is an option. “We recommend that the customer consider a host of factors,” says Irr, “including the value of his or her truck, the job it performs and the cost of a new truck vs. renewing a current truck with remanufactured product.”

As good, or better, than new

“Since any product improvements that have occurred since original production are included in the remanufacturing process, these components can not only extend the life of the truck, but in some cases actually improve power and durability,” says Irr.

Plus, they come backed by warranties, parts availability and service. “In addition to the obvious cost advantage, other advantages include the ability to get parts from the original factory at attractive prices with factory warranty and support,” says Zwicker. “Cummins ReCon components come with a full warranty comparable to what is offered for new components.”

Mack offers a variety of REMACK remanufactured components, including engines, carriers and transmissions, as well as various engine components and accessories. “All of our components are remanufactured to original specifications and are supported by Mack dealers across North America,” says Irr.

The same warranty available on new product is provided on most of the remanufactured items. “Studies show that the failure rate of parts remanufactured to our exacting standards is at least the same as that of a new part,” Irr explains.

Manufacturers are able to offer warranties and services comparable to new due to the stringent steps followed during the remanufacturing process.

For example, Detroit Diesel’s Reliabilt remanufactured engine components incorporate the latest critical design improvements, are returned to the latest “blueprint specifications” and then tested to OEM standards. “All Reliabilt parts are qualified to meet strict OEM specifications or are replaced with 100% genuine Detroit Diesel parts,” says Duplessis. “The Reliabilt manufacturing process restores these components to the original equipment performance, reliability and durability specifications.

“The ‘Metal-On’ Reliabilt manufacturing process creates a finished product that is assembled with the same specifications as a new part,” he continues. Each remanufactured engine is dynamometer tested to verify it meets original factory-specified performance parameters. “This stringent validation process and test specifications are not available to any other remanufacturer or rebuilder. Reliabilt products are backed by a comprehensive national warranty at authorized service locations.”

A green solution

In addition to saving capital investment, remanufacturing is also good for the environment. “Energy savings and environmental benefits of remanufacturing are significant,” says Duplessis. “The track record of Reliabilt products has been quite good in the past and we would encourage customers to embrace the value and sustainability of genuine remanufactured products.”

Remanufacturing uses about 85% less energy than mining, refining, melting and machining of new material. “Remanufactured engines and components are ‘green’ products and help keep products from ending up in landfills, and can have a large impact on greenhouse gas reduction efforts,” says Zwicker. “The use of remanufactured products almost always makes sense, as they offer performance and reliability on par with new at a more attractive price.”

And it’s a growing industry, meaning greater availability of remanufactured parts. “Our remanufacturing business has performed very well throughout the recession,” Zwicker notes. “The remanufacturing business tends to do very well during tough economic times. People want to derive extra value from their investment and using remanufactured products is one way to do that.”

Cummins believes the remanufacturing business will continue to grow even after the economy recovers. “The concept of remanufactured products is well understood in North America and is gaining acceptance in all our markets,” says Zwicker. “In addition to expansion of markets, we believe we will see expansion of the product line as more technology is being developed to deliver an increasing array of remanufactured products.”

“We have been offering remanufactured products for many years and have a fantastic track record with these products,” says Zwicker. “Our recommendation would be that if you haven’t tried remanufactured products you should give it a try. By using the original equipment, you will ensure that you get maximum benefit for your core and have the latest and greatest product enhancements incorporated into your remanufactured product.”

Demand for remanufactured components continues to rise. “Demand for Mack quality remanufactured components has been increasing every year, as customers more carefully consider every dollar they spend and who they will spend it with,” says Irr. “We at Mack are constantly looking for ways to help the customer understand the difference between our remanufactured components and imitation or ‘copy cat’ products.”

Beware of “posers”

It’s important to exercise care when sourcing components. Rebuilt, reconditioned or repaired are not the same as remanufactured.

“Many liberties are taken in the marketplace with the use of the term remanufactured,” Irr notes. “Some companies that claim to produce remanufactured product are actually selling rebuilt product. Rebuilt parts may simply be cleaned, disassembled and reassembled.”

Rebuilt parts may also contain marginal components. “Rebuilt is just that — repairing only what has failed and not bringing the complete unit back into spec,” Irr points out.

By comparison, during the remanufacturing process, the product is taken apart, cleaned and inspected against original OEM specifications. “If any damaged parts are identified or do not meet specifications, they are replaced and the product is reassembled and tested,” says Irr. The finished components are final inspected and painted prior to shipment.

“The differences between a remanufactured component and a rebuilt component are large,” says Zwicker. “A remanufactured component is completely disassembled upon receipt. Every part down to the smallest component is inspected for reusability. Every item will have a reuse criteria. Some items can pass inspection immediately, while others may require a salvage process and others may have to be replaced with completely new components. All of this is completed to 100% factory functional specification.”

When purchasing remanufactured parts, it’s also important to realize only the OEM has access to the original specifications and engineering standards. “Don’t be fooled by a ‘remanufactured’ sticker,” Irr cautions.

“The source of remanufactured parts is critical in terms of quality and reliability,” Zwicker agrees. “By using factory remanufactured parts, you can guarantee that any make-up components in the remanufactured part come from a factory-authorized source and have undergone extensive approval processes.”

Duplessis adds, “There are many options available when sourcing remanufactured service parts. It is important to keep in mind that the quality and durability of a particular component is not known until it is installed and experienced. Instead of gambling on something that ‘might’ fit, we suggest not taking any chances and installing OEM-supplied remanufactured components and engines.”

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