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There’s life in the old Cat yet

Digger Blogger | 12:00, Thu October 13 2022

Caterpillar dealer Finning has rebuilt a 15-year-old dozer for one of its loyal customers.

When one of its hardest working Cat D9 dozers was coming to the end of its operating life the team at Stokey Plant Hire had a dilemma on their hands – trade up for a new machine or give the old dozer a new lease of life.

They opted for the latter. It is pictured above before its rebuild. Scoll down to see the 'after' look.

Telford-based Stokey has been a customer of Finning, and thus Caterpillar, for more than 15 years, during which time it had only ever bought new Cat machine when upgrading its fleet. However, a combination of factors led them to rebuild rather than replace on this occasion – sustainability, cost and reassurance on performance. Finning was also able to provide a rental D9 dozer replacement for the duration of the rebuild, which sealed the deal.

“It’s well known that Cat machines are ‘built to be rebuilt’,” says Adam Walker, product manager for engine and drivetrain at Finning. “Choosing to have a machine rebuilt gives companies the opportunity to save thousands (compared with buying new), but crucially supports their sustainability ambitions by giving the machine a second, third or even forth life.

“Machines working in quarries need to be both robust and reliable as they’re working in harsh, unforgiving environments. While the engine, transmission and other key components will eventually need replacing before they fail and cause operational issues for the site manager, the main chassis and body of the machine is structurally sound so can be stripped back and restored to its former glory and used again, and again.”

Stokey originally purchased this D9 from Finning in 2007 and it has been at work in quarries across the midlands ever since, clocking up around 1500 hours a year – more than 22,000 hours on the clock.

Finning recommended a certified powertrain (CPT) rebuild, which includes replacing the transmission, engine, differential, and final drives.

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Finning’s Adam Walker continues: “Rebuilding a machine is by far the most sustainable choice. If we look at the environmental impact of manufacturing a new cylinder head for example, compared with using a remanufactured one, it generates 61% fewer greenhouse gases, requires 85% less energy and uses 86% less water. A remanufactured cylinder head also requires 85% less material than a new manufactured one and means there’s 85% less waste being sent to landfill. 

“A large proportion of the parts that are removed from the original machine during a rebuild are also recovered, restored, and reused as a standard part of the rebuild process. So, when the machine is stripped down a proportion of the components and materials are recycled back into remanufactured components – creating a circular economy of sorts.

 “Any new components and parts for the rebuilt machine, such as the engine and hydraulics, are sourced through a combination of remanufactured parts fully certified through Caterpillar, via the Finning parts service exchange programme, or bought new.

Customers choosing a rebuild machine option will typically save around 55-60% on the cost compared with buying a new machine, he says.

In Stokey’s case, the total investment on the rebuild of the D9 was just under £300,000; an equivalent new machine would have cost £850,000.

Stokey Plant Hire managing director Sarah Jones says: “This is the first rebuild that we’ve commissioned Finning to do, and I have to say we’re blown away with the finished result – it looks and sounds better than ever.

“We’ve been delighted with the level of input and communication from the Finning team throughout this entire project. We’ve had weekly calls and visits and have been kept informed and involved at each stage.

“What’s impressed us most is the level of expertise across the Finning team, and professional pride in the work they do – from the project management to the quality of the engineering work, and commitment from all the team throughout.

 “This experience has certainly opened our eyes to the prospect of considering more rebuilds – both in terms of the financial gains over replacing with a new machine, but with sustainability in mind as well – we’re giving an old machine a completely new lease of life instead of sending it off for resale or worse still, to be broken down and scrapped. We’ve already booked in another machine to be rebuilt off the back of this.”

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