A large drum arrives at the Eriez rebuild center.

By Eric Taylor

With the pressures of a challenging economy and the current price tags for new equipment, more and more mining companies are deciding to rebuild rather than buy new. A mining company should consider these guidelines as they determine which way to go, especially as it pertains to magnetic separation, vibratory feeders, metal detection, suspended electromagnets and magnetic drum separators. However, these basic guidelines can also be applied to most lines of equipment.

Track the Equipment’s Performance and Service Life
A manufacturer will offer a predictable effective life for certain types of equipment. Based upon this forecast, an appropriate inspection can be scheduled to decide whether repair or replacement is needed.

Optimum operating efficiency and product longevity depend greatly on the individual piece of equipment and its working environment. Routine tests can determine when it’s time to upgrade or replace components or purchase a brand new model.

Annual maintenance checks can be performed by qualified plant personnel or an outside party at a predetermined price. The goal is to limit costly downtime and make sure equipment is operating at peak performance. Once an inspection is completed, the service center will be better able to determine the next course of action, whether this means replacing one component or remanufacturing the equipment to original specifications. In some cases, a total replacement is needed, but that is only after consideration is given to several scenarios to get that equipment back online.

Consider the ‘Buy New’ Price Compared to the Rebuild Price
When all is said and done, the price tag for new equipment may be beyond budgetary constraints.

Research What New Features are Desirable
As time goes on, manufacturers develop product enhancements. Sometimes these innovations can be added during the rebuild process. Other times these improvements can only be enjoyed if a new product is purchased. One example of an innovation is related to suspended electromagnets (SE). Eriez has incorporated an external oil expansion tank on its SE models, which helps prevent coil burnout on oil-cooled electromagnets, and the company offers a five-year warranty of the internal coil assembly. This can also be added to existing designs.

When it comes to magnetic drum separators and scrap drums, the magnetic power of new magnetic drum separators may be incorporated into an old model. Scrap drums have certainly come a long way and plant managers should check with the service center regarding options.

With vibratory feeders, newer designed products now come equipped with energy saving components that should be explored before the rebuild or buy new decision is made. Today’s metal detectors come with software and even smart phone technology. By talking with the rebuild facility, plant managers can investigate whether a company needs to go new or can upgrade their current unit.

Timing: Does Buying New or Rebuild Meet the Timetable?
When is it needed? Typically, it takes one to four weeks to rebuild most products. Delivery can be expedited at a premium price. Compare the delivery lead times for new versus rebuild. If production or safety has been compromised, management will demand a firm delivery date.

Evaluate Warranty, Reputation of the Company
Mining operations encompass numerous pieces of equipment working together seamlessly to bring the finished product to market. Metal detectors, magnetic separators, vibratory feeders, screeners and conveyors all play an integral role in many functions. Mining companies use this equipment independently or in a comprehensive flow system to help increase product purity, preserve downstream equipment and improve productivity.

Since process equipment represents a significant capital investment, plant operators should perform routine inspections to detect any malfunctioning or underperforming equipment. This procedure helps spot trouble areas, minimize downtime and prevent potential harm to plant personnel and downstream equipment.

There are several ways to determine which rebuild facility to trust with an upgrade project. A company can ask for references from past and present customers or ask their peers who have used the facility. They can also visit the rebuild facility and see first-hand the setup and how equipment is repaired and upgraded.

Warranty is also important. Try to understand the extent of the warranty before committing, no matter if it’s buying new or rebuilding equipment.

About the Author
Eric Taylor manages Eriez’s 5-Star Service Center. For more information, visit www.eriez.com.