WesTrac using Cat global data to make part rebuilds cheaper

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Mitchell Peace, the Cat reusability champion at WesTrac’s Component Rebuild Centre in Newcastle. Mitchell Peace, the Cat reusability champion at WesTrac’s Component Rebuild Centre in Newcastle.
A WesTrac CRC technician undertakes a Cat equipment rebuild. A WesTrac CRC technician undertakes a Cat equipment rebuild.

Cat dealer WesTrac has appointed a ‘reusability champion’ to evaluate and safely re-use parts when rebuilding mining and construction equipment by harnessing Caterpillar‘s global store of data.

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That champion, Mitchell Peace, who has come through WesTrac’s Component Rebuild Centre, says that the dealership and Caterpillar have done a scrap bin analysis on all the parts deemed unserviceable from powertrains components disassembled in the past eight months

"The Caterpillar representative and I went through all the components and we got feedback as to how well we were determining reusability in the CRC," Peace says. "The result of that scrap bin analysis was that WesTrac has changed the way we approach reusability in the CRC."

This reuse strategy is expected to save a customer up to 20 per cent on a component rebuild — an art which had been largely lost in recent times.

"During the resources boom instead of assessing component piece parts for reuse, we discarded them and put new parts straight in," WesTrac regional manager Robert Walters says. "In the current market our customers have become very cost driven.

"We have listened and reinvented ourselves as an organisation applying reusability guidelines within our work bays."

Peace says that a component will go through a two-stage sign off before it is deemed unserviceable by the CRC.

The technician who disassembled the component will first make the decision based on Cat reusability guidelines and experience. This is then double checked by the Team Lead who signs off on this work prior to it being quoted to the customer.

WesTrac area manager Justin Ryan says the company can draw information from the Caterpillar database at a moment's notice through computer systems within the bays and then apply it straight to a component that is on the floor.

"Once the technician assesses or inspects a component they can apply the reuse and salvage guidelines," he says. "If they have an issue they can put it back through to Caterpillar from the bay or they can engage one of the other technicians within the workshop.

"It just ensures that we are applying the most up to date information from the bay level with no dilution at all," Ryan adds.

Caterpillar Global senior engineering specialist Keith Kubrick believes that data mining and use is an almost continuous process, saying: "As we gain new information we make sure that the guidelines are updated.

"It is really about total cost of ownership. If this wasn't the issue then we would use new parts every time rather than considering salvage or reuse of the existing part."

WesTrac has also introduced a repair warranty stream to ensure a rapid turnaround of rebuilt components.

"In the current market place the customer is more inclined to have a failure if they are pushing out their programs and maintenance intervals," Ryan says. "As such they need their components back quickly."


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