Should you rebuild that mining equipment, or buy new?
Eriez provides a quick guide to help you determine the best option for your magnetic
separation or vibratory equipment
With the pressures of a pandemic, an uncertain economy and the price of new equipment, many companies are deciding to rebuild their equipment rather than replacing it. Here are some guidelines to consider as you determine which way to go, especially as it pertains to magnetic separators, vibratory feeders, metal detectors, suspended electromagnets and magnetic drum separators. However, many of these guidelines can also be applied to any equipment used in a mining operation.
Performance and service life
You can find out from the manufacturer what the predicted effective life may be for certain types of equipment. Based upon this forecast, you can schedule the appropriate inspection to help you decide whether repair or replacement is optimal.
Peak 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, replace components or purchase a brand new model. Regular preventative maintenance certainly extends the life of most equipment.
Annual preventative maintenance checks or audits can be performed by qualified plant personnel or an outside party, like the service technicians at Eriez. (The Eriez Service Center is located in a recently expanded, state-of-the-art facility in Erie, Penn., but technicians are available to visit onsite and inspect equipment.)
The goal of an inspection is to assess the possibility of costly downtime and make sure equipment is operating at peak performance. Once an inspection is complete, the service centre 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, you will need to buy new, but that is only after consideration is given to several scenarios designed to get the equipment back online.
Buying new compared to rebuild price
When all is said and done, the price of new equipment may be beyond your current budget. Many manufacturers can provide economic options for these products when it comes to rebuilding compared to buying new.
Consider new features
Every year, manufacturers develop product enhancements that may be sought by you or your management team to meet certain strategic objectives. Sometimes these improvements can only be obtained if a new product is purchased, but often they can be added during the rebuild process.
For example, Eriez has incorporated an external oil expansion tank on its suspended electromagnets (SE) models. This helps prevent coil burnout on oil-cooled electromagnets, and the company offers a five-year warranty on the internal coil assembly. This can normally be added during an SE rebuild.
When it comes to magnetic drum separators, the power of new magnetic element may be retrofitted into your old model.
With vibratory feeders, newly designed products now come equipped with energy saving components that should be explored before you rebuild or buy new. Custom designed feeders are becoming increasingly common. Ask about customization possibilities before you place your rebuild order.
Today’s metal detectors come with sophisticated software technology that can detect smaller ferrous and nonferrous contamination better than ever. By talking to a major metal detection supplier or rebuild facility, you can investigate whether you should buy new or can upgrade your current unit.
Timing: When do you need delivery?
When do you need your product? When you have stopped production or face safety issues that compromise your working environment, you will need to find an expedited solution when it comes to a delivery date.
Often times a repair or refurbishment can be completed much faster than build-
ing a new product. You will need to compare the delivery lead time of new versus rebuilt equipment. Can you buy new off-the-shelf equipment by way of your manufacturer’s quick shipping program?
Systems, warranty and reputation
Plant operations entail numerous pieces of equipment working together in a seamless operation to bring the finished product to market. Many mining operations use a variety of vibratory, feeders, magnetic separators, metal detectors and customized systems as part of their process.
Since suspended electromagnets, wet drum separators and vibratory equipment represent a significant capital investment, plant operators should perform routine inspections while maintaining the equipment 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.
Before you decide which rebuild facility to trust with your product upgrade, check references. Visit the plant and learn from peers who have experience with the company.
Warranty is also important. Be sure you understand the extent of the warranty before you commit to buying new or rebuilding.
José Marin is director, Eriez Minerals and Material Processing. Eriez has rebuild capabilities at a majority of its international subsidiaries. For more information, visit www.eriez.com.