Rebuilding heavy equipment makes good economic sense, particularly for the hydraulic components on construction and earth moving machinery. In fact, the trend since 2008 has been strong enough to support the addition of a machine shop as part of the existing hydraulics facility at Caterpillar dealer Whayne Supply (Corbin, KY).
Whayne is the worldwide leader in Cat-certified rebuilds of complete machines, having produced more than 400 on 33 different machine models since 1985. The company was honored for completing the five thousandth Cat-certified rebuild in 2011. Whayne has 14 locations and approximately 1300 employees, with 200 located in the Corbin facility.
Key among the machine shop equipment is an HTA tube hone from Sunnen Products (St. Louis, MO) that allows Whayne to resurface scratched and rusted cylinder barrels, saving their customers 80 percent or more over the cost of a new barrel.
Brought in as part of a beta test of Sunnen’s new all-electric machine design in 2009, the hone has been used to process more than 1,000 barrels. Bringing this previously outsourced machining work in-house has helped the company add revenue and staff, while also improving control of delivery schedules and costs for their customers.
“Simple economics dictate that customers are going to be rebuilding machines until the economy – and the coal industry in our region – both strengthen significantly,” said Mike Harbin, the manager of Whayne’s Power Rebuild Center. “We have customers who are tearing down machines in the field and completely rebuilding them. The machine shop and the honing system have helped us stay on top of this trend. We have added five people in our shop alone to handle the increased volume.”
Whayne has rebuild centers in Louisville and Corbin. All exchange/re-sell goods are processed in these shops. The hydraulics facility in Corbin has eight cylinder technicians, three full-time machinists, three pump experts, plus a foreman and service coordinator.
The Corbin operation added the machine shop to its hydraulics facility in 2009 that included two vertical mills, two lathes, drill press, rotary surface grinder, welders, and saws. The shop stocks various sizes of chrome-plated bar and DOM tubing, some of it pre-cut for standard Cat sizes.
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