Prairie Dawg Practical
by Tim Holmberg, DEMI Equipment
Wear parts: I’m sure you understand what makes this subject a bit frustrating at times. “I don’t understand why my new parts don’t fit so good?” or “Why did they wear faster than the last time I changed them out?” or maybe “It sure takes a long time to get them when I need them right now.” If you feel like you’ve asked yourself any of these questions from time to time, you are not alone. What proactive steps are you taking to make sure the wear parts replacement experience for your machines isn’t “wearing” you out?
For example, you unexpectedly have to shut down and can’t be running your valuable equipment because you’re waiting for parts to be delivered. Equipment in the aggregate world today includes wear parts in numerous places throughout. It’s easier and less expensive to change out a few parts than to buy or lease another crusher or loader. OEMs and dealers use service trucks to change out the important parts you have been waiting for – sometimes as far out as six to eight weeks.
Some people never calculate the waiting-for-parts time into their contracted work, but rather, they hope to get by with lean media parts instead. This is why things get a bit tense when you’re nearing the end of the contracted budget and you’re nowhere near finished with the project.
Why aren’t these parts (that you just waited six weeks to be manufactured) fitting and lasting better? Was it because you never went with the manufacturer’s wear part the machine was originally designed around? Or maybe the recipe for the wearing surface is less hardened than the factory-designed part?
These subtle details can often be deciding factors on the fail or success rate of the budgeted allotment per project and often times, the old saying is true about getting what you’ve paid for. Yes, there are many alternative suppliers that had a superior component when they originally came to market, but they don’t always stay the course. They need to be QC’d from time to time, which is most easily accomplished by regular production record keeping, especially if you are a custom producer working from many different locations. In this case, well-kept performance records are worth their weight in gold.
There is still another factor: Did the material being processed change in abrasiveness? Maybe.
The material deposit contains more abrasive density than the last time you were working the same location. Maybe the moisture conditions were different, causing a significant change and effect in wear part consumption. These are problems that not only affect the custom portable producers, but they also frustrate the fixed-in-place operations that didn’t realize material could vary so much between different depths or areas at the same location.
The one advantage to the fixed position operation is they are less likely to be bidding work, so not knowing what they are facing in a shorter period of time can be absorbed better into the yearly-budgeted production runs.
Wear parts are also items for which you need to keep your options open. You don’t want to get stagnant, missing opportunities of new technological advancement. Another important factor is knowing product shortages do happen from time to time for various reasons. Always doing business with or getting your product from one provider, who suddenly runs low on inventory, can really catch a person off guard.
One good solution to not being caught without available product is to contract purchase with a single-source provider so they can properly and safely inventory what you forecast or need 6 to 12 months at a time. Under the contract agreement, everything is typically priced to hold until it is time for the next contract period, which can give you time to look into alternative suppliers, allowing for some good competition for you, the consumer. It also lets you compare the varying product wear differentials to make sure you see value for dollars invested. If it doesn’t perform to contracted performance guarantees or percentages made as part of the agreement, it could allow you to back out of a contract.
Let’s wrap this discussion on wear parts up and from time to time remind ourselves that this necessary component of the business always needs added flexibility figured into the budgetary part of the project, as you never know when the calculated assumption will make your day or do the extreme opposite and break it. No matter the outcome, we press on and do at all again tomorrow because a new challenge is what strengthens our determination to succeed.
If you enjoy these random aggregates and quarrying equipment-based subjects, tune back in for more topics to come. Send me a subject or topic you would like brought to light and any associated questions you would like to have discussed and I will gladly provide my best answer based upon my specific point of view and personal experience.
Write me a letter and we will send you a T-shirt or ball cap:
Tim Holmberg / 2915 Idea Ave. / Aberdeen, SD 57401