C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Market responds to Components Exchange Program

Crane hire companies were quick to respond to the Baden Components Exchange Program. Cranes and Lifting explains.

In The MAY/JUNE edition of Cranes and Lifting, we highlighted  the launch of the Baden Components Exchange Program and how it can help minimise customer down time when components need replacing.

Following publication of the article, Ben Baden received a number of positive phone calls.

“The article generated a strong response from customers, and in particular the Components Exchange Program. As a result, we have already had the 55t Liebherr telescope cylinder change over twice.

“The first time I changed the 55t Liebherr tele cylinder, it was a relatively simple re-chroming job. With this, the customer’s crane would have been down for approximately three to four weeks. We swapped the telescope cylinder out in three days and then overhauled his cylinder. When you factor in the daily hire rate for a 55t all terrain, the customer has saved a lot of money due to the limited downtime of the crane,” said Baden.

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According to Baden, cylinders can get damaged for various reasons. Damage could be due old age, dirty hydraulic oil or it might be as a result of impact damage.

“Cylinders with a bit of age can potentially develop rust areas on the chrome which lifts the chrome from the cylinder, damaging the seals and causing it to leak externally.

“In this instance, the cylinder needs to be removed, stripped apart, the chrome rod is inspected for any rust, abrasions or knocks, damage, scratches or marks. The internal barrel of the cylinder is also checked for scoring and occasionally barrels will need to be honed out to bring them back to good working condition. You then get a fresh set of seals throughout and the cylinder is reassembled and bench tested. That’s pretty much the cylinder repair process.

“The cylinder repair process can be as simple as stripping the cylinder apart, finding everything just needs to be cleaned and polished, a new set of seals fitted and its put back together. That’s the best-case scenario and your quickest fix and turn-around time. Depending on your cylinder repairer, that can happen within one to two weeks,” said Baden.

The next level of repair is when the rod needs to be chromed. It goes through a process where the old chrome is stripped off it before it can be re-chrome plated. After it is re-chromed it is linished and then re-assembled. If the barrel has internal damage, the barrel will need to be honed says Baden.

“In worst case scenarios, we have cylinders that come with damaged barrels.  Either the barrel is cracked through or has been over-pressurised and expanded or they have been bent in an accident. These are the most time consuming and expensive of the repairs.

“The only way to do a proper repair is to remanufacture the barrel completely and for that you are looking at a four to six-week turnaround, as long as the materials are available. If the material isn’t available in Australia, which occasionally it isn’t, it can be three to four months to fabricate a barrel. The other option is to purchase a new cylinder from the manufacturer,” said Baden.

“We’ve turned one 90t telescope cylinder over where it was a relatively simple process and it only required re-chroming. But the second time we sold that telescope cylinder, it was to a customer who had a cracked barrel. Again, his crane was only down for a few days during the change out process.

“The important point about the exchange program is the time spent to repair that cylinder is not down time for the customer’s crane. Generally speaking, we can get the crane back in service within a few days rather than weeks. It’s then ‘my own time’ to repair the cylinder in my and have it ready to go when the next customer might need that cylinder,” he said.

Baden says he doesn’t often source new cylinder pricing but occasionally a customer will, and they find that new cylinder pricing is generally high. Then the cost of shipping has to be factored in, on top of the cost of the new cylinder, which makes it a costly exercise.

“With our system, the customer only pays for the repairs to their cylinder. Obviously, the cylinder I provide the customer is not the cylinder they are paying for, that cost has been borne by the preceding customer.

If the customer has a simple fix their bill will reflect this. When I receive a leaking cylinder from the customer and they have swapped it out using my overhauled cylinder in their crane, I then strip and assess their cylinder and they are charged the costs to repair their cylinder.

The cylinder that actually goes into their crane may have cost significant amounts of money to repair but that’s not the bill the customer pays. They pay the bill for the repair of the cylinder that came out of their crane says Baden.

“That’s the only way the system can be fair and equitable for everyone. Otherwise someone that gives me a cylinder which has a significant repair cost, may only pay for a simple repair cost and that’s not how the program works. You have to pay for your cylinder’s repair.

“The 90t cylinder has been turned over twice and the 55t Liebherr telescope cylinder has been turned over twice. Again, once with a relatively simple re-chroming repair and once with a cracked barrel.

“With older version cylinders, or cylinders from cranes older than 10 years of age, we are updating those cylinders to more current versions. That’s because there are inherent problems with older version cylinders which cause cracks to occur.

“The newer cylinders don’t have that problem. We are updating and modifying the older version cylinders to have the latest version, which fit into the older model cranes with no problem,” said Baden.

Baden confirms he sold the 90t telescope cylinder, the 55t telescope cylinder, the 130t Liebherr luffing cylinder and the Link Belt 80t luffing cylinder all as a result of the article.

“As far as the reach of our program, I’m happy to share that two of the cylinders went interstate one to Victoria and one to Queensland. One of the 90t Liebherr’s went to Victoria, the Link Belt went to Queensland and the two 55s and the other 90 were delivered in New South Wales,” said Baden.

“But it is clear how crane owners benefit from the program. As I described previously, while cylinder repairs are definitely an expensive component of crane maintenance, they are insignificant compared to the down time of the machine.

“We think there is potential for this program and we will continue to improve on our cylinder stockpiles to be able to have more available, at least of the most popular models,” he said.

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