Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New or used equipment?


I have this favorite Used Equipment dealer I go to when in need of relays transformers breakers etc.
Bob usually has it in stock either new in the box or used as is.
And at very good prices and he stands behind what he sells and saves my customers a significant amount of money on parts.
When I buy used from him I check it out thoroughly and if there is a problem he will exchange it before I buy it. But one product Bob does not carry is rebuilt products and with good reason. Because when it comes to rebuilt products some company's do it right but too many others do not care how they rebuild it and ship it out which can lead to deadly accidents and fires.
Take the furnace Pumps motors I buy from one re-manufacturing faculty here in Pa.
They take the old units apart thoroughly clean them put in new bearings etc and do a complete test which is printed out and shipped with the pump assembly and they stand behind the rebuild which many times is better than the original equipment manufacturer OEM But then you have the kind of company's who do not do a proper job often times they clean something repaint it slap a new label on it and ship it and these company's are out there and are known about and are not being prosecuted and stopped.
You can run in to this especially when dealing with obsolete equipment and breakers.
While there are company's who follow the strict rebuilding rules for electrical breakers
Of various certifying bodies there is twice as many who do not follow these rules and this is were the problem begins when an Electrical contractor is in a bind to restore power to a complex and the only breakers available are rebuilt. The contractor has two choices he completely tears out and puts in all new equiptment or he has to go with the rebuild and hope this massive sized commercial breaker has been properly rebuilt and will trip if there is an overload. If he buys incorrectly and puts in a bad rebuild a fire and explosion is the result if there comes a time the breaker is called on. Take the recent case of two of my Industrial Customers. One a machine shop who purchased a Navy Surplus Brake shear for $12,000 that was supposed to be properly rebuilt by a California rebuild firm and tapped to work on 230 volts 3 phase.
I hooked up the machine for him everything seemed to be OK till he hit the pump button and as the motor started revving up out went the lights.
Upon closer examination I found the motor which was supposed to be a 9 lead 230 or 480 volt 1 HP 3 phase motor and was supposed to be tapped to 230 volts was in fact a rebuilt 480 volt 3 lead motor. There is no way this machine was tested before it was shipped out my customer had 2 choices put in the correct motor at $1750.00 or tap the machine back to 480 volts and re-label which was the cheaper option because when the remanufacture was called of course they denied they did anything wrong and said I did not know what I was talking about .Of course there clear over in California so by the time my customer hires a lawyer and goes through everything and even if he is successful and gets a judgment the company will be bankrupt or otherwise disappear and resurface with a new name some where. Needless to say before my customer buys another rebuilt machine he s going to have me drive or fly out to were ever and check it out before he wastes time and money on a bad rebuild. Then I have another customer who does specialty oil blending for customers if you need several gallons to a truck full they can get you the type of oil you need for your machinery. They recently purchased a used rebuilt German made distillation unit for $48,000 so that the low Flash mineral spirits they use to clean out oil tanks and vessels can be recycled instead of having to pay for hazardous waste hauling. It’s a win-win situation
He saves hauling costs he saves cost of buying new mineral spirits and the waste oil generated by the distil process gets burned in his waste oil heater They will save over $30,000 a year this way. My customer got the rebuilt unit and we carefully hooked it up.
All the electrical connections for the unit had to be wired to explosion proof standards because they were in a hazardous area and the main controller was on the other side of the wall in the non-hazardous classified area.
The unit was purchased thru the authorized Ohio distributor of the manufacturer
Who purchased it from a company that was using the distiller unit for nitro cellulose.
So the control unit had all kind of extra safety controls my customer did not need and were supposed to be removed and or bypassed and the unit was to be tested before the control unit was to be shipped out. Well the unit was never tested and was shipped out as is which meant between my self and the tech the re-builder sent out had to spend over 100 hours getting the controller to properly work after replacing several bad parts and bypassing what should have been by passed. In the end the re-builder lost money on the deal because they had to pay me for my time as well as airfare for the tech etc. All because they were too busy to do the job right and were anxious to get the unit out the door .At least this time the re-builder /distributor stood behind there unit.
The problem with both these cases is that serious injury could have resulted besides the time and money lost. But then again were are the various agency’s who are supposed to be making sure this kind of situation is not happening .Well there are basically none when it comes to industrial many AHJ do not involve them selves and codes are marginally followed. OSHA enforces guarding etc on machines but not there rebuilding.
You are left with States attorney generals who are over worked and more busy with consumer issues and taking civil actions .Which means the re-builders get away with
Illegal and improper actions and nobody gives a care.

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