construction equipment

Refurbishing construction equipment – also sometimes called reconditioning the equipment – is a sensible response to current economic pressures, in South Africa and internationally.

Purchasing a rebuilt motor grader, for example, means that you'll receive the same performance and reliability you'd get with a new machine, but at a fraction of the cost.

Refurbishing also eliminates the potential downtime and worries associated with buying a used machine "as is".

What refurbishment entails

A used machine is just that – a machine that has been used and not necessarily maintained or serviced. It may look shiny on the outside after a strong power wash, but the "guts" of the machine are not guaranteed.

Refurbishment, on the other hand, should mean that a machine is meticulously disassembled and inspected, and that any damaged or worn parts are either repaired or replaced. The machine is then reassembled, returning it to "as new" condition.

According to John Taffe of the Association of Equipment Management Professionals, “depending on the equipment, an owner may be able to recondition two assets for the same price as buying one new. Thus, return on investment is twice that of a single new asset”.

Refurbished motor graders, for instance, have been serviced with the aim of offsetting the wear and tear associated with daily use. This increases the longevity of the machinery, along with the overall sustainability of any construction business.

What to look for in a service centre

When choosing a refurbishment agent, make sure it's clear exactly what the agent means to do. Aim to avoid a centre that may simply change the tyres and slap on a fresh coat of paint, or that may opt to use inferior replacement parts.

Instead find an agent, like KH Plant, that specialises in the art of reconditioning machines to their original, factory state and that provides some form of warranty on the work done.

When refurbishment is appropriate

Reconditioning isn't appropriate in all cases. Construction World advises business owners and equipment managers that before choosing to refurbish, they consider "the type of machine, the size of the fleet and the age and condition of the machine”.

At some point, it will become necessary, or at least preferable, to replace any machine. This applies especially if the machine has been extensively damaged, or has already undergone a less than ideal reconditioning process one or more times in the past.

A thorough inspection by specialists can help determine whether your machine has reached this point.

In general, it's more cost-effective to refurbish large machinery, like motor graders, than smaller equipment.

Another consideration is that refurbishment takes time, and temporary loss of machinery can put a strain on smaller enterprises. Over the long term, however, it's often the most sustainable, cost-effective option.

The benefits of refurbishment

The most obvious benefit of refurbishing machines is the cost savings. These can be as extreme as half of the cost of a new machine – funds you can then put to profitable use in other areas of your business.

Other benefits of refurbishing are that:

  • you won't have to invest time and money in training operators how to use a different machine, whether new or bought second hand
  • you avoid the risks associated with buying a used machine
  • if you’ve chosen a reputable workshop, you can expect performance similar to that provided by a brand new machine
  • most refurbishment processes involve cosmetic upgrades, so your machine will look shiny as new.

For highly skilled refurbishment of Caterpillar motor graders, including 140G, 140H and 140K models, contact us at KH Plant.