Used compressors are disassembled and inspected at the Bendix remanufacturing facility in Huntington, Ind.

Used compressors are disassembled and inspected at the Bendix remanufacturing facility in Huntington, Ind.

While remanufactured components have been around for quite some time, not every one is clear on exactly what they are. Yet they could be a valuable component of your parts strategy.

Remanufacturing a part brings it back to OE specs, while rebuilding brings a part back to being functional, says Henry Foxx, center of competency director, compressors and remanufacturing, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems.

A remanufacturer disassembles the component, inspects all of the parts, repairs parts back to original specification and then reassembles the component using existing parts and new critical components to replace those that could not be repaired, explains Doug Wolma, general manager, global aftermarket operations with Meritor.

There are three main benefits of reman components: cost, quality and reduced environmental impact.

Reman components typically are priced below the cost of new ones, since parts are reused and those savings are passed on to the fleet.

“Remanufacturing gives the fleet a product that has been returned to OE specs at a reduced price,” Foxx says.

Using remanufactured components also can save time when servicing a vehicle, which reduces downtime and the costs associated with it.

“The biggest value remanufacturing brings to the fleet is it speeds up getting the truck back on the road. They can swing a complete [remanufactured transmission] in in less than a day,” says William Fouch, marketing manager for aftermarket transmissions, Eaton Corp. “If they are going to repair the transmission rather than use a remanufactured one, it can add an extra day or two to the repair depending on the problem and how technical the people working on the repair are.”

James Chenier, vice president of parts sales and marketing with Volvo Trucks, adds, “Fully dyno-tested remanufactured engines can get a truck back on the road in a fraction of the time it takes to do an in-frame overhaul or rebuild.”

Remanufactured components and assemblies eliminate warranty risk for the repair and provide the greatest savings when compared with new components, Chenier adds.

Remanufacturing also can extend the life of a vehicle, Foxx says. “A fleet may not necessarily want to invest in a new part for an older vehicle. [Reman] is an opportunity to continue to extend the life of the overall vehicle.”

Inspecting reman parts

One thing that contributes to the quality of remanufactured components is the inspection process they go through. Remanufacturers inspect 100% of all parts, rejecting those that do not meet their quality criteria.

Wolma says, “There really isn’t a big difference between new and reman quality.” This is especially true since remanufacturers incorporate factory upgrades to meet the latest specifications for performance and durability, Chenier explains. Remanufactured products also come with full factory warranties and coverage nationwide.

The Reman Automotive Matrix (RAM) is used by CTDI to test advanced electronic components.

The Reman Automotive Matrix (RAM) is used by CTDI to test advanced electronic components.

Fabio Jurchak, director of sales and engineering, NAFTA for TMD Friction, uses brakes to illustrate what remanufacturers do to ensure quality.

“Remanufacturers clean the shoes, they check the dimensions, and they reapply paint to avoid rust. Since brakes are safety components, fleets should rely on a source they know is checking all the critical aspects of the shoes and linings.”

In the case of electronic parts, reman sometimes is the only viable option, according to Mark Shasteen, vice president of automotive for CTDI. “It is becoming harder and harder to get replacement electrical parts. [Fleets] are keeping their vehicles longer and technology is turning over at a quicker pace. The component suppliers simply can’t keep making the old parts in order to service older vehicles.”

Managing cores

For all the benefits of remanufactured components, cores are one negative fleets point to as a reason not to choose reman. Core management can present some obstacles, but cores are a key part of the reman value proposition.

“If you cannot or don’t have the capacity or resources to manage cores and return them to the supplier, then it doesn’t make sense to use them,” Wolma says. “If you can’t properly manage cores and get all of your core credit, you are going to come up behind on reman parts vs. new.”

However, Wolma does not believe that core management is difficult. All significant suppliers of remanufactured components offer training on proper core management to any customer who asks for it, he adds.

Dave Schultz, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems’ director of marketing and strategic pricing, points out that “even though a fleet says it doesn’t want to deal with cores, it still has some level of responsibility for disposing of the old product. Things like air dryers and compressors have oil inside them, and that is considered a hazardous waste. There is a cost associated with disposing of that properly. In a sense, it is much easier to just return the component back to the remanufacturer and let them use it.”

In the final analysis, while remanufactured parts are not a panacea they “provide a high quality alternative to a fleet so they don’t have the expense of a new component. In this day and age, everybody is watching their bottom line, and if fleets are looking for alternatives that save costs, remanufactured products provide that,” Schultz says.

Electronic reman

The remanufacturing of electronic components is a growing area of remanufacturing, but the reman procedure is different, according to Mark Shasteen, vice president of automotive for CTDI.

“Fundamentally you don’t take them apart until you’ve done a pre-screen, and after that all parts of the unit stay together throughout the whole remanufacturing process.”

In most remanufacturing, a component can be reassembled with parts others than those originally on it. “With electronic remanufacturing, it’s a little more like a visit to the doctor,” he says. “You go in, the doctor runs a battery of tests to determine what is wrong, but he doesn’t take the patient’s arms and legs off. Rather he deals with the one whole body as a unit. It stays together and maintains its identity and integrity throughout the whole process.”

Authorized team

About six months ago, Eaton Corp. took a different approach to its remanufacturing program and added Authorized Rebuilders to its offering.

“The whole concept behind the program was to try to leverage the strength companies have out there in the local market, which includes availability of the product and the ability to take cores out of the equation for the fleet by picking them up at the same time they are dropping off finished products,” says William Fouch, marketing manager for aftermarket transmissions, Eaton Corp.

Authorized Rebuilders are required to follow Eaton’s processes including using 100% genuine Eaton components, and building to specifications including packaging and paint.

Current Authorized Rebuilders are Power Train, Indianapolis; TransAxle, Cinnaminson, N.J.; and Valley Truck Parts, Grand Rapids, Mich. Eaton plans to add more Authorized Rebuilders in the U.S and Canada in 2014.