PLAINFIELD, IND. — With one eye on fleets seeking new levels of efficiency and the other on the increasing pressure on all companies to be environmentally benign, Meritor Inc., is turning up its remanufactured-components division to unprecedented levels of production.
In fact, the company recently invested $2.7 million in equipment for its Plainfield, Ind., reman facility.
The Plainfield site remanufactures commercial truck components, and the company officials hosted journalists from across North America this week to see the facility and learn about Meritor’s ambitious plans. More than 30,000 tons of metal are recycled annually in Meritor’s remanufacturing operations worldwide, and the company recycles 90 percent of all waste from operations. More than 40,000 tons of cores, or original components, are processed at Meritor remanufacturing facilities annually.
Considered by many to be “the ultimate form of recycling,” a remanufactured component is similar to a new replacement part. It is re-manufactured using a standardized industrialized process, which is in line with specific technical specifications and incorporates defined core management standards. A remanufactured part is generally covered by the same warranty as a new replacement part.
Realizing the increasing role remanufacturing plays in fleet maintenance, the Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) is actively promoting the use of remanufactured components.
“At MERA, we are elevating the understanding and perception of remanufacturing,” said John Chalifoux, president, MERA. “Our members use standardized industrial processes to produce superior quality remanufactured parts that deliver valuable benefits for both customers and society.”
Truck owners are opting to use remanufactured components for repairs because of their high quality and ease of delivery. In fact, the rise in the sale of used trucks is being mirrored by the sale of remanufactured components.
“Trucking operations of all sizes are realizing the real value of remanufactured parts,” said Doug Wolma, general manager, Global Aftermarket Operations, Meritor. “Not just in terms of straight cost, which can be 30 percent less, but also in terms of the quality which remanufactured parts bring to their bottom line.”
Due to the expense of transporting the cores, it’s most cost-effective to remanufacture components locally. As more truck and fleet owners discover the benefits of remanufactured components, remanufacturing companies are adding employees to handle the demand.
“One of the most costly things about remanufacturing is that you have to bring the core back to the factory, ” Wolma said. “Ultimately this means more remanufactured products are produced locally (in the United States) creating more jobs here in the plant and in the transportation sector.”
Meritor remains committed to sustainability. These efforts not only impact the community, but also improve motor carriers’ operational efficiencies, according to Dwight Treen, site manager, Meritor’s Plainfield facility.
One component that Meritor remanufactures in Plainfield is brake shoes. Used shoes are cleaned, shot-blasted and processed through a five-stage wash and pre-treatment process before Meritor’s innovative PlatinumShield™ coating is applied. The coating was developed in 2009 by Meritor’s brake engineering team to resist micro-abrasion caused by the movement of the brake lining against the shoe table during normal use eliminating rust-jacking. Rust-jacking occurs when rust forms on bare shoe metal under the lining, causing it to lift and crack.
“The real benefit to customers is lower overall maintenance costs,” said Tim Bauer, product director, Meritor. “The elimination of premature brake jobs resulting from cracked linings will make fleets using these shoes more competitive.”
Meritor’s Wolma reiterated that remanufactured components offer higher quality and lower costs than rebuilt components, and fill a distinct market niche with older vehicles operated by the second or third owners seeking the lowest costs to remain competitive. According to Wolma, this demand for remanufactured product will grow in the future and include more sophisticated electronic components. The product portfolio will grow, change, shift and broaden to include electronics, controls, and mechatronics.
More truck owners are opting for remanufactured components for reduced costs and nationwide warranty. Recently, the increased number of remanufactured components has matched the influx of used trucks in the marketplace.
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