High quality engine remanufacturing – or reman for short – is like turning the clock backwards. The engine is completely stripped down, cleaned up and all the wearing parts are renewed. All engine surfaces are resurfaced and machined so the engine is like factory fresh from every aspect. As a final touch, a fresh coat of paint makes the engine indistinguishable from new. But why choose engine remanufacturing over a new engine or buying a new machine entirely?
Different standards of remanufacturing
With different operators, the word “factory remanufacturing” can mean very different things. For some, it is more like factory repair: they take a faulty engine and repair the broken parts without necessarily touching anything else.
“There are many kinds of remans”, confirms Jussi Rinne, Quality and Aftermarket Director at AGCO Power. “Our principle is that if a part faces abrasive or fatigue wear, it is replaced. Also, the common rail in the fuel system, for example, is renewed due to pressure impulses from operation.”
According to Rinne, the parts that are not replaced in fact improve with use.
“The exposure to the pounding of use makes the cast iron parts more durable – in theory at least,” he smiles.
Another important part of the remanufacturing is to implement all the upgrades the engine model has undergone during its lifecycle.
“This means the engine is made into its most recent version with all the improvements,” Rinne says. “There can be many kinds of upgrades, such as updated pistons.”
Thinking ahead saves money
For the machine owner, the engine remanufacturing is above all economically sound from the lifetime cost point of view – particularly when the daily operating hours are high, which is often the case with tractors. A remanufactured engine costs less than tenth of a price of a new tractor, which means significant savings.
“Valtra and Fendt, to name a few, offer also power train remanufacturing, which can include replacing the clutch and other wear-prone parts,” Jussi Rinne reminds us. “If a long service life is desired, we have the solution.”
Another source of cost savings comes from improved reliability. In harbors, for example, it is critically important that a straddle carrier or forklift that is used nearly 24/7 does not break down unexpectedly. Preventive maintenance using the reman principle keeps the containers moving without expensive unplanned downtime.
“Also, the marine engines in ferryboats are running almost around the clock,” Rinne reminds us. “It’s far better to remanufacture them before a serious breakdown.”
Experience and professional pride
Every remanufactured engine is an individual, which calls for a wide know-how and skill from the person making the overhaul. If there were one word to describe the reman mechanics at AGCO Power, it would be “experience.”
“The tenure of an average technician must be over twenty years,” Jussi Rinne says. “The have the experience from every engine type already from the assembly line and they are familiar with every component.”
Remanufacturing an engine is a one-person job, where the same mechanic does the entire engine from strip-down to rebuild. This gives them a strong sense of professional pride for their work.
“Our mechanics are rebuilding the engines like they were doing it to themselves,” Rinne says. “It is possible to spot some problems during the dismantling, and when the entire process is in the same hands they are guaranteed to get fixed.”
According to Rinne, one good indicator of the higher level of expertise needed for reman work is the broad spectrum of engine models compared to assembling new engines. When manufacturing a new engine, some 200 parts lists are made, while the remanufacturing work requires 1500.
The time for reman is now
At AGCO Power, the growing demand for remanufactured engines says it very clearly: since 2010, the number of remanufactured engines has more than doubled.
“Over 80% of a new engine carbon footprint comes from casting and machining the parts,” Jussi Rinne reminds us. “Almost all cast iron parts can be reused in remanufacturing, which makes the remanufactured engine carbon footprint at least 70% smaller than the one of a new engine.”
The reduced carbon footprint has a great significance to companies that have committed to reduce their corporate-level carbon footprint a certain amount.
“When we look at the entire supply chain, the farmer is a part of reducing the carbon footprint,” Jussi Rinne says. “Arla, for example, monitors the carbon footprint of each ton of raw milk they produce, which means that refurbishing an old tractor instead of purchasing a new one can make the footprint much smaller.”
In the changing world, it is both economically sensible and in accordance with the circular economy principles to refurbish an engine instead of getting a new one. When it helps to tackle the climate change as well, you could clearly say that the time for reman is now.