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DIY hydraulic hose replacements save £144,000

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Wyko has supplied Caterpillar with a crimping machine, hoses and couplings so the company can assemble its own hydraulic hoses, thereby avoiding the costs and delays associated with a van-based hose replacement service.

Expensive downtime caused by hydraulic hose failures at Caterpillar's articulated truck manufacturing plant in Peterlee has been dramatically reduced by a straightforward and cost-effective solution implemented by Wyko, an Eriks Company.

Instead of relying on mobile hose replacement services, Caterpillar now produces its own replacement hoses on site, which means that, as well as being available within minutes of the need arising, the new hoses also cost much less. In the first year since the change was made, savings of £144,000 have accrued.

During recent discussions aimed at identifying areas where Caterpillar could save money, the Wyko hydraulics team learned that by far the largest cause of downtime at the plant was hydraulic hose failure on the machines that manufacture the tracks for Caterpillar vehicles.

Given the arduous operating conditions associated with the machines, it would have been difficult to eliminate the failures entirely. However, Wyko determined that a major part of the problem resulted from the time taken to obtain replacement hoses. With no hose supplier in the vicinity, Caterpillar was relying on van-based mobile hose replacement services. Delays of an hour or more between calling for the service and the van arriving on site were common. In addition, the hoses provided by the mobile service were very expensive.

Crimping machine

To address this situation, Wyko arranged to supply Caterpillar with a crimping machine, along with a carefully structured stock of hose and couplings. This enables the Caterpillar maintenance team to produce almost any type of hose assembly on site, rapidly and without the need to call on outside services.

The crimping machine, hose and couplings were chosen from the range offered by Gates Hydraulics, for whom Wyko is a major distributor. The machine was installed by Wyko, and the company is also responsible for the formulation of the stock profile and management of the stock. In addition, Wyko arranged for Gates Hydraulics to provide Caterpillar staff with training in the production of hose assemblies. This was an essential part of the package, as the assemblies work at very high pressures, and the correct procedures must be used during their production to ensure that they will operate safely under these conditions.

Savings of £144,000 were achieved in the first year of operating the in-house hose replacement facility; this in part reflects the lower price of the hoses. By far the largest element is, however, made up of the reduction in downtime costs, as plant can now usually be restored to operation in minutes rather than hours. A further important benefit is that the disruption to production caused by hose failures is now also greatly reduced.

With its wide industry knowledge, and its access to an exceptionally broad range of engineering products and services, Wyko is well placed to provide money- and time-saving services for all sectors of industry, as the experience of Caterpillar in Peterlee amply illustrates. For more information about Wyko, visit www.wyko.co.uk.

 
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