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Business case grows for re-plating hydraulic parts

by John Bambridge on Nov 6, 2016

Rajeev Daswani, MD of Marami Metal Plating.
Rajeev Daswani, MD of Marami Metal Plating.

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As industries across the world search for cost-cutting measures, one growing segment is the market for re-plated parts – a sub-segment of the re-manufactured parts industry that is particularly suitable for the restoration of hydraulic components.

According to the report Global Metal Finishing Market, by Mordor Intelligence, the global metal finishing market is estimated to be growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.5% and is expected to reach $101.9bn by 2020, up from just $69.8bn in 2014.

Replacement parts for heavy hydraulic machinery are increasingly available from various countries such as China, India and Italy at various price points – but they are often no true replacement for the original parts and can result in greater costs being accrued due to faster wear and tear.

Rajeev Daswani, MD of Marami Metal Plating, said: “We service a large variety of hydraulic pistons and cylinders of various sizes that tend to be heavily damaged once they come to us. We find that these damages could have been prevented if a proper service schedule was maintained, and if the parts were serviced at regular intervals.”

Replacement chrome bars for hydraulic systems are a good example. While cheap, replacements typically come with a protective metal coating of only 25 microns that, depending on the profile of use, can wear quickly and lead to higher expenses incurred from regular maintenance and downtime.

Alternatively, companies can opt to restore the original parts by re-applying a higher and thicker layer of approximately 200 microns of hard plating in original base materials, like chrome, to prolong working operations and decreases the frequency of maintenance and downtime losses.

Daswani continued: “We see hydraulic repair companies simply check to see if the existing chrome is passable. Once they find that the chrome in the cylinder and piston is fine, they change the seals and re-assemble the parts. Although this is very common, a more proactive approach is better.

“Cheaper replacement parts can be of inferior quality. These parts could not only wear away easily due to the lower thickness of chrome, but also potentially damage a unit, resulting in severe losses.”

For some contractors and asset operators, reconditioning original parts in order to both increase the longevity of the part and protect the integrity of the machine as a whole can ensure better long-term productivity and a higher return on investment.