An operator inserts a tool in the honing machine at the start of a cycle. Whane Supply hones cylinders with bore IDs up to 17 in. The HTA tube-honing system supplied by Sunnen handles parts weighing up to 8,000 lb. (3,629 kg), with ID ranges from 2.5 to 21 in. (63.5 to 533 mm).
Rebuilding and reconditioning is an important line of business for Caterpillar – the world’s largest supplier of construction, earth-moving, and agricultural equipment. For the equipment owners and operators, rebuilding makes economic sense, particularly with regard to the hydraulic components. Since 2008, rebuilding has been in such demand at a Corbin, Ky., Caterpillar dealer that it has added machining capabilities to its hydraulics shop.
Among the critical components now installed at Whayne Supply is a Sunnen HTA tube hone: it allows Whayne to resurface scratched and rusted cylinder barrels, reportedly saving customers 80% or more over the cost of a new barrel. Brought in during 2009, as part of a beta test of Sunnen's new all-electric machine design, the hone has been used to process more than 1,000 barrels in the three years since then. Bringing this previously outsourced machining work in-house has helped Whayne to increase its revenues and add new staff, and to improve delivery schedules and costs for customers.
Whayne is Cat-certified to conduct complete machine rebuilds: Since 1985, it has completed more than 400 rebuilds on 33 different machine models. In 2001, it was honored for completing the 5,000th Cat-certified rebuild. Whayne has 14 locations and approximately 1300 employees. Of those, 200 are at work in the Corbin shop.
"Simple economics dictate that customers are going to be rebuilding machines until the economy – and the coal industry in our region – both strengthen significantly," said Mike Harbin, Manager of Whayne's Power Rebuild Center. "We have customers who are tearing down machines in the field and completely rebuilding them. The machine shop and the honing system have helped us stay on top of this trend. We have added five people in our shop alone to handle the increased volume."
Whayne has rebuild centers in Louisville and Corbin, where all of its Caterpillar exchange/re-sell goods are processed. The Corbin hydraulics shop has eight cylinder technicians, three full-time machinists, three pump experts, plus a foreman and service coordinator. In 2009, this operation added machining to its hydraulics shop, including two vertical mills, two lathes, drill press, rotary surface grinder, welders, and saws. The shop stocks various sizes of chrome-plated bar and DOM tubing, some of it pre-cut for standard Cat sizes.