Safety Instrumented Systems / Distributed Control / Motors

Clearing Out Old Process Control Equipment Benefits Bottom Line

Getting Rid of Equipment Might Make a Pet Project Financially Viable, Put Outdated Material to Good Use

By Paul Studebaker

 I’m still one of those people who can put two cars in his two-car garage, but I admit it’s only because the previous homeowner added a 16-foot extension, leaving a spacious, if unheated and occasionally rodent-infested, space in the back for working on things and collecting junk. Every spring, I find it’s necessary to clear out some of the latter to perform any of the former.

I’m no amateur junk collector. I save everything until I’m convinced I’ll never be able to salvage any part of it, or put it to use in any way whatever. I would hesitate to admit that in such a permanent and public place if I weren’t certain that many of you and/or your coworkers have a similar mindset. But, I’ve met many of you; I’ve been in the bowels of factories and plants; and I’ve seen the groaning racks, the dingy corners, the back lots of maybe-salvageable crap, obsolete spares and miscellaneous stuff folks don’t even know they’ve forgotten.

It must be spring, because I recently got notes from three different entities that are eager to come to your plant, clean out the old stuff, and give you either cash or credit toward things you genuinely need and want.

With the economy picking up, I wasn’t surprised to hear from Asset Recuperation Inc., which specializes in the big stuff. “We are a Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company that buys and resells large industrial equipment," says Sam Miller, operations manager. “We can get companies top dollar for their equipment they no longer need. I purchase anything from like-new to scrap, and can also handle removals if need be. We’re currently looking for used boilers, chillers and generators all over the country."

Some clients hold the credit until they need it to close the gap on a project that otherwise might not make its numbers.

 Members of the Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League (PEARL) have always been interested in remanufacturing your motors, drives, switchgear, etc., to the highest quality standards, taking them in trade for in-stock rebuilt equipment or buying your cast-offs for their inventories. Now they’ll not only meet the standards, they’ll be writing them. PEARL has been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop consensus technical standards for reconditioning electrical equipment for industrial and commercial installations.

Automation Service specializes in process control equipment, selling its own line as well as remanufactured Rosemount, Honeywell, Foxboro, Fisher and other components at 30% to 70% of their original cost. The company will send representatives to inventory your discards, make a proposal, haul them away and issue a credit. Instead of a few cents as scrap, companies typically get $10 to $15 per pound for transmitters, controllers, positioners and valves.

Some clients hold the credit until they need it to close the gap on a project that otherwise might not make its numbers. “It’s a great way for I&E to retain the value of an asset they originally purchased," says Steve Ploudre, raw materials manager.

Cleaning out my workshop lets me enjoy making necessary repairs, and allows me to take on new projects in good spirits. Clearing out old equipment not only benefits your bottom line and might make a pet project financially viable, it can get that material into the hands of people who can put it to good use.

Speaking of good hands, we welcome Senior Technical Editor Leslie Gordon to the staff. Along with a decade of experience as a technical writer, Leslie has spent years on the factory floor and as a machinist, working for a tier one supplier as well as various machine shops. Leslie earned her BA, while employed full-time, third shift at TRW Valve Division, and holds an MS in information architecture and knowledge management from Kent State.

We hope you’ll enjoy the season, this issue and Leslie’s perspectives on process control.