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Black and White — It Isn’t That Simple!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Unfortunately everything isn’t just black and white or a simple decision of yes or no without anything in between. Although it would be a rather boring world that we live in if that was the case.

In this article decisions to be made are not just black and white. What was decided in this situation may not be the best decision in a different situation.

Let’s move on and talk about the case. We have a Tennant Model 8200 Sweeper/Scrubber. This machine has been in service since 1998 – 1999; about ten (10) years.

The operator was scrubbing when he ran into something or something ran into him. It doesn’t really matter. But what happened is that the solution tank was severely damaged. And, yes, it was beyond repair. There was a large hole in the tank and it no longer held the cleaning solution. This was a “big problem.”

So, decision time or as I like to say, “Crunch time.” Do we:

#1 Repair the machine to “pre-hole” condition.
#2 Look into renting or leasing the equipment.
#3 Just out right replace it with a new unit.

When I was contacted we were at the point when the damage had occurred and Tennant was contacted for their opinion. When I was told that Tennant has been contacted, my comment was, “They will want to sell you a new unit. This will be their number one goal and they are looking for you to be a customer for the next five to ten years.”” His replay was, “yes, that’s right.”

With #3 decision out of the way (because it is the easy decision, of course). Unfortunately, also the most expensive. Buying new would cost somewhere around $40,000 to $50,000.

Let’s look into the #1 solution of “Repairing the machine.” I want to look at everything and I need vital information to make a very good educated opinion. So far we have that the equipment is a Tennant Model 8200 around 10 years old. The solution tank is damaged and needs replaced. Let’s do a question/answer session to help us make a decision.

#1 Tennant Model 8200 that is 10 years old.
#2 3300 approximate hours. This is a lot but not enough to justify to “junk it.” I have seen these machines with 6000 hours.
#3 The cost of new solution tank is approximately $1,500.00 from Tennant, not installed.
#4 Size of operation was approximately 130,000 square feet.
#5 Type of operation was light manufacturing and warehouse, not an extreme environment.
#6 The machine usage was approximately two hours a day, 5 days a week.
#7 Previous and/or past care: I was aware that this could be a touchy question, but it is an important one. If this machine has been maintained on a regular schedule; that’s a good thing!
#8 The overall condition of the sweeper/scrubber (i.e. Components) had to be looked at. Each major component was important to make a decision on the machine’s condition.

a. Engine & components
b. Hydraulic system
c. Hopper & hopper associated parts
d. Condition of wheels, tires and brakes
e. Electronics

All of these questions do not necessarily have to be in any order. There is no good or bad order. As long as these topics are discussed and looked at so a decision can be made. I have made hundreds through my thirty years experience.

It can become “a gut feeling” as well. What I look at to determine the practicality of repairing equipment are:

#1 Budget objective. Customer’s budget was $6,000.00 to $10,000.
#2 Life expectancy was three to five years (maybe more)
#3 General condition of the machine, as it was today seemed to be pretty good, except for the tank.

In my opinion, I would explore repairing this sweeper/scrubber. The key word is repairing not rebuilding because it doesn’t need to be rebuilt. Below are the steps I would perform:

#1 Replace solution tank
#2 Steam clean the entire unit.
#3 Replace high wear items such as:

a. squeegees
b. hopper filter
c. hydraulic filter and strainers

#4 New spark plugs and wire set. Change oil, etc.
#5 Install a nice new seat for the operator. Things like that always goes a long way into the care.
#6 I would target my budget around $6,000 to $8,000.00.
#7 Life expectancy should be well into three to five years. Perhaps, at that time, he could look into a new machine.

I always appreciate a reader. So, if you have any questions or comments you can e-mail me at I won’t know if you read my articles unless you tell me, so just e-mail and say “yes, I read yours articles.”

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