Cost, time and human resources in favour of the new retrofit

Upgrading a machine and retaining its approval

Is it worthwhile to upgrade a machine that is 20 to 30 years old? Would it not be more economically efficient to procure a new machine? These are questions that many machine operating companies are faced with again and again. Deutsche Plasser has a clear-cut answer: Retrofit. The new upgrade programme saves you cost and time and enhances existing operators’ workplaces significantly.

You do not get rid of a machine easily that has been working well for decades. You know what it can do. You appreciate the experience your staff have gained in operating the machine. On the other hand, technologies change over the years; this can reduce the economic efficiency of a machine over time or even cause issues for fulfilling certain contracts.

With its retrofit, Deutsche Plasser now offers a service programme that is tailored to precisely that situation. A retrofit upgrade means that the intact basic elements of the machine remain and that only those areas are reconditioned and renewed where it is necessary. Only those components are replaced that result in higher productivity due to new technologies. Typical examples would be the DRP data recording device, the new SmartALC guiding computer or the latest measuring technology. All work is planned in cooperation with the machine operating company and will therefore match its available spending volume. Following such an upgrade, the machine will be operational again for another 10 to 12 years.

Cost and time speak in favour of a retrofit

Of course, a lot depends on the current condition of the machine but upgrading a machine to the latest technology is nowhere near as cost-intensive as the purchase of a new machine.

Even more favourable is the time comparison. Depending on delivery time and approval procedure, it can take up to three years until a new machine goes into operation. In comparison, a retrofit takes six to eight months, depending on the scope of work and the size of the machine. After that, the machine will go straight back to work on the track. If requested, the machine operating staff can even be involved in the retrofit. This way the staff will continue working and can gather valuable experience about the machine during the upgrade work. This knowledge can come in very handy for maintenance work later on.

The approval remains valid

After an upgrade, a machine can only be deployed straight away if the approval remains valid. Deutsche Plasser will ensure that this is the case. As a partner of Plasser & Theurer, we have direct access to the machine master data, and so we know exactly what upgrade work can and cannot be performed. We also have direct contact with the Approvals Department at Plasser & Theurer, which can provide clear information in case of uncertainty. With some workshops offering similar services to retrofit there is the risk that problems may arise afterwards with regard to approvals; that way, the time frame will increase exponentially.

Proven machines continue working

Many customers particularly appreciate the SSP 110 type ballast ploughs. Numerous machines of this type are still in use. A retrofit provides the opportunity to upgrade this machine without losing its approval. This means, the machine can operate economically for more years to come.

The staff are pleased about the upgraded operators’ workplaces

The issue of staff shortages in track construction is well-known. One possibility to retain one’s own staff better is to offer more attractive workplaces. Retrofit makes just that possible. The staff do not need to part from the machine with which they have worked for many years and which they know inside out, but they will get their machine back in a completely new and substantially upgraded condition. And - as mentioned above - they can even take part in the upgrade work. A clear win-win situation for everybody involved.

An up-to-date machine for the next 10 to 12 years

The Deutsche Plasser retrofit upgrades a machine that is 20 to 30 years old so it can operate in an economically efficient manner for another 10 to 12 years. The cost of this is clearly below the procurement cost of a new machine. The time required is considerably less. The approval remains valid. For some machine types, such as the SSP 110, it opens up the possibility to continue operating at all. In addition to these clear benefits, another plus is that the staff can continue working on their machine. On a machine they have known for a long time and which they will appreciate even more once it has been upgraded and become even more attractive to work with.