When your piece of heavy construction equipment needs service, you have two choices — in-shop or field service. Which is the best service option for your piece of heavy equipment? When you’re deciding between shop or field service, there are several things to consider — the type of service you need, the size of the piece of equipment and the time frame you have. We’ve broken down each service type so you can see what they are, what services they offer, when to use them and what factors you should take into consideration when you’re making this decision.
Shop service takes place at a service facility, which means you must transport your piece of equipment from your job site to the nearest shop location. With MacAllister Machinery, you have immediate access to a state-of-the-art facility, service equipment and Cat® technicians who are committed to completing your repair quickly and effectively.
One of the benefits of in-shop service is the repairs on your equipment take place within a controlled environment that’s free of dirt and protected from weather elements. This controlled environment is ideal for heavy equipment service because in some cases — like engine repairs or drive line maintenance, for example — exposure to dirt or extreme weather can cause more damage. Having the protection of a shop can be an asset for some repairs.
What Does Shop Service Include?
Shop service includes just about everything — equipment rebuilds, painting, repairs and maintenance to hydraulics, engines and undercarriages, in addition to oil sampling, welding and fabrication. The controlled environment, access to cutting-edge tools and trained Cat technicians make shop service a great option for all of these services.
- Rebuilds — In an equipment rebuild, a repair person takes apart an entire piece of equipment — or just the powertrain — piece by piece until it’s unrecognizable. Then, talented and trained Cat technicians rebuild it all using all new parts, resulting in a piece of equipment with a new product identification number and new warranty. Many customers use this to keep an older machine working, rather than buying a new one with all the EPA regulations — plus, a completely rebuilt piece of equipment costs up to 40 percent less than a new one. The amount and type of work involved in a rebuild require shop service.
- Painting — If your piece of equipment needs painting, shop service is your only option, which makes sense. You want a painter to apply a new coat of paint in a controlled environment, without worrying about the elements affecting your fresh paint job.
- Hydraulics repairs and servicing — Hydraulics continue to get more and more complicated — and many pieces of equipment rely heavily on them. Backhoes and excavators, for example, place an excessive amount of stress on their hydraulic systems to do their jobs. Whether you’re searching for an emergency repair, inspection, system optimization, check for contamination or another more in-depth hydraulic service, we can provide this heavy equipment service in our shops.
- Engine service — Damaged engines can leave your piece of equipment completely immobile. Whether your piece of equipment has a diesel engine or a standard fuel engine, if you can get it to our shop, we can provide both minor and major repairs.
- Undercarriage repairs and maintenance — The undercarriage of your heavy equipment takes a beating when it’s hard at work. If you discover the undercarriage of your equipment needs a repair — or you would like us to inspect it — our shop service can address both of these types of heavy equipment undercarriage service. In our shop, we can fix cracks, alignment problems and tracks, in addition to looking for loose nuts and bolts, uneven wear and other issues.
- Oil sampling — Taking samples of your equipment’s oil, coolant and fuel can give you valuable insight to identify issues and optimize performance. Oil, coolant and fuel sampling are services we offer through our shop service, and it’s usually part of a maintenance plan. The analysis reports from this sampling can help you decrease costs due to big repairs by catching them when they are just minor issues. It also is a great asset for those considering future resale value of equipment, as having this as a part of service documentation can help increase your equipment’s resale value.
- Welding and fabrication — Our shops include state-of-the-art welding and fabrication equipment, so it’s no surprise our shop service includes building custom attachments and equipment welding repairs. Fixing parts saves time and money over ordering new parts, which is probably why our Cat technicians have welded or fabricated nearly every component of several different pieces of heavy equipment. Our technicians are factory trained in welding and machining, so you can be sure you’ll get a high-quality welding repair.
When Should You Use Shop Service?
If you’re wondering whether in-shop or field service is best for you, there are three situations in which we believe taking your piece of equipment into a shop makes the most sense: If equipment is mobile and easy to transport, equipment repair or maintenance is not an immediate need or if you need your equipment rebuilt or painted. Here is some additional information on these reasons to choose shop service.
- Equipment is mobile and easy to transport: If the piece of equipment you need to have serviced is something you can move easily, shop service is a great solution for your heavy equipment service needs — assuming your timeline is compatible with the shop’s business hours and schedule.
- Equipment repair or maintenance is not an immediate need: If you’re looking for a service solution for routine maintenance or have a repair you need complete by next week or next month, shop service is your answer. You have time to get the piece of equipment to and from a shop and can easily work within the shop’s business hours to get the maintenance or repairs complete — all while taking advantage of the technology and tools in the shop’s controlled environment.
- Equipment needs rebuilds or fresh paint: Both rebuilding and painting services are available exclusively in a shop, so if you need construction equipment rebuilt or painted, field service won’t be an option. It makes sense both of these services should be in-shop only because having a controlled environment for both these services is necessary for you to get the best paint job or the rebuild free of dirt and debris.
Field services are usually almost identical to shop services — however, there are some major services, like rebuilds, which need to take place through shop service. The key differences are in location and availability.
Field service is also called onsite equipment repair because the company brings the repair technicians and tools to you, rather than you taking your equipment to a shop for heavy equipment service. Another key difference is in availability. Field service technicians are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, compared to a shop being available during normal business hours.
One of the benefits of field service is that it eliminates any risk of transport hazards, equipment damage, DOT regulation issues and costs related to insurance and driver time and pay. Field service completely removes all the risks and costs associated with transporting your heavy equipment to the shop for service.
Emergency Field Service
When you think of field service, this is likely the type of field service you have in mind. You’re on the job, and something breaks down in the midst of it — unless you have a replacement, you need immediate, on-the-job service, so you can get back to work as soon as possible. Field service is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, so it’s the perfect match for your emergency needs.
Maintenance Field Service
Contrary to popular belief, emergency field service is not the only type of field service — scheduled maintenance is also available, and it’s also very convenient. Rather than scheduling maintenance to take place in the shop and having to make sure that piece of equipment isn’t scheduled to be in use for a certain amount of time, planned field service gives you the ability to avoid having to account for transportation time and get back to work immediately once your services are complete. One of the benefits of field service when it comes to preventive maintenance is you can schedule onsite maintenance at night — so you’re not taking up time on the clock.
What Does Field Service Include?
It may seem like onsite service would be restricted, but the reality is that Cat technicians come prepared with mobile service trucks that are fully equipped with diagnostic equipment and repair tools — including the ability for welding and boring, repairing electrical systems, replacing hydraulic lines and installing the latest software and security updates. The majority of Cat technicians’ field service visits are to repair or optimize sophisticated hydraulics, powertrains or electronic systems.
- Generator and switchgear service — Moving your generator or switchgear to the shop would be nearly impossible to do, so when you need a repair or routine maintenance on one of these, field service is your only option. Our technicians come prepared with everything they need on our field service trucks.
- Engine service — Damaged engines can leave your piece of equipment completely immobile, making field service a perfect solution. Whether your piece of equipment has a diesel engine or a standard fuel engine, our Cat technicians are prepared to do both minor and major engine repairs through our field service. Our field services also can help with repairs and maintenance for your generators and uninterruptible power supply systems.
- Undercarriage repairs and maintenance — You put high demands on the undercarriage of your equipment. Our field service technicians can repair or inspect the underside of your equipment, and fix any issues onsite.
- Oil sampling — We offer oil, coolant and fuel sampling in the field. This preventive maintenance can help you decrease repair costs by catching minor problems before they escalate.
- Welding and fabrication — Our field service trucks include portable welding and machining tools, so we can bring equipment welding repairs to your work site when you need them. Our experienced Cat technicians are factory trained in welding and machining, so you can be confident in the quality of your welding repair.
When Should You Use Field Service?
Here are the primary reasons many companies choose field service — they need emergency service, equipment is too large to transport easily and cost-efficiently or the equipment’s breakdown results in the inability to move it. Here are some more details about each of these reasons to use field service.
- Equipment needs to be up and running ASAP: When timing is of the essence, field service will likely be your best option. Field service technicians are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, so you never have to worry about being restricted to normal business hours. In addition to the greater availability, making repairs onsite eliminates the time that would be necessary to transport the piece of equipment to a repair shop. Field service is the answer when you can’t afford to have a piece of heavy equipment out of service for a few days.
- Equipment is too large to transport easily: If you need heavy equipment service for a crane, driller, large excavator or another large piece of equipment, it may be expensive and difficult to get it to a shop. In these cases, it may be more cost-effective to take advantage of field service, so you can eliminate the need to coordinate costly transportation arrangements and get your piece of equipment back up and running.
- Equipment is immobile: If your piece of equipment has broken down and you cannot move it, attempting to get it to a shop could cause more damage. Immobilizing breakdowns may include damage to the hydraulics, transmission or engine. Damaged tracks or wheels could also render your piece of equipment unable to move. With any of these breakdowns, field service gives you the opportunity to either fix the piece of equipment onsite or to fix it enough to be able to transport it to the shop to finish the repairs it needs.
Shop vs. Field Service: Factors to Consider
We’ve given you a description of each of the types of service, as well as some of the best situations to use each type of service. Chances are, at this point, you have an idea of what type of service is best for you. But what overall questions should you be asking as you finalize your decision? We’ve compiled a list of questions — and answers — you should be asking as you decide on in-shop or field service for your heavy construction services. Going through this list of factors to consider will help you be sure you didn’t miss anything in your decision.
- Is it an emergency? If time is of the essence and you need critical repairs immediately, field service is your only option. Field service is available 24/7, while shop service is only available during normal business hours.
- How much will it cost to transport equipment to the nearest shop? If it’s going to be expensive to physically transport the piece of equipment to your nearest MacAllister Machinery shop, field service may be a more affordable option.
- How much time will transportation to the nearest shop cost? In addition to the cost of transportation for the piece of equipment, it’s also important to consider the time it will take. How long will it be unavailable for use if you take it to the shop? If you have replacement equipment available, shop service may be best. If you need it for a job and can’t afford to go without it, chances are you’re going to want field service. Time is money, especially when early-finish bonuses are on the line.
- How soon do you need the equipment? If you need your piece of heavy equipment for a project next week, or next month, shop service is a great option. If, on the other hand, you need it first thing tomorrow morning, you’re going to want to take advantage of emergency field service.
- How big is the piece of equipment? Smaller pieces of equipment make shop service much more feasible. Larger pieces of equipment may be better suited for field service. These larger pieces of equipment might include cranes, excavators, compactors, bulldozers, trucks, drills, harvesters, shovels and power generators.
- Is the equipment mobile? If you need a repair, it’s important to assess whether or not the piece of equipment is mobile — and if it is, is it safe to move without causing more damage? For example, if the repair is to fix a broken track on your bulldozer, moving it to the shop could make the damage worse. In this case, it’s best to leave the piece of equipment onsite and take advantage of field service. However, if the equipment is mobile — and you are not concerned about causing further damage — shop service is appropriate.
Contact Us for Service
Regardless of whether you decide on shop service or field service, MacAllister Machinery has shops and field service crews available throughout Indiana and Michigan, ready to get your equipment back up and running — and to keep your equipment running at 100 percent.
If you need emergency field service, our Cat technicians are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to come to your site, diagnose and repair your heavy equipment quickly and efficiently to minimize your downtime. In addition to knowing your options for when you need a repair, it’s equally important to know your options when it comes to maintenance.
Did you know if your piece of equipment is only working at 80 percent, you’re adding one full extra day of work to a five-day workweek? A 20 percent loss in productivity translates to a four-day job taking five days to complete. At MacAllister Machinery, we offer total maintenance and repair agreements and preventive maintenance programs to ensure your equipment continues to perform at 100 percent.
Whether you have an emergency repair need, or are looking for equipment maintenance, learn more about the in-shop and field service options with MacAllister Machinery by contacting us.