How to recycle an OB truck

A new one-stop decommissioning service from UK SI Broadcast Networks promises to turn those old OB trucks and kit into cash. And with fully laden trucks ranging in value from £50k to £1.5m and strong demand for pre-owned kit and vehicles in the East European market in particular, it could turn out to be a lucrative business, not to mention a useful one for an industry still struggling to raise finance via the usual channels.

According to the company, the decommissioning service is comprehensive and transparent. First the statement, then the details: “The process starts with a technical evaluation of all used equipment and an estimated purchase price is determined. The entire inventory is then removed from site so that the customer does not have to spend costly man-hours trying to sell or dispose of individual items and prepare for clean-site access for the new system build. All sellable equipment is returned to Broadcast Networks’ UK facilities, where it will undergo a thorough quality assessment and if necessary, repair or reconditioning. The company will safely dispose of any kit of no-economic sale value, in accordance with Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations, and the cost of removal will be deducted from the final offer to the customer.”

So, where does this put the average OB truck? According to BN’s Tom Haye, a well built truck that was originally constructed by a high quality coachbuilder should last between 15-20 years. “For budget vehicles we would anticipate that a life expectancy of 10 years is more applicable and this is when we would expect them to be presented for decommissioning,” he says.

As mentioned, the potential amount that can be released varies wildly from £50k to £1.5m. The UK fleet has a slight advantage in that UK-based coachbuilders like Smiths and Spectra have very good reputations worldwide and clients know they can still get good use out of well looked after vehicles. Different kit also retains different values over different periods. “Early HD cameras are still commanding premium values and are now finding their way into the used market,” says Haye. “There is good demand for Thomson and Sony EVS slo motion systems, both of which are mainly HD and are still very much sought after. Also popular are work horse VTR decks and monitoring.

Haye adds that demand from Eastern Europe remains strong for high quality used OB vehicles. “The used market is also on the increase in Western Europe with clients becoming more and more cost conscious, and we are noticing more interest from China, the Middle East, Asia and South America,” he adds. “Although the service is new we are already seeing a lot of interest.”

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