As industrial processing machines age, they become more prone to unexpected breakdowns, even in spite of proper maintenance.
This leaves organizations with a choice–do they perform repairs as issues arise, foot the bill for a rebuild and hope it prolongs the life of the machine indefinitely or just spring for a whole new machine?
It’s not an easy decision, especially as each choice carries significant monetary and production ramifications.
So, which way should an organization go? Let’s look into the benefits and shortfalls of each option to find out!
Is It Time to Repair, Rebuild or Replace?
Repairs are great for fixing unexpected issues as they arise. Organizations repair machines that have broken down without warning to bring them back to life and resume production. Generally, repairs can be done on the shop floor by the organization’s maintenance/service team, or they can be performed in collaboration with the manufacturer’s service team–virtually or onsite.
Repairs are usually the most cost-effective means to keep a machine running, as it focuses just on the part that failed.
While that’s great for the bottom line, it only addresses the current issue. Depending on the machine’s age and how much it’s used, there could be other problems waiting in the wings to crop up–problems that could be fixed pre-breakdown with a rebuild.
As machines get more miles on them, breakdowns can happen more and more. At that time, it would be good for the organization to consider a machine rebuild.
Rebuilds are the most expensive way to keep a current machine running because they’re also a lot more thorough and complicated than a repair. Whereas a repair typically focuses on one problem and/or part, a rebuild will involve multiple parts in the machine. Plus, the processor typically has to ship the machine to the OEM, rather than perform the rebuild in the processor’s facility. This ensures the OEM has the tools, parts and space needed to perform the rebuild correctly. It also helps keep the rebuild from hindering other processes.
During a rebuild, the OEM will dismantle the machine and replace key parts. At EnSight Solutions, we always remove and replace all wear items on every rebuild. It’s not a matter of if they need it or not–if the machine needs to be rebuilt to run like new, the wear parts are near failure already.
A rebuild isn’t always an option, though. There are parts on many machines that are not eligible for rebuilding. Gear reducers and motors are a couple of examples–the manufacturers put old models on an “outdated list.” In that case, the machine OEM can retrofit the machine with a new, but similar, part.
Controls are another part that can be hard to rebuild due to updates and new features. But again, those can often be retrofit.
Sometimes, the scope of a rebuild can get so complex that it makes more sense for the processor to consider a replacement.
Before shipping a machine back to the OEM, the processor can talk to the manufacturer to determine if a rebuild is worthwhile. Often, the OEM can provide a high-level quote based on the machine’s age and frequency of use.
If the machine has a lot of wear parts that will need to be replaced, or it has a lot of components that are on “outdated lists,” the quote could end up coming close to the price of a new machine, especially when shipping costs (which can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the size of the machine and the distance) are factored in.
In that case, some organizations find it makes more financial sense to just spend a little more money up front to get a brand-new machine. This allows them to run their current machine until their new machine arrives, ensure there’s no disruption in production (as long as the current machine is operational, that is).
From costs to lead times to a machine’s age–there’s a lot the processor should consider when deciding the fate of their old machine.
The EnSight team can help you make that decision easily. We know our machines front to back, so when you call us asking for advice, we’ll be able to provide information regarding wear items, wait times and more. In the end, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that fits your organization’s needs.
Contact our industrial processing specialists to learn more.