Constant use and punishing tasks take their toll on even the most rugged and well-built industrial machines and pieces of equipment. Over time, the wear and tear require ongoing maintenance to keep the units running and from breaking down. Just as manufacturing of industrial machinery and equipment are major components of the U.S. export economy, machine maintenance throughout the U.S. is a huge industry, expected to generate $39B in annual revenue in 2019.
When machine maintenance isn’t enough, units will break down, and at this juncture, owners have a very important choice to make – make the repair or opt to upgrade and replace the unit. This choice might seem cut and dry, but there are numerous factors that owners and operators must take into consideration when a machine breaks to determine the best next step. Below, we’ve laid out the main factors that impact the decision between machine maintenance and unite replacement, followed by an overview of the machine maintenance services Georgia-based clients in the Atlanta metropolitan area can count on from The Equipment Hub.
Use Data To Make Informed Decisions on Machine Maintenance
Machinery isn’t built to last forever, and you should expect it to fail at some point. However, it’s crucial that you as the owner maintain detailed records on all of your pieces of machinery and equipment, including ownership records, maintenance records, output and time in use, and especially breakdowns and repair logs. This guarantees that, when a machine or piece of equipment does break down, your team has all of the facts to determine if repair is still a viable option or if replacement is the next step. Let’s dig into the various factors that can have an impact on whether you should be bringing in professionals to perform machine maintenance or calling your equipment vendor about a replacement unit.
Age of the Equipment
Every piece of equipment comes with a projected “lifespan.” This can be measured in a number of ways – hours in constant use, the number of items produced, or another finite measure based on its purpose. Detailed records will help to track the viability of the piece of machinery or equipment to determine if it’s worth making a costly repair, only to have to completely replace the unit within a short amount of time anyway.
New or old, every piece of equipment in need of repair should have the cost of the repair broken down against the potential cost of replacement, as well as an in-depth cost analysis that takes into account not only remaining service life, but also the operating costs and the market value of the unit versus the future salvage rate it would fetch.
Cost to repair includes three main factors: the cost per breakdown, one-time costs, and ongoing costs. Cost per breakdown consists of the direct repair cost (labor and part costs to remove and replace broken components, as well as testing to ensure functionality), the cost of lost productivity, and any possible collateral costs (environmental impact costs, occupational safety, and legal costs). One-time costs related to any costs specific to that repair not associated with the breakdown costs. Ongoing costs could include any residual impact on productivity following the repair and additional maintenance costs that might result over the remaining life of the unit that wouldn’t have been necessary prior to the breakdown.
Cost of Repairs
Professional technicians will generally be very upfront about whether a repair will provide a long-term solution or a short-term stop-gap delaying inevitable failure of the unit. This is where clear and accurate records help to track the overall health of a piece of machinery. If a repair returns the unit to perfect working condition and will keep the unit working, then repair is the better investment. Many operations follow a 50/50 rule when it comes to the cost of repairs: It is not necessary to replace the equipment until the cost of the repair exceeds more than half the cost of the replacement unit. If repair costs exceed the 50% mark, and it becomes obvious that a repair is only a temporary measure and will become an ongoing expense, then it’s time to consider alternatives.
When a unit goes down, it’s vital to determine how severe the breakdown is and how long it will take to secure the appropriate parts to effect repairs. Repeated failures that take days to fix leads to significant lost productivity should start the discussions as to whether or not to replace the unit, but keep in mind the additional costs and lost productivity time that could be incurred waiting for a new unit to arrive on top of the training time necessary to bring employees up to speed on using the new unit. Sometimes the repairs, even repeated repairs, could be less disruptive to your operation.
Employee Safety is Paramount
Even if you follow a rigid maintenance plan, older equipment wears down as it ages and becomes more likely to malfunction, putting your workers at risk for injury. It’s vital to follow safety standards, perform the required inspections, and determine if a unit can continuously meet and exceed the requirements. If it reaches a point where it could potentially pose a hazard to employees, it is vital to consider replacement of the unit at that juncture, as the short-term cost impact of doing so is far outweighed by the costs and potential liabilities associated with employee injuries.
Ultimately, all of this information helps the financial decision-makers make the most informed choice that results in maximized bottom-line profitability for the organization with minimized loss of revenue. The repair option often offers the fastest solution with the least amount of downtime in production, as well as minimizes the impact on your operation in terms of training requirements and associated operational costs. However, repair is often just that, a short-term quick fix that will keep your operation moving forward while you solidify plans for upgrades and modernization.
Atlanta’s Premier Machine Maintenance Service Provider
While The Equipment Hub is well known for equipment appraisals and buying and selling used equipment and new equipment alike, we’re also a resource for manufacturers in the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area for repair and machinery maintenance services. Our active role in the used equipment market means that we have a team of technicians that are well versed in troubleshooting and servicing a wide array of machinery in order to bring used equipment up to production-ready standards. We know your time is valuable, and we offer on-site repair services at competitive rates. And if we find out that repairs are only a short-term solution to your problems, our website offers a single platform to sell your used equipment and acquire either used or new replacements. Contact us today and keep your production lines rolling.
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