How to ensure machine repairs are truly economical
The Engineering Network Ltd
Posted to News on 17th May 2007, 06:38

How to ensure machine repairs are truly economical

Brian Sims, internal sales manager at Moog, gives us an insight into industrial repair programmes and argues that companies should consider authentic offerings rather than the quick-fix alternatives.

How to ensure machine repairs are truly economical

In most instances of machine downtime, repair is often the most cost-effective remedial action. However, unless this repair is carried out to the same exacting standards as those governing the machine or component's original build, an economic approach can rapidly degenerate into a false economy.

In much the same way, a simple like-for-like replacement of parts is often not the right course of action. If your machine or device has been running for a number of years, the chances are that the tolerances are no longer the same and the performance figures will almost certainly be different. Sims explains: "This is where the knowledge of the original equipment manufacturer pays dividends, not only towards the continuing optimal performance of your machine or process, but also towards the peace of mind that you have had the best possible repair available on the market."

Modern CAD and analysis capabilities have given today's engineers access to a vast array of testing capabilities able to generate data that, in the past, could only be obtained from monitoring operational performance over extended periods of time. Sims continues: "These capabilities give engineers a far deeper insight into how components interact with each other and how their day-to-day operation will be affected by varying degrees of process and environmental conditions. It follows, therefore, that the original equipment manufacturer is the only complete source of information with regard to any repair activities."

Not only will they know the original design and test specifications of the product, they also know, through a great deal of testing, how the current performance relates to factors such as wear patterns, component fatigue, tolerances and revised performance capabilities.

Long-term reliability

Looking at the long term, authentic repair programmes are by far the most cost effective route. Sims explains: "Although other repair agents exist, what they do not have is the intimate product knowledge that the original manufacturer possesses, which is obtained from original design, test and build sequence. Initially the repair may look satisfactory, but it is when you analyse the performance that weaknesses will appear. With the best will in the world, a repair agent can analyse and test a product to enhance their knowledge but, in the end, it all boils down to guess work, as they do not possess the original specifications."

Life testing is a vital part of any product development programme. Sims elaborates: "The ability of a supplier to make an assessment based on actual performance versus the original specification allows the original manufacturer to make the well informed and accurate judgements that are simply out of reach to third parties. Not only can an original supplier interrogate these results and use them to gauge the cause of failure or wear, it can also suggest the best possible course of remedial action, which, in some cases, might not be a simple like-for-like replacement."

Repair time

Sims is not averse to pointing out that there are some good repair agencies, but it is only the original equipment manufacturer with the experience of their own products that can offer the all-important peace of mind: "Another major factor to consider in any repair offering is the length of time taken to do these repairs. Downtime is expensive for any company, so realistic timetables are essential to allow companies to factor in repair schedules. This is where product experience comes in again; greater experience of the product more often than not means that repairs can be performed to tight deadlines. If larger shutdown periods are needed, these can also be more accurately forecast by the original supplier."

Authentic repair programmes will often offer standard turnaround times or rapid repair and replacement schemes, often in timescales that could only be guaranteed by those with intimate knowledge of the component or equipment.

Sims concludes: "Best of all, you will know that after the repair, your machine or process will run trouble-free, often with a far lengthier guarantee than you would get using a third party."

Moog Controls

Ashchurch Industrial Estate
Alexandra Way
GL20 8NA

+44 (0)1684 296600

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