Deciding to Repair or Replace Your Industrial Parts
Each year, factories waste millions of dollars by concluding that new industrial parts are a prerequisite for trouble-free operation. But is replacing parts instead of repairing them really the most cost-effective option?
It’s natural for us to crave new things. From the latest gossip, to recent health trends, to the most up-to-date gadgets, new is nearly always perceived to be better. New is also perceived to be expedient—and when factory equipment malfunctions, it can seem faster and less bothersome to simply replace a worn part instead of repairing it. But replacing may not be the right decision for your business. Data has shown that repaired or re-engineered components can save 40-60% versus the cost of buying new. Here are a few reasons repairing your industrial parts might be be a long-term cost saver for your maintenance operations.
Repairing Parts Can Help Predictive Maintenance Work Better
Up to 20% of plant operating expense is maintenance related; for example, many electronic cabinets are exposed to dust, humidity and water, which is why they have gasket seals. But if those seals start to fail, a proper repair protocol would include replacing the chip that caused the failure of the board, followed by replacement of the cabinet seal so adverse conditions don’t cause similar problems in the future.
Evolving standards in parts repair can support a move from reactive to predictive maintenance practices; updated technologies and root cause analysis techniques can measure equipment health in real time, with the repair process using such instruments to determine why something failed and how to predict future failure in other parts. “Replace with new” is a reactive strategy; repairing, by contrast, can reveal issues that support predictive maintenance approaches, not only making compliance easier but also causing factories to run more efficiently through improved design.
Collecting Parts Repair Data Supports Critical Decisions in your Manufacturing Environment
Recording all kinds of metrics, from mean time between failure to warranty tracking, inventory turns, last price paid and more, is critical. The discipline supports good manufacturing practices by documenting performance and identifying problems before they occur. And from a maintenance standpoint, if the same part fails multiple times in the same place or across similar units, data is available to determine the cause. There is a story behind every failed component. Don’t let that story get away in the scrap bin.
Repairable Parts Management is More Effective with Parts Repair
The best maintenance programs involve both transactual and Repairable Parts Management (RPM) options. Transactual services (such as our own Parts Repair offerings) provide offsite repair along with failure reports, reverse engineering, commercial calibration, warranties and more. RPM is a more robust onsite solution that captures more information and helps ensure the fastest turnaround time. When administered by a full-time team, it also includes complete asset management services, preventive maintenance programs, and process improvement efforts. All of these combined ensures that you’re getting the best value for your money.
There will always be an appeal—and yes, sometimes an advantage—to fast, easy replacement of worn-out parts with new. The real point, however, is to determine not what is expedient, but what is most beneficial to the business. By taking a more enlightened approach to parts management, it’s possible to make not only one piece of equipment run better—but your entire factory as well.
Get more insight on replacing or repairing your factory parts from our whitepaper. To learn about ATS’ industry-leading parts repair services and capabilities, view our info here or contact us to discuss your parts challenges.
Eric Martin is a General Manager for Advanced Technology Services, Inc.