With a thorough MRO strategy, routine maintenance and replacement part ordering will quickly become a relatively seamless process. However, no MRO strategy is perfect – and the issue of needing discontinued, obsolete equipment parts will inevitably arise.
There are several factors that might create the need to locate discontinued or obsolete parts:
- Discontinued machinery: If a manufacturer stops making a machine because they are introducing an updated version of that machine — it is likely that the manufacturer will also stop making its replacement parts at some point as well.
- Unprofitable parts: As machines that have been discontinued are found less frequently in facilities, third-party replacement part manufacturers will eventually phase out the parts for those machines from their product line.
Finding replacements for obsolete parts
As an alternative to trying to find obsolete machinery parts for aging equipment, some manufacturers buy new machinery instead. This is not always the most cost-effective or practical route (in fact, there are many ways you can affordably upgrade your current assets) — especially if the machinery you currently have still has some years left. In order to work around and anticipate issues with obsolete equipment parts to ensure you have the parts readily available for your current assets, it’s wise to have a parts sourcing strategy in place for those discontinued by the manufacturer.
Below are a few examples of where you can source obsolete machinery parts:
- Online electronic component brokers: You’re likely to be able to locate replacement parts online for some time after they are discontinued because most brokers will not sell out of their inventory of obsolete equipment parts immediately. Depending on your inventory space and plan, you may want to consider purchasing extra parts to extend the time you have access to them. If you don’t want to spend hours crawling the web and comparing prices, consulting a supply chain and procurement vendor is an option.
- The manufacturers themselves: The manufacturer may still have surplus replacement parts after discontinuing a machine. Contact the manufacturer and inquire about availability.
- Part repair: If you are unable to locate a new source of replacement parts, the repair and remanufacturing of existing parts may be the best option. Advanced Technology Services part repair services are able to bring failed parts back up to speed — extending their useful life at significant cost savings versus buying new.
- 3D printers: Electronic component fabricators are often able to reproduce replacement parts. If you can locate a vendor willing to fabricate parts for you, you will have access to a new source of replacements.
Is a broken or obsolete part causing you downtime? If so, contact us today to learn more about our time-sensitive, quality repair services that can save you 40-60% over the cost of buying new.