Have you been challenged to install a packaging line quickly? This is becoming a frequent occurrence in order to capture market share in the fast-paced food and beverage industry. Does your plan include reusing or buying used equipment to reduce lead time and cost? On the surface, this appears to be a reasonable solution. But be careful! There are likely hidden costs that need careful consideration. The following are often overlooked or downplayed:
- Safety can’t be “grandfathered”! Before reusing a machine, a risk assessment should be completed to address safety issues and bring the machine up to ANSI or ISO requirements. Per the OSHA General Duty Clause, each employer “shall furnish to each of his employees’ employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
- Obsolete controls devices (i.e. PLCs, HMIs, VFDs, etc.) may no longer be supported or commercially available. They should be replaced to prevent extended downtime or higher maintenance costs in the future.
- Due to age and past modifications, used machines may no longer be rate capable, and have “wear and tear” that will require significant updating or servicing. Additionally, equipment documentation may no longer be up to date. This will make it more difficult to commission and maintain the equipment after it is relocated.
- The machinery may not be capable of producing new package sizes without significant modifications. Even subtle changes to the product or packaging features from the used equipment’s original design intent should be given careful consideration. Additionally, the machine may not allow for quick and efficient changeovers like modern, servo controlled machines.
- Machine center ergonomics may not meet modern requirements which will result in the need for costly platforms or lifts when relocated.
Any one of these above can result in both a costly and time-consuming effort to address. Engineering time, additional costs to return equipment to an OEM for updating/refurbishment, redesign of machine centers, and the ensuing cost and time to construct the necessary changes are all part of the true cost of used/relocated equipment.
Additionally, it’s worth considering where the used equipment’s age may lie on the ‘bath tub’ curve below. When equipment nears the 7 – 10 year mark, it begins to end its useful life resulting in more frequent failures and higher maintenance costs.
Enlisting the help of the professionals at Haskell can quickly provide you the answers needed to move forward with your project. Doing so, you can leverage our expertise and experience with equipment specification, integration, installation, and ultimately avoid getting soaked by the bathtub curve.
Written by: Vince Toto