by andrea@studio3twenty.com andrea@studio3twenty.com

When to upgrade vs replace your plastic injection molding machine

By the time you begin to notice the increase in downtime and scrap parts, you’ve most likely already compromised man hours and expenses. No matter how diligent you are, your plastic injection molding machinery will begin to age over time and eventually reach the point where components begin to fail or become obsolete – requiring some kind of injection molding repair services. Along with that you’ll notice maintenance and performance costs begin to rise. In order to keep profit margins at an acceptable level it’s crucial that the machine is consistently running to the best of its ability – that means keeping downtime, maintenance, and scrap costs to plan. How long can your business realistically perform under less than stellar conditions while still maintaining a solid bottom line?

At the end of the day, the question that remains is “Should you replace the machine all together, or is it more cost effective to upgrade?” Determining the best solution can be challenging. It’s important to cover all your bases so you can remain competitive within your industry. A full analysis of the equipment, current issues, and future goals is necessary to come to a solid conclusion. Here are a variety of factors to consider:

Cost of upgrading vs replacing your injection molding machine

Don’t think of the cost as something you’re doing to remedy an existing issue. Instead, consider it a way to invest in the future of your organization and maximize long-term profits. Upgrading your plastic injection molding machine will reduce capital expenses, maximize profitability, and extend the life of your existing machine. Under normal circumstances an upgrade will cost about ⅓ of a full replacement. Upgrades also eliminate some significant new machine costs such as rewiring, rigging, and heavy movers. In addition, depending on the age of the machine, it’s likely that the levels of depreciation have plateaued. On the other hand, a new machine will extend the life of the equipment to an even greater degree, so long-term goals must be taken into consideration. You may also find similar tax benefits available for both an upgrade or a new machine purchase. It’s always a good idea to check with an accounting professional on these potential savings. Your decision should be based on your current capital status, future goals, and industry standards that allow you to remain competitive in the market.

Is safety currently being compromised?

Your people are your most valued resource and keeping them safe should be your top priority. To aid in the process, dual channel safety systems are now required for the machine and all integrations. When looking at upgrading an existing system, choose one that’s designed and installed so a single component failure in the system doesn’t prevent stopping action from taking place – but will prevent successive system cycles until the failure is corrected. If you have questions about this process, the team at 2R would be happy to talk further about the safety of your system.

Obsolete controllers & components :: Eliminate potential downtime

Over time, technology and products evolve, making changes necessary to meet current market standards. Many companies are looking for ways to be greener by using lighter weight components, reducing costs, and maintaining an acceptable impact on the environment. When your existing components don’t meet this criteria you start to lose your place in the competitive market. In addition, as equipment and components age you may find that parts and service are very expensive, no longer available, or very difficult to find.

One way to eliminate excessive machine downtime is by replacing the obsolete system components with current ones. If we replace unavailable parts with new components we can prevent unexpected downtime, which is an expensive problem in manufacturing. The electrical and hydraulic systems that control an injection molding machine, like any technology, will age and become difficult or impossible to purchase. The cost of these obsolete parts, when available, is extremely high. By doing an audit of the machine we can determine which components aren’t running at full capacity and estimate the amount of life left in them – saving you money and headaches down the road. 

Do you have a new product, tool, or secondary equipment?

The introduction of a new product line or tool is exciting for operations, but it can bring up a series of questions in regards to workflow, and machine functionality and capabilities. If you could upgrade your existing equipment to accommodate the new operation, product, or process you could save a significant amount of money, floor space, and energy. In this case, upgrading would highly outweigh purchasing a new machine. 

Do you currently have a predictable and repeatable process control?

If the answer is no, it is in your best interest to meet with a service provider like 2R who can assess your equipment, troubleshoot the issues you’re having, and provide a next step plan to get you up and running as efficiently and quickly as possible. A predictable process will allow you to estimate costs and profits for the future; and reduce downtime, scrap rate, and recycle times.

Can you minimize MRO purchases?

To maintain your competitive edge in the marketplace you should be looking at ways to reduce costs and MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations). A high MRO process means you are ultimately taking on higher costs, lower worker productivity, greater inventory holding costs and potentially compromising product quality. With the help of a qualified service provider you may be able to combine unique components to make things as simple as possible, essentially stocking fewer parts. Getting here will most likely involve retrofitting the existing machinery to accommodate the new setup, but will ultimately save you money in the long run and be more cost effective than purchasing new equipment.

Why choose 2R to help with your injection molding repair services?

With over 80 years of combined experience in plastic injection molding repair services, we understand what it takes to help our customers succeed. Whenever someone comes to us with an issue on an existing machine, we always approach the situation with the same mentality and ask ourselves, “What would we do if we owned this machine?” This is the best way for us to give honest feedback as to whether upgrading or replacing is the best solution for you. Here are a few other features that set us apart:

  • Our engineers are experts in controls system integration.
  • By evaluating the electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical systems on your machine we can help you determine the best possible solution for your underperforming or obsolete equipment.
  • We provide a 1 year warranty on our work after the start of production.
  • We offer custom programming for your interface screens.

Our customer support for injection molding repair services 

It’s understandable to be concerned about the availability of service and support when upgrading an existing injection molding machine. This may have been an issue for you in the past and the time it takes to search for a replacement part for an outdated product can mean a lot of downtime. While there is a manufacturer warranty on the new hardware that you would be receiving in your upgraded equipment, we’re still available to support our customers every step of the way. At 2R we understand that downtime affects your bottom line so we offer customer support and service for new and existing equipment, both on-site and remotely. When an on-site service call is required, our team will travel throughout the United States and internationally to get you up and running in a timely manner. If the equipment can be monitored remotely, we will work through a highly secure VPN to assess the situation and work towards a resolution as quickly as possible.

Let’s get started

To gain a better understanding of the issues you’re facing and to see if upgrading an existing machine is the best choice for you, get in touch with 2R Automation today. In order to gain the most out of our conversation, it is helpful if you have the current electrical and hydraulic prints of the machine in question. Our team of qualified engineers will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you come up with a solution that will offer the best possible outcome for your business, both today and in the years to come.

 

We are a Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator offering injection molding repair services for Bosch Rexroth, Allen-Bradley, Balluff, and Dynisco, among others.

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Case Study :: Upgrading VS. Replacing Controls & Hydraulics

When your equipment isn’t performing to the best of its ability, we can help you determine whether to upgrade, or replace the machinery all together.

When a Grand Rapids, MI manufacturing company was experiencing unreliable process control and repeatability variation issues with their 2650 Ton Husky D-Line injection molding machine, they called on 2R Automation to step in and help improve the equipment’s overall performance.

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