Accuracy, efficiency, and quality are important concerns for business owners. This is particularly the case where operations and output depend on tools, machinery, and other equipment. At the same time, however, the safety and wellbeing of employees are also paramount. It can take just one piece of equipment to fail to put any one of these factors at risk. And that’s why it’s crucial to know when it’s time to upgrade your tools and machinery as a business.
Your business might already carry out ad-hoc checks or regular inspections of your equipment. But what are the tell-tale signs that can tell you it’s time to replace or upgrade?
Visible cracks, defects, or Blemishes
This is one of the most obvious signs that a tool or piece of equipment has reached the end of its useful life. If you spot any cracks or defects with the naked eye, you should be in no doubt that it’s time to replace it. You might notice, for example, some damage to your hole saw drill bit. Or perhaps some electrical wiring connecting a piece of machinery is starting to fray.
If you can notice a fault or defect without having to look too hard, it’s time to replace that tool or equipment. Not only is it an obvious safety hazard, but the quality of work can be affected.
Poor efficiency or Performance
Of course, not every potential problem presents itself in such a visible manner. There can often be times when an issue can remain hidden – perhaps when it’s located deep within the internal workings of a machine. So, how can such problems be identified? If you’re experiencing a drop in productivity and performance, this can be a sign that equipment needs replacing.
Is a task now taking longer to complete? Are you noticing issues with production quality? These are just two signs that your tools or equipment are no longer capable of performing as desired.
Rising maintenance and Repair Costs
Aging equipment is sad to be the leading cause of unplanned downtime, according to the Plant Engineering 2019 Maintenance Report. For a business, any downtime can have a serious effect on productivity. But there is also a cost element to consider. And many managers or engineers say that maintenance is a necessary cost center in order to keep equipment performing.
Over time, however, the cost of repairing older tools and equipment can soon add up. It can be useful to track such costs because, at some point, replacing them will be more cost-effective.
Of course, this can be a delicate balancing act. In some cases, it could be better value to repair a tool or equipment. But you must be sure that any repairs won’t compromise the safety of the operator – or the quality and precision of the equipment concerned. As technology and product design move forward, upgrading may well prove the most effective and productive solution.