Five Ways to Reduce Capital Equipment Spend in Tough Times

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Manufacturing firms face tighter capital budgets than ever. Eddie Silverberg, CEO of Flexible Assembly Systems, a leading integrator of torque screwdrivers, torque testers, and material handling systems, provides five simple ways his firm has helped customers reduce unnecessary spend on capital equipment.

In the past, our customers may have leaned towards replacing equipment that fell out of repair or calibration. Now, they're leaning towards inexpensive ways of keeping their pneumatic screwdrivers and torque screwdrivers in shape

Firms in the light assembly and manufacturing spaces are facing the smallest budgets for capital equipment in recent memory. Engineers and technicians at these firms are struggling to find ways to extend the lives of equipment on the shop floor, while still maintaining productivity and quality. Eddie Silverberg, CEO of Flexible Assembly Systems, a leading integrator of torque tools and equipment, provides advice on five simple ways his customers have succeeded on small budgets:

#1- Get manufacturer advice on how to extend the usage life of your equipment.
Industrial firms can place many thousands or millions of dollars on the purchase of new capital equipment. In Flexible Assembly's case, a high-end torque screwdriver or electric screwdriver can have a lifespan of less than six months if not used properly. "We find that our happiest customers tend to be the ones who know what they're buying. We work hard with every customer to make sure to educate them on how to properly torque down a fastener, maintain an ergonomic environment for the operator, and use ESD tools where appropriate," states Eddie. Doing your background research can add many months and years to the life of heavily used tools and equipment.

#2 - Calibrate and maintain your equipment onsite, at regular intervals. Equipment failure costs dollars in lost productivity and customer dissatisfaction, especially when part of an automated assembly system. Manufacturing firms, large and small, can face significant issues around throughput and product quality if equipment isn't properly maintained. "In the past, our customers may have leaned towards replacing equipment that fell out of repair or calibration. Now, they're leaning towards inexpensive ways of keeping their pneumatic screwdrivers and torque screwdrivers in shape," says Eddie. Plan to check and calibrate your equipment and tools at regular intervals, and not when problems arise. Invest in an in-house calibration tool like a torque tester. Over time, you'll save money, and you might just improve product quality, too.

#3- Contract an outside agency to calibrate and maintain your capital equipment.
There are many firms that specialize in maintaining and calibrating the equipment you already own. Build relationships with the ones you trust, and it will pay off. "Over the years, our customers know they can get a reliable NIST certification from us, or bring us into the manufacturing plant to discuss long term torque tool repair. The best capital equipment companies stay for the life of the tool," Eddie states.

#4- For the simple repairs, buy the spare part, and fix it yourself.
When purchasing capital equipment, find a company that sells the equipment, knows how it's put together, and sells the spare parts. "A few minutes of homework can be the difference between a three dollar clutch spring, and the purchase of a brand new tool," continues Eddie. In Flexible Assembly's case, they've launched a spare parts section of their website, created step-by-step YouTube repair videos, and exploded online views of their tools for customers to reference. By keeping things simple, the company has been able to help customers with some common basic repairs.

#5- Seek out product replacement with firms focused on ongoing repair.
Equipment and tools eventually need to be replaced, and dollars eventually do need to be allocated to purchase. Again, try seeking out firms with a long-term maintenance policy, as opposed to a focus on new product purchase. If you do your research online, you'll notice these firms because of easily accessible technical resources and product warranties they provide. "We were very vigilant when we went online to let customers know we were there for the long-haul", Eddie says. "We wanted our customers to know that if their electric screwdriver fell out of repair, we were the experts, whether or not they bought the tool from us." Try calling a technician at the firm, and ask a few basic questions before throwing down your money. Some quick conversations can give you a much deeper sense of how devoted the company is to maintaining your budget.

Flexible Assembly Systems has been working together with firms requiring light-assembly solutions since 2003. The company's product list is extensive, and includes Assembly Tools, Robotic Assembly, Automotive Tools, Torque Products, Bits and Fastener Systems, Workplace and ESD Systems, and Material Handling Systems.

For additional information, contact:
Eddie Silverberg, President
Flexible Assembly Systems
800.696.7614, x250
http://www.flexibleassembly.com

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EDDIE SILVERBERG
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