A capital equipment investment of this kind is a big deal, so fabricators should know what questions to ask to find the right equipment.Buying an industrial laser cutting machine is a significant investment for most manufacturers. In addition to the initial price, the purchase will greatly influence the manufacturing process in the long run. You have to live with the decision for a long time if the wrong equipment is selected. Manufacturers are not uncommon to keep lasers for seven to ten years.

How would you go about purchasing a laser cutting machine? Whether or not you own one now, when you bought it, and how have laser machine manufacturer things changed since then?By following this guide, you should be able to make a capital purchase that will propel your manufacturing operations to new heights.

Is Laser Cutting Really Necessary?

A company without a laser cutting machine typically subcontracts the work to one or more job shops with this capability. You can use this scenario if you have some flexibility with lead times and don’t involve a lot of risks.

However, there will come a time when you have to ask yourself whether the company should bring laser cutting in-house. Even if you have a good business relationship with the subcontractor, you need to consider this.

What are the signs that the time is right to get a laser? Look at how much you are spending every month on laser-cut parts. Ultimately, if you need a machine but do not purchase it, you will find that you have paid for it but do not possess it.

Is Laser Manufacturing Going to Require New Software?

The majority of manufacturers already use a software package that everyone is familiar with. Is the software you plan to use going to work with the new laser cutting machine, or will you be better off purchasing the OEM’s software? If so, what new features does the OEM’s software offer?

Increasing laser cutting speeds aren’t the only thing increasing at a rapid rate; manufacturing information is being gathered in real-time, enabling manufacturers to make more timely and impactful decisions. In a manufacturing world where more and more machines are becoming interconnected with software, it’s important to inquire whether the new software can run other machines already on the shop floor. Additionally, it’s worth discussing how the laser might be integrated with the company’s existing network.

How Much Does It Cost to Run the Equipment?

A manufacturer needs to know the efficiency of the equipment when making such a significant investment. You need more information than simply whether the machine is running or not. Monitoring the performance of equipment provides you with this information.

It’s important to discover whether the software can measure the laser cutting machine’s overall equipment efficiency (OEE) in real-time. Is the software available for use with other laser cutting machines, if you have them? That way, you may discover hidden capabilities where you previously thought there were none?Monitoring software can provide productivity gains of 10 to 50 percent with paybacks of less than four months at the cost of approximately 1 percent of the equipment price.

Can We Make the Purchasing Decision Easier?

These questions can be used to narrow down your selection of laser cutting machine suppliers to two to three by answering them and obtaining quotes from them. Once you’ve found the right model, you need to ask the right questions during equipment demonstrations, and you should negotiate an acceptable price. During final negotiations, there are many factors to consider.

It can be overwhelming to purchase such a machine. Therefore, it would make sense to become a member of an industry association, such as the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, to network and learn from other manufacturing peers or seek the assistance of someone who has purchased industrial equipment before. This effort is likely to prove worthwhile.

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