Not all pipe beveling machines are created equally. There are obvious questions concerning how well the machines work and how well they are built, along with lesser thought about questions concerning the quality of manufacture and how well the tool will continue to work in the future. At the United States division of Saar- Hartmetall, we take enough pride in our work to address questions seriously and quite honestly, we have heard the questions most people have when purchasing the machinery needed to perform their job.
Concerning pipe beveling machines, a few questions are common when clients need the tool, and there are a few questions everyone should ask themselves and their supplier before investing in such a tool. Six of the most common questions that should be asked when buying any new tool concern both the quality of manufacture, ease of use, and life expectancy of the tool. A beveling machine tends to have an exceptionally rough usage, so the same questions apply with perhaps a bit more detail emphasized to the tool’s durability.
1) How Durable Is the Machine?
Although this question is not specific to a pipe beveling machine as it needs to be asked before any tool purchase, it applies especially well to these tools. Welding and metal work in general produces a lot of grime and can create a job site that is hard on tools by the very nature of work being conducted. Grease, oils, cooling water and the dust created when working metal can get into the nooks and crannies of anything on site. The tools used in such an environment have to be built with this in mind and be constructed to withstand years of abuse.
When a tool breaks, it costs much more than the price of buying a new one, but also creates lost time toward the job. Professionals understand the expense of tools and work that into their bid. However, the cost of labor while waiting for the tool to be replaced can be more expensive than the tool itself.
2) Is the Machine Easy to Use?
Ease of use is a factor to be considered with a pipe beveling machine just as it should be asked with any machinery purchase. Employees are hired because of their abilities and efficiency, but that means little when they have to be retrained to learn how to use the nuances of new and different tools. A pipe beveling machine performs a routine task and therefore should fit into the standard job techniques that metal workers are familiar with.
3) How Much Training Is Required?
Again, time is money. Supervisors and laborers know how to do their job using the equipment provided, until a new machine is introduced to the job site. Of course any new machinery is going to require a bit of learning to build familiarity, but some need more time to get used to using than others. A great tool functions according to industry standards and fits in with the structure and procedure of the job site quite rapidly and intuitively.
4) How does the Functionality Compare to Similar Units?
The true value of a tool is determined by what it can and can’t do. In the shop, a stationary beveling machine typically performs a specific function. In the field, tools that can perform more than one task are cherished. The question of functionality brings to mind other questions concerning what usefulness the tool can provide and how it is intended to be used. If the tool needs to be portable, is it easy to set up o site? Can the machine work in tandem with other tools, making the job move forward swiftly and efficiently? Those questions are answered by considering the efficiency and functionality not only of the machine itself, but how it fits into existing procedure of each shop or jobsite. It takes a bit of planning to judge which specific machine will best fit the needs of each builder or contractor.
5) Is There a Warranty on the Machine?
The expectation is that tools and machinery will never require a warranty, but it’s nice to know ahead of time what will happen should a failure occur. Accidents happen, and even the most rugged and durable of tools have a breaking point just like anything else on earth. The question is how the will manufacturer deal with a claim and what exactly will the warranty cover.
Transport to and from jobsites can be rigorous, especially if the tool is not properly secured in the truck during travel. The jobsite itself can be hard on tools by its very nature. The machine itself may be dropped, or other tools and materials may be dropped on it. Whether the tool can withstand such abuse is a consideration when making the purchase, as is how the manufacturer will deal with such a problem should it occur.
6) Where Is the Machine Made?
The plant where the machine is produced can be a defining factor toward the purchase. Not only does patriotism determine that particular factories produce better results, but treatment of the labor force can inspire employees to produce better results. Typically, tools produced in Europe and America are thought to be constructed with more care and better quality assurance. The workers building the tool are paid better and maintain a higher quality of life than those in third world countries, and therefore take more pride in their work. The end result is a better machine that is more reliable as it was built to meet the standards expected by workers in a first world nation. The downside is that the product may cost more than one built on a cheaper scale, but is well worth the expense of knowing the machine is dependable and will continue to be so for years to come.
New machinery is part of a metal contractor’s expenses and having to buy new ones is part of the job. One that is rugged and durable will pay for itself as it functions in the shop or on site. With a bit of thought, the best purchase can be assured for a machine that contractors and labor will be using to perform their jobs.