A high-volume beveling tool is a large investment, and it is important that you specify it correctly to recoup your return on that investment. How do you go about specifying the best beveling tool for your needs and maximizing your return?
First, your specification process should be part of an overall marketing plan. You need solid forecasting on the amount and type of parts that you currently process, and a clear plan on how you intend to expand/maintain your business to pay for the beveler. You need to be sure of sufficient demand to keep the beveler busy.
Once you have your marketing plan in place, you can turn your attention toward the specifics of the machine and its capabilities. Consider these factors:
- Baseline Capability –Make sure that the beveling capabilities fit all your needs with respect to angle, depth, and type/pattern of bevel. Can the machine handle both the smallest and largest parts that require automated processing?
- Precision and Repeatability – What are the machine capabilities with respect to repeatability from piece to piece and precision across the piece, and do these capabilities match your job requirements? Are those capabilities valid for the metals and metal alloys that you will be working with?
- Programmability – Can you minimize the setup time and potential loading and reloading cycles by setting up preprogrammed cycles? How simple is the machine to program? Can you recover from a programming error or an in-process interruption like a power outage?
- Throughput – Evaluate the throughput numbers against the type of materials that you normally process. Verify what materials and alloys that throughput numbers are based on.
- Typical Job Types – Are your job sizes large enough and limited enough in diversity that they are well suited to a high-volume beveling tool?
- Installation and Training – How are the installation expectations and costs divided between you and the vendor? Are manuals and basic operating procedures provided, and is training is provided on the operation and maintenance of the machine?
- Downtime/Repair/Maintenance History – Ask for the recommended maintenance schedule. What are the estimated annual maintenance costs, and what are your options if the machine requires repair beyond your expertise? If possible, talk to references who have installed this machine in their facility to get a feel for typical downtime and any other issues with operation, both positive and negative.
- Safety – Evaluate the built-in safety systems, and expand this to how the beveling tool would be used in your shop. Consider all the potential hazards including proper ventilation of any toxic fumes and worker isolation from sparks, dust, metallic shards, or heated metal components.Don’t forget shutdown interlocks for maintenance purposes, and the ergonomics of loading and unloading the machine.
- Cost/Benefit – Now that you have looked over all the possibilities, you can make reasonable cost benefit calculations based on your workload and required labor. For example, do you need a top-of-the-line machine to handle high volume beveling on both sides simultaneously, or are pieces so heavy that multiple loadings into the beveler are impractical or dangerous? Are your jobs large and complex enough that programmability is worth the extra cost?
Whether you need help in specifying the best machine for your needs or would simply like to check your assumptions, the folks at Saar-Hartmetall would be happy to help you out. Saar-Hartmetall represents the Gerima line of beveling tools featuring some of the sturdiest high-volume beveling tools on the market. You can contact them at (859) 331-8770 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions that you have on your high-volume beveling options.