Sunday, January 22, 2012

Industrial Machine Repair Its getting expensive and hard to get parts

At left are pictures of a Bridgeport vertical milling machine
It is a manual machine unlike modern CNC computer controlled machines and is intended for small work pieces which are one of a kind and not worth setting up and getting ready a CNC machine for.
Thou not as popular manual machines still have there place in the production world especially when it comes to over sized and custom work.
The problem with this and every machine tool manual or automatic out there being used all across the country is the extremely high cost of fixing them.
With copper ,steel , aluminum now at all time records high scrap prices the cost to replace parts has in some cases exploded 400 to 500% in cost A simple forward /reverse switch I am replacing on this machine since it wore out use to cost $50.00 15 years ago
it now costs $165.00 to replace and is not even built as good as the older switch with more and more plastic being used in its manufacture. these high replacement parts cost are ultimately passed on to the consumer which is now a vicious cycle as material and fuel and shipping costs keep going up. It is leading some company's to not do required maintenance on machines which can ultimately lead to bad things as dies wear out and do not punch cleanly etc etc.
Which ultimately leads to inferior products being put out as the maker of parts keep looking for cheaper ways to make the parts and manufacturers keep looking for cheaper ways to make products. Where it is all going to end is nothing but bad news for the consumer. With more and more recalls the result.
While China and India continue to suck down raw materials as they build there country's infrastructure .We the consumer take it in the shorts. It is a viscous cycle that needs a solution to balance material need against want which if not kept under control will destroy natural resources and see more and more unemployment as jobs go overseas and shift from 3rd world country to 3rd world country as each try's to out compete the other as workers demand more and more in wages and benefits. It is going to take innovative solutions by our engineers and scientists in this country but we already have a brain drain where we are not turning out in quantity or quality what we. need. Education , conservation and innovation are what we need to stem this but will we be able to or will we destroy this world?


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