Life Expectancy for Industrial Machinery
When making a capital expense for your factory, there's more that makes up the true cost than what you pay for upfront. If you have to replace parts, or in some cases the entire machine, within a few years, then the price of the replacement is definitely part of the cost.
The life expectancy of any machine could be analytically observed using the P to F Interval Curve. Like any engineer would say, anything you can measure, you can improve.
The P to F curve was used as a learning tool for Condition Based Maintenance. The curve is the life expectancy of a machine, an asset. - John Lambert, Benchmark PDM
No machine can last forever, the goal isn't to make it so. The goal is to acquire machines for your factory floor that can reliably last in an industrial environment. Not having to spend extra capital on early maintenance or replacements for machines you purchased years ago, will allow you to keep expanding today.
Here's a different way to observe the life expectancy of a machine along with it's expected maintenance costs:
In this second graph, we could see the stages a machine goes through in it's Life Expectancy.
Life Expectancy Stages of a Machine
Stage A is where everything just works as it should, every asset starts here.
Stage B is where the more maintenance costs begin. Stage B is where the cheaper alternatives start to show their true costs.
Stage C is where the repair costs are required in order to keep the machine working. Usually, the cheaper the asset, the sooner you get to this stage.
Stage D is when the machine begins to breakdown to the point where it is no longer functional. (Considering that it was an Age-related failure as opposed to a Premature failure or a Random Failure).
Ecogate vs Cheaper Dust Collection System Alternatives
When spending valuable capital on equipment that is not directly producing money-making products, we can all agree that less is better. The dust collection systems in factories are necessary, yes, but unlike a CNC per se, they don't contribute to the manufacturing of the products that bring in revenue. This is why there is more hesitation when it comes to these types of capital investments.
An Ecogate system will more often than not, cost you more than other cheaper alternatives up front. This is an illusion. The cheaper alternatives have a shorter Stage A. Which means that additional maintenance costs start way sooner. Consequently, the cheaper alternatives reach Stage C earlier, and by a huge margin. This means you'd be spending on repairs years earlier on a cheaper system that you thought was saving you money.
Hidden Maintenance Costs
When a machine reaches Stage C, it will require repairs here and there. During these repairs, there are several costs, some being hidden and almost never accounted for. Whenever you see the average repair costs anywhere online, often you'll see companies only factor the cost of the actual repair and parts, but as Plant Engineering covers in their article, Aging dust collection equipment requires attention to maintenance, there are more costs!
Our experience with maintenance costs is that many companies only estimate the cost of replacing parts - Bob Vavra, Plant Engineering.
When a repair is taking place during operating hours, the additional costs to factor are: other machines made idled or inefficient as a consequence of the repair, idled workers waiting on the repair, if production stopped then there's the cost of no production, and lastly, the potentially biggest cost could be when the malfunction happens suddenly and there's an injury as a result.
A cheaper alternative is now looking more costly.
Reliability in a Dust Collection System
When the time comes that you need to make a capital expense for your dust collection system, remember to factor in all hidden costs to reach the true cost. An Ecogate system typically will cost slightly higher, but the slight cost difference more than makes up for it when the maintenance and repairs make their debut.
This alone justifies the market value of an Ecogate system. However, as a bonus, there's actually another feature that knocks this out of the park. An Ecogate system will make your dust collection system more efficient. This results in a ton of electricity savings every year after you've installed it. This means that not only do you save on maintenance and repairs, but also on electricity from day one.
The graph above shows a different take on the Total Cost of Ownership for an Ecogate system. You can see the Initial Investment is slightly higher, but the savings in Electricity costs make up for it resulting in an Ecogate system actually being cheaper than a traditional system. You can read more on this here.
Ecogate System 15+ Years and Counting
Recently we visited a shop with an Ecogate system that was installed over 15 years ago. Spoiler alert, it is still going! Check out our recent Success Story at Cal Poly Pomona.
Author, David Vera