02 June 2015 //
by Matt Rose
Certain circumstances may have you investigating the possibility of repurposing/refurbishing an existing secondary packaging machine. These circumstances can include:
- A new product is being pursued that falls well outside of the original scope of the machine
- The machine is being moved to a new production line
- Used equipment was originally purchased and is not performing as anticipated
- Funding for capital equipment purchases isn’t available, but maintenance funds exist
- There is a desire to extend a machine’s lifespan with updated technologies
- There is a desire to maximize efficiency
A quality rebuilt machine can operate as well as new equipment and is often more financially attractive. In order to maximize savings associated with repurposing or refurbishing existing equipment, both in cost and lead time to rebuild, it’s important to understand what is and is not possible.
Investigating Your System’s Ability to be Repurposed/Refurbished
Like any new project, before starting you should identify your goals. Next, it will be important to discuss those goals with the OEM – unless you plan on undertaking the complete system overhaul yourself. The OEM will be in the best position to identify the machine’s original design parameters, what additional flexibility may be available, and what the hard limits of the machine are. In addition, you or the OEM will need to evaluate the machine’s frame and identify its structural limitations. It will also be important to determine the electrical system’s age and current software version.
If a system repurposing/refurbishment continues to look feasible after identifying and confirming the base machines parameters, the next step is to determine how much modification will be needed. Take the original goals discussed with the OEM and define them further to nail down a list of must-haves and optional items. Next, start getting costs estimates established. Submit a list of must-haves and options as an RFP to the OEM for pricing.
Keep in mind that the majority of the costs will be time (engineering and labor) and materials.
Potential Pitfalls of Repurposing/Refurbishing Equipment
As with any project, there will be some pitfalls. As you look at repurposing/refurbishing equipment, be prepared to address the following three issues that will inevitably come to the surface:
- Downtime – depending on the comprehensiveness of the modifications, the machine will need to be down for a minimum a few days and up to a few weeks.
- Location of Repurposing/Refurbishing Work – depending on the level of work to be performed, can upgrades be completed at your facility or is it best to ship the machine back to the OEM?
- Electrical System – modifications to the electrical systems can be like opening a can of worms. Programmable logic controllers, human machine interfaces, communication systems and motor drives (among other components) are constantly being updated and revised. It’s not uncommon for older models to eventually become obsolete and/or unsupported, making it difficult to integrate some new components into the older system.
After getting all these i’s dotted and t’s crossed, you can then weigh the costs (financial investment and downtime) vs. the benefits (achieving your packaging goals) of repurposing/ refurbishing your existing machine.
EDL has repurposed/refurbished several of our machines after years of service, both at our customers’ facilities or at our shop. The robust design of our machinery and the modular build allows future modifications to be highly feasible, increasing the overall flexibility and value of EDL’s packaging equipment.
Want to discuss a potential packaging equipment repurpose/refurbishment project for an existing EDL system or a new project? Contact us today! We’ll be happy to help.