8 Tips for Buying the Right Automation Equipment

Making a big investment in new automation equipment may cause you to become paralyzed with fear of making a mistake.  Buyer’s remorse is a gut-twisting feeling no one wants to have whether the item is as small as a new cell phone or a much larger purchase like a new automation system.

Here are some tips to remember as you begin your search for the perfect new automation system:

  1. Know your specifications BEFORE you begin the search.  And not just generalities – get a detailed equipment specification by examining all aspects of the project.  Know your cycle times, yield, up-times, quality expectations, hardware preferences, design requirements, etc.
  2. Personally visit automation houses before you get quotes.  Go to at least two.  You will likely get different solutions from different vendors.
  3. Involve your production people in the process.  They are the folks who will be responsible for operating and living with the system. You hired them presumably because they’re good so take advantage of their knowledge and experience.  They could save you valuable time and money.
  4. Supply the vendor(s) with up-to-date drawings and parts specs.  Simple but important.
  5. Estimate the costs correctly and for heaven’s sake get a quote BEFORE you float your idea in front of those holding the purse strings. Better to estimate high and look like a hero when you come in under budget than to go in low and have to beg for more money later.
  6. Have or plan for having the in-house expertise to operate and maintain the new equipment.  Your new automation may take fewer staff to operate but it will require someone with additional training or skills.
  7. Speak plainly, clearly, and repeatedly with your chosen vendor(s).   Document all communications and make sure everyone is on the same page throughout out the project so that errors can be caught early.  Review progress in detail regularly and utilize modern resources such as 3-D modeling and on-line meeting technologies.  Even if logistics are a problem, technology will save you time and travel money.
  8. Know exactly why you are purchasing an automation system or even if you should.  Can your process components be fed automatically?  How frequently does your product mix change?  Can your new system accommodate future changes without having to start all over?  Being modern does not mean being inefficient.  Manual or semi-automatic solutions could just be the smarter solution.

No matter what automation system you purchase, eventually it will be out of warranty.  Even the best systems will experience some problems.  Send us your defective, out of warranty parts for industrial electronic repairs such as plc repairs, cnc board repairs, and power supply repairs.  Evaluations are always free and rush repairs are available for panic situations.  If you’ve got questions, call our always helpful customer service reps at 800-605-6419.