Whether it’s home renovation, auto repair, or assembling furniture from that famous Swedish retailer, doing it yourself is all the rage today. But when it comes to maintaining your waterjet equipment, you may want to think twice before making it a DIY project.

Importance of preventative maintenance

It’s now well accepted that upfront care to avoid unexpected problems with any piece of manufacturing equipment, particularly one as important as your waterjet, is more prudent than a break/fix approach. The reasons include:

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A structured preventative maintenance (PM) program enables you to schedule downtime when it is most convenient for your operation, thus minimizing the impact to customers and to production flow. Knowing your waterjet will be always be available for production improves your efficiency and increases output.

Once you agree that preventative maintenance is a smarter strategy than waiting for your waterjet to break down, your next important decision is deciding how you are going to implement your PM program.

Why outsourcing your PM is the smart move

An optimum PM program includes having an in-depth knowledge of your waterjet equipment, setting equipment standards, documenting maintenance procedures, and establishing a process to measure the program’s effectiveness. You can develop a PM program with in-house resources, but here are three reasons you are better off outsourcing to an experienced third party partner.

Higher costs

Putting together an in-house PM program and sustaining it is an expensive proposition requiring a significant investment. The salary and benefits of hiring a full time PM resource can be a significant addition to your permanent overhead payroll costs. You then have to bear the expense of training the resource so he or she can be proficient in understanding the complexities of the waterjet, procuring the parts that may be required to repair it, and developing the optimum maintenance schedule. These costs are often much more expensive than what you would pay by contracting with an outsource partner.

We recently conducted an analysis of several waterjet users comparing the costs of outsource vs. inhouse PM and the results are eye-opening. Over a five year ownership period, based on 2,000 annual machine hours, companies that established and operated an inhouse PM program for their waterjet will spend 50-60 percent more than those who outsource their PM program to Flow.

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Not a core competency

You are in the business of selling waterjet cutting capacity, not becoming an expert in the maintenance of the equipment. An effective PM program must not only perform routine tasks to keep the waterjet running, it must also delve into why breakdowns occur and addressing root causes to ensure they don’t recur.

We have seen companies who have implemented their own PM program and still have unexpected downtimes because they don’t have the knowledge base to plan ahead or stock the proper parts inventory to keep the program operating.

When assessing whether to implement an inhouse program, it is instructive to look at an analogy of the automobile. Most people buy a car for transportation – to get from one place to another. They are not interested in learning about the intricacies of a highly complicated inner workings of the engine. Most people leave that to their dealer or service station to handle.

The same can be said of a waterjet PM program. Rather than tying up money, mindshare, and expensive resources on an in-house PM effort, you’re better off focusing on what you do best – selling your waterjet capacity, expanding your customer base, and servicing your clients. Using an outsource partner to keep your waterjet up running reliably provides you with a less expensive, worry-free experience.

Guaranteed service intervals

However well-intentioned an inhouse PM program may be, it may often fall by the wayside when scheduled maintenance conflicts with day to day production demands. Few companies have the discipline to shut down equipment on a scheduled basis at the expense of continued production.

With a structured outsourcing PM program, you are more likely to adhere to the prescheduled visits your partner sets up. Your outsource partner will help you adhere to the PM schedule to ensure the proper work gets done to your waterjet at the appropriate intervals.

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At Flow, we simplify your waterjet maintenance, making it easy to understand and digest. Our years of experience dealing with our many clients ensures you that we have the expertise to keep your waterjet running. We work with you to minimize downtime, quickly perform the required maintenance, and keep you running smoothly until the next PM interval.

Maintaining a waterjet is not like building a deck or putting together a pre-fab bookcase. It is a highly technical task better left to expert professionals. Trusting your PM to an outsource partner means you can concentrate on building your business knowing your waterjet will always be up and running.


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