Repair or replace, that is the question. Or at least it would be if Shakespeare had worked as a maintenance manager in the 21st century. Choosing between repairing or replacing a piece of equipment is one of the questions maintenance managers ask themselves the most. Unfortunately, in such cases, there isn’t one single, easy formula for you to follow — it’s always necessary to assess several factors before reaching a final decision. We broke them down into 3 essential points for you — costs, efficiency and the age of the equipment — and we’re about to explore each of these in detail.
The first factor to consider is the costs. The cost of a new piece of equipment is easy to determine, but calculating the costs of repairing a current asset is a different story. You have to look at all costs associated with the repair: parts, labor costs, losses due to downtime throughout the entire process, losses during the test period and machine calibration, and finally the collection and removal of waste.
After these calculations, make an estimate of the maintenance cost of a new piece of equipment vs an old one? What’s the mean time between failures? When will you need to reinvest in repair work? If the total spent on repairs is more than 50% the price of a new piece of equipment, replacing is probably the best deal — otherwise, it’s not worth it to be strangled by an old machine’s maintenance costs.
Age of the equipment
This last point we’ve made — about maintenance costs and repeat failures – takes us to another very important factor: the age of the equipment. Unlike wine, machines don’t get better over the years. The only similarity between the two is that both do, in fact, get more expensive. As time passes, it becomes more and more difficult to find spare parts and, in some cases, it’s impossible to find parts like the original ones.
A piece of equipment that is nearing the end of its life expectancy carries more maintenance costs, both preventive and corrective. Therefore, always review carefully all the data you collected about its operation before you decide to repair it!
The age of the equipment leads us to something that’s somewhat taboo: the efficiency of old machines, or the lack thereof. Not only do older machines go through more downtime, but they might also have a lower OEE than new equipment. Review this metric when deciding to repair or replace a piece of equipment.
In terms of energy costs, older machines have a lower energy efficiency rating. This means they are less efficient in terms of energy consumption than new equipment as well. When it comes to safety, older equipment is often associated with a higher risk of accidents, which can pose a real danger to your team. So, as with costs and age, the efficiency of equipment may ultimately determine whether you should repair or replace it.