5 More Keys to Choosing Plate Rolls

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Yet, manufacturers must still invest in new production equipment -- whether to replace obsolete equipment or to take advantage of new business opportunities -- in order to remain competitive. Manufacturers must make careful assessments when evaluating the addition of new plate-rolling equipment. Debt capital is still available to purchase new machinery, but paying back the loan will not yield a satisfactory return on investment unless the equipment adds value to the production. Unfortunately, many buyers end up purchasing equipment that lacks the capability and flexibility to meet production volumes and tolerances, simply because they don't understand all available options and considerations.

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In an effort to help manufacturers optimize plate rolling operations, 5 key considerations are offered in order to choose a proper plate bending machine

1. Don't go after 5 percent of your business with 90 percent of your money <P>When a fabricating business provides a wide range of products, too much emphasis can be placed on the top end. For example, a manufacturer might offer metal rolling on all material between 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch. However, that 3/4-inch material might only represent 5 percent of annual production. <P>So when choosing a plate roller, carefully evaluate the cost of the equipment against the benefit to the business. It might not make sound business sense to buy a more expensive plate roller when a less expensive machine can satisfy the bulk of your production needs. <P>There's little payback for that 5 percent, especially when a 3/4-inch plate roller can cost as much as 30 percent over that of a 1/2-inch machine. Oftentimes, it's more cost-effective to decline the high-end work or have it jobbed out.

2. Focus on efficient output In plate rolling, material handling takes up to 80 percent of production time. Therefore, engineers should make sure the specified plate-roll machine is integrated properly into the production line or an unforeseen bottleneck could occur. <P>Equipment features and accessories that accelerate production should also be considered. For instance, modern rolling machines can be specified with a robotic arm to automatically pick up a work in progress, set it on a vacuum feed table, roll it and then eject the piece onto the next station. Programmable logic control allows an operator to fine tune the rolling process to fit either a free-wheeling conveyor, a palletized set up or any other material handling system. <P>The design of the plate roller itself can also make a significant difference in production volumes. Size for size, four-roll machines can roll 30-percent thinner material than three-roll and double-pinch machines. These features, combined with advanced technology, make four-roll machines up to 300 percent more efficient than three-roll machines. <P>Four-roll machines that utilize hydraulics can speed the bending process by as much as 70 percent over that of a three-roll machine, vastly accelerating production times.

3. Seek energy-efficient, low maintenance machinery <P>Businesses in almost every state must now grapple with increasing energy costs. Any new equipment must be selected with its power-consumption demands in mind. Less advanced rolling machines rely on inefficient components such as chains and connecting links, multiple gear trains and bronze bushings. The inherent inertia and drag required to operate the rollers with this type of older equipment reduces motor efficiency by up to 70 percent. Modern machines can reduce almost 99 percent of drive-line friction by incorporating attributes such as spherical ball bearings, independent hydraulic planetary gear drives and a swing-guide system. Eliminating the need for secondary reduction gearing, connecting arms, synchronization devices and clutches can represent up to a 30 percent energy saving. Complicated transmission systems are not very energy efficient, which is why some machines require a 20-hp motor to do the same work that a line of rollers does with a 10-hp motor. A powertrain with fewer moving parts also translates to lower maintenance costs. Additionally, self-sealed bearings and encased drives eliminate the need for frequent lubrication. Traditional, geared machines must be greased and maintained on almost a daily basis.

4. Consider reputation when reviewing Quality plate-rolling machines provide reliable service for upwards of 30 years. To ensure a lifetime of optimal operation and continued parts availability, a manufacturer must count on the supplier to provide competent service, engineering advice and updates to the machine for an equal period of time. Further, consider the ability of your dealer to deliver spare parts on short notice. A machine that utilizes hard-to-obtain proprietary parts could lead to lengthy downtimes, far offsetting any cost savings realized upfront when the machine was purchased. <P>Seek a company with the track record and engineering experience to act as a long-term business partner -- one with a proven track record of longevity. Ask for references and then contact these customers to verify their level of satisfaction.

5. Consider future needs <P>When production orders lag, some companies mistakenly opt for a less expensive and lower capacity machine and run it at the high side of its capacity. Yet, such shortsighted strategies jeopardize the longevity of the machine. More important, zero margin remains for increasing production volumes in the future. <P>Forward-thinking engineers will push for machines that can handle increased capacity, so when business increases, they are fully prepared. <P>Engineers must look beyond the current work-envelope to anticipate manufacturing needs over the next decade. It takes a future-think mentality to stay ahead in today's metal fabricating Another step that you will want to consider taking in your search for cheap ink cartridges for your home or office visit with other people to see what vendors they utilize on the internet for their own purchase of ink cartridges and related supplies. Word of mouth remains a very good method of gauging how well a merchant (online or in the brick and mortar world) provides services to its customers of course, if a colleague has had a bad experience with a particular merchant, you probably will want to avoid that vendor .on the other hand, if a friend ,family member or business associate has had a solid experience with a provider of ink cartridges, you likely will want to give that merchant a close look.

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