Investing in new Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) equipment often requires a steep capital investment, so an attractive alternative is to buy used or refurbished machines at auction, often from users who are relocating. This is a valid way of acquiring CMM machines and many companies acquire a great deal this way.
How To Move A CMM Machine
Once a purchase has been made, the buyer is faced with the issue of transporting the CMM machine from the seller’s location to their own business premises. How do you go about this? There are two options available: you can commission a general industrial machine mover, or seek out the services of a specialist CMM mover. The first option is almost always cheaper than the latter, because of the level of specialist knowledge involved in moving CMM equipment and then setting it up safely at its destination.
There is a great temptation, once you have secured a great deal on a used CMM machine, to not want to eat into your savings by spending more than you have to on a moving service. Unfortunately, there are hidden costs to using a non-specialist service which can often be extremely high.
Damage In Transit
One of our customers recently had a very unfortunate experience after using a general machine mover, so we have written this article to highlight the risks and explain why a specialist service is always cheaper in the long run.
Our involvement began ‘after the machine had been relocated’, when the customer requested our assistance to set up and calibrate a CMM machine they had recently purchased at auction. Very quickly the reasons why the machine could not be re-commissioned or calibrated became clear as the machine had been severely damaged during transportation. The main reason being the machine was moved without using any specialist ‘transit brackets’ to restrain the machine from moving in transit. Henceforth the machine granite guideways had become broken beyond repair and most of the machine guards had been damaged thus unfortunately rendering the machine beyond repair and the only outcome being the machine was eventually scrapped!
Regrettably this is not the first time we have experienced this situation. We can only hope that our customer can quickly recoup their loss through an insurance claim.
Why Is Physical Damage So Common When Using General Industrial Movers?
In many cases the fault lies not with the removal people themselves, but with the fragility of CMM equipment. CMM machines are precision instruments with many small parts that can easily become damaged or misaligned. The bread-and-butter of general machine movers, however, are large pieces of industrial equipment, such as stamping machines weighing 20 tonnes or more. Large machinery, often cocooned in protective steel casing, is fairly tolerant of shunts and bumps while moving. The same treatment can easily cause irreparable damage to a CMM machine, as you will see in the images below.
Figure 1: Damaged guard
Figure 2: A crack such as this in a CMM machine's granite bed is often enough to render the machine irreparable.
The True Cost Of Removal Damage
Businesses with damaged CMM equipment following a bodged removal are faced with a number of direct costs:
- The wasted investment on the machine itself.
- The fee paid to the movers.
- Employee time creating space for the machine and sourcing the unit.
- Consultancy and troubleshooting costs.
- Machine scrappage/removal fee.
Some of these expenses may be recovered through a successful insurance claim, using either the company’s own or the mover’s policy. However, there is no guarantee of a full pay out and pursuing a successful claim may take some time.
In our experience, businesses rarely, if ever, recoup the full cost of a disaster like this, as an insurance claim does not take into account the indirect costs.
The indirect cost of a broken CMM machine is the backlog of parts awaiting inspection. This can quickly result in a production bottleneck as the remaining machines struggle to complete the inspection process on time. This in turn can jeopardise existing order deliveries and the capacity of the business to take on new orders.
Why A Premium Removal Service Is More Cost-Effective
By opting for a cheap, general-purpose removal service, a business takes a colossal risk. As we have seen, the potential consequences can be disastrous. To avoid this outcome we strongly recommend spending slightly more on a premium removal service from a CMM specialist. CMM specialists – such as Status CMM – understand the delicate nature of CMM equipment and the care needed to move them from place to place. Furthermore, they will have the expertise to set up and calibrate your machine after delivery, making it ready for operation straightaway.
At Status we offer a range of CMM services, including relocation. We also hire out machines and metrology personnel to help businesses bridge a gap in their own capacity and avoid production bottlenecks. Please call us on 0115 939 2228 for more information.