Preventive maintenance on modern flexo presses part 3: Investing in a new press?
In my last blog, I discussed how the current market situation relates to preventive maintenance, even on the latest state-of-the-art machines.
Now it’s time to look at preventive maintenance in relation to a new press purchase.
Think before you buy
In modern print shops, a new press is not just ‘another new machine’.
Before deciding which one to purchase and install, be sure to make a thorough evaluation, market analysis, and cost calculations .
Quite often, the machine price is not the main consideration. Depending on the product run on the machine, peripheral equipment must also be installed and internal logistics optimized.
Press manufacturers should help you by providing information regarding their machine’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment calculations (ROI). Make sure you include the preventive maintenance parameter.
Include your operator
Studies have shown, many other parameters influence press performance next to technical innovations.
When you zoom into these parameters, it turns out that operator motivation is key to produce good quality labels in the required volumes, within the desired (calculated) time.
At MPS, we see an increasing number of owners involving their operational staff in the decision-making process of a new press. The (wo)man running the machine needs to be happy!
I previously indicated that operator training should be part of your preventive maintenance schedule. Another factor that increases operator motivation is a press that performs to expectations and never disappoints.
Preventive maintenance checklist
In the pre-purchase phase, challenge your press manufacturer to explain and show you:
- Preventive maintenance schedules
- Costs (historic) of periodically replaced parts & consumables
- Availability of parts
- Availability of local certified technicians
Consider purchasing with the machine:
✔️ Maintenance contract or service-level agreement (SLA)
Take time to discuss & negotiate a service level agreement with your machine supplier. All have programs available from ‘all inclusive’ to ‘when required’.
Don’t blindly accept everything offered. I encourage owners to take a critical look at what’s proposed and evaluate with in-house staff or a 3rd party to balance the investment against the actual added value.
✔️ Consumables & spare parts packages
Printing presses perform their best with the recommended consumables from the press manufacturer. Although there are good alternatives available on the market, before purchasing, ask your machine supplier for advice.
Original spare parts are normally a must, especially within the warranty period of your machine.
In current high-tech printing presses, what might seem a good/cheap deal on spare parts can quickly turn into a nightmare. Not only in direct cost but consequential damage and press downtime.
At MPS, we offer the Red Box. Click here for a video that explains what the Red Box is, and how to order one.
✔️ Additional or refreshment training for operator and maintenance staff
Can maintenance be accomplished by your operator or technical staff, or are specialists from your machine supplier required? If yes, how often and at what cost? Additional training might be needed.
With current automation options available on flexo presses, it might be tempting to hire a less educated or experienced operator for the press.
In some cases this is sufficient, however, even with state-of-the-art automation, an expert’s eye of an educated printer is often required.
I have seen print shops where, for example, two presses were run by operators and supervised by an experienced & educated printer. When a press is new and runs without any (application) issues, all is fine.
The moment an issue arises, that is where a more experienced printer pays off. My advice? Keep your printer and/or operator happy by including them in your preventive maintenance schedule activities.
Get in touch
Feel free to share your thoughts or questions about preventative press maintenance with me here. Or leave a comment below!
In my next blog, I’ll explain how to set up an effective preventive maintenance procedure and implement it into your organization.
To learn more about the operator training programs offered by MPS, click here.
John Beltman was Senior Project Manager with MPS for 15 years. He wrote several blogs about his Service and Project Management experience.