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Machinery Tools


 Whether you are the owner of a business start-up or an established company, you likely understand the importance of investing in the machines that send your products out the door. The decision is not whether you need machinery tools, but whether investing in manufacturing capital today will give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace tomorrow. The key is finding the right tools you need for the best price you can afford.

 

This guide details both the benefits and pitfalls of purchasing machinery tools. It also provides information regarding the pricing you can expect once that investment decision is made.

 

Benefits

Machinery tools are power-driven devices used to make manufactured parts. In manufacturing, almost nothing can be made without the involvement of these machineries.

 

In the late 2000s, 2,654 firms were engaged in the manufacture of automatic or hand screw machine products, including bars, rods, tubes, plastics, fibers, and so much more. As a result, shipments reached over $8.9 billion, and 71,662 skilled workers were employed across North America.  

 

High Degree of Automation

With improved automation, direct human intervention is significantly reduced and, at times, precluded. Some machines can run unattended during their whole operation, giving the operator more time to complete other work. Thus workers are able to work with less fatigue and stress. In addition, because the machines are controlled by a program, you do not need to employ workers who are highly skilled at operating specific machines.

 

Accuracy and Speed

With machinery tools, the factor for human error is lowered. In addition, you can estimate with greater certainty the completion time of each workpiece. All you need is a program that runs and controls the machines. If this is secured, you can readily produce hundreds or even thousands of identical workpieces precisely and consistently.

 

Flexibility

The demand for greater flexibility is called for by the ever-changing tastes of consumers and the need for products with shorter life cycles. Because machinery tools are program-controlled, tooling up for a different workpiece only requires loading a different program, like using a different template.

 

When it becomes necessary for your company to manufacture products in small quantities, you can simply change your program easily by refining other programs already being used. Thus setup times for new workpieces will be shorter. In effect, the cost and time associated with iterative prototyping are obviated. You can also assure your customers by designing to their specifications. 

 

Pitfalls

 

A person intending to start a machining business or machine shop should be aware of the following pitfalls related to machinery tools.

 

Weight

Given the heavy-duty work that can be accomplished using machine tools, it’s no wonder they are quite hefty. An individual intending to purchase machine tools should be aware that they are exceedingly heavy, which affects shipping costs, shipping methods, and transportability once at the job site. Machine tools are typically put in place and then bolted to the floor because of the difficulty of moving them around and the need for them to remain level. For example, a hydraulic press break, one of the most common machine tools, can weigh between three and 24 tons.

 

Need for Multiple Tools

Despite their cost and weight, machine tools are very specialized. Few shops can get by with only a couple tools. Machine tools are used for cutting, grinding, bending, polishing, heating, and otherwise reshaping metal into whatever product has been specified. Each of these applications can require multiple tools, depending on the needed working area and portability requirements. Because you will need several machine tools for any type of job, your space requirements and required startup capital will be rather large.

 

Need for Highly Qualified Machinists

Because of the diverse nature of the work, machinists must be both educated and experienced. The machinists you’ll need to run the machine tools will usually have a technical or vocational school degree or have completed an extensive apprentice program. Machinists average about $18.00 an hour. Hiring competent and qualified machinists is the best way to protect your investment in machine tools, but it comes with a price.

 

Insurance

You will need insurance not only to protect your machine tools against theft or damage, but also to limit your liability in the case of customer or employee injury, to protect your finished and raw products, and to protect your facilities. Because of the expense of machine tools and the sometimes dangerous nature of machining, your insurance needs will be greater than many other businesses or industries. 

 

Pricing

 Discussing how much it will cost to equip your shop or your business is difficult. The answer is completely wrapped up in what kind of work you are going to be doing and how much of it will need to be done. The right equipment will assist you in producing a superior product, and reduce the amount of time required to get that result.

Equipment Costs of a Woodworking Shop

Equipping a simple woodworking shop can range from a few hundred to over $5,000 depending on what type of woodworking you plan to do. A jointer will run around $500, and a planer about $320. A good table saw ranges from a couple hundred to over six hundred. If you are going to be building houses, you will not require the same equipment as you would if you were going to make furniture or cabinetry. Even the hand tools needed for the job will be different. These prices are representative of a home shop. Therefore, if you have an industrial shop, you will need bigger equipment that can hold up to longer hours and harder work. That means a much larger investment.

Industrial Equipment Costs

Machinery tools for industrial applications do cost money, and often a lot of money. Going back to the example of the home woodworking shop where a jointer would cost around $500, an industrial model can cost $4,000 or $8,000 or more. A lot of industrial machinery is custom built for the needed applications to reduce waste and time, but machinery saves companies money every day. “Industrial companies averaged sales of $3.2 million, and the average growth rate of the machining industry was projected to be around 4 percent into the late 2000s,” as stated by the Precision Machine Products Association in 2005. Equipment costs money, but the savings of time, money and precision far outweigh the cost.

 
Conclusion
 

As you can see, any business wanting to invest in machinery tools must weigh the advantages and disadvantages to come to an informed decision. Having the proper tools means that a company can automate operations, increase speed and accuracy, and initiate a higher level of flexibility. At the same time, machinery tools typically require specialized machinists, higher insurance premiums, and more space dedicated to specific work areas.

 

If the benefits outweigh the pitfalls, then now is the time to make an investment in the company. Purchasing the right kind of machinery tools can not only streamline current operations, but also open opportunities for growth in the future.

 

 

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