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Why We Love Gear Coupling (And You Should, Too!)

First things first! You choose a coupling to connect two shafts together at their ends to transmit power. The primary purpose of coupling is to join two pieces of rotating equipment while permitting some degree of misalignment or end movement or both.

Normally, couplings do not allow shafts to disconnect during operation, however there are torque limiting couplings which can slip or disconnect when some torque limit is exceeded. Hence, you should carefully select, install and maintain couplings; as this could give you substantial savings in the form of reduced maintenance costs and downtime.

Gear Coupling

A gear coupling is a mechanical device to join two rotating shafts (that are not collinear) for efficient transmission of mechanical power. These are crucial because although you may align the shafts (for example, between the gearbox and the mixing mill roll) at the time of installation, it is likely that during the operation there may be disruption to this alignment.

Disruptions could occur due to setting of foundation, thermal expansion, shaft deflection, wearing out of other parts, improper maintenance and many more reasons. At these times, where the misalignment occurring during the operation is unavoidable, a gear coupling compensate or minimize the effect of misalignment thus providing a good solution to prevent your rubber machinery, bearings, seals and shafts from being subjected to the additional forces.

Gear couplings are power intensive and considered as the king of the coupling types. You would see the gear couplings being adopted for wide range of application in drive technologies. Hence, we love love gear coupling (and I think, you would too!).

Gear Couplings and Universal Joints

Gear couplings and universal joints are used in similar applications. Gear couplings have higher torque densities than universal joints designed to fit a given space, while universal joints induce lower vibrations. The limit on torque density in universal joints is due to the limited cross sections of the cross and yoke.

The gear teeth in a gear coupling have high backlash to allow for angular misalignment. The excess backlash can contribute to vibration.

Structure of a Gear Coupling

Gear couplings are torsionally rigid and consist of hubs with multi crowned teeth at flank, tip and chamfering on teeth, gaskets, sleeve and O-rings. The hubs attach to the machinery shafts, and sleeves span the gap from one hub to the next. They are available in two designs – completely flexible and flexible/rigid.

The hub is the heart of any gear coupling. Hence manufacturers take great care to impart a superior design and mostly manufacture the hub on CNC machine for precision. Together with the tooth profile of the hub, these aspects enable the gear coupling to function well under all operating conditions with increased reliability and long life.

The tooth flanks and outer diameter of the external gear are crowned to allow for angular displacement between the two gears. The multi crowned teeth reduce the alignment adjustment and improve the load carrying capacity of the teeth. The backlash between the teeth is minimal due to multi-crown tooth design.

A completely flexible coupling comprises two hubs with an external gear and two outer sleeves with an internal gear. It’s a universal coupling for all sorts of applications and accommodates all possible misalignment (angular, radial and combined) as well as large axial moments.

Structure of a Gear Coupling

A flexible/rigid coupling comprises one flexible geared half and one rigid half. It does not accommodate parallel displacement of shafts but does accommodate angular misalignment.

Information to order Gear Coupling

When you are buying rubber machinery, your machinery supplier or OEM would take care of this. However, you need to understand that there is a check list of information that needs to be provided to a gear coupling supplier that includes,

  1. Specify quantity required and delivery expectations.
  2. Specify shaft or bore sizes and key-way dimensions. You need to give exact dimensions with tolerances.
  3. Specify load – HP and/or torque at a specific RPM. State the normal and maximum conditions of use.
  4. Specify Speed of operation – Minimum, Normal and Maximum.
  5. Specify Application. Most Rubber & Tyre Machinery (Mixers, Kneaders, Mills, Calenders, Extruders, etc) conforms to a service factor classification where heavy shock conditions or frequent reversing peak loads that do not exceed 150 per cent average horse power is observed. Uneven load is usually present during operation. Service factor ranges from 1.25 to 1.50.
  6. Specify Coupling Series, Type and Size.
  7. Specify Space limitations – envelope dimensions, shaft extensions and shaft spacing.
  8. Specify unusual misalignment conditions if any.
  9. Specify Modifications – tapered bores, special keys, hub cut off, counter bores or others
  10. Specify unusual operating conditions ambient temperatures and atmospheres, if any.

Maintenance of Gear Coupling

Gear Coupling maintenance is mostly simple – requiring a regularly scheduled inspection of each coupling. Your schedule should consist of:

  • Performing visual inspections – checking for signs of wear or fatigue, and cleaning couplings regularly.
  • Checking and changing lubricant Each coupling half is provided with grease nipple/plug on the housing from where grease can be filled directly. The coupling is supplied with some quality of grease to facilitate assembly. It is recommended to fill the required quality and quantity of grease before putting the coupling in operation. This maintenance is required annually for most couplings and more frequently for couplings in adverse environments or in demanding operating conditions.
  • Documenting the maintenance performed on each coupling, along with the date.

Here’s a 1:17 min video of dismantling of a gear coupling so you could appreciate the components that make-up this coupling much better.

Video of Dismantling of A Gear Coupling

Video

Failure of Gear Coupling

Caution! Even with proper maintenance, your gear couplings can fail. The other causes of failure include:

  • Improper installation
  • Poor coupling selection
  • Operation beyond design capabilities

The only way to improve your coupling life is to understand what caused the failure and to correct it prior to installing a new coupling. You could check for some external signs that indicate potential coupling failure like,

  • Abnormal noise, such as screeching, squealing or chattering
  • Excessive vibration or wobble
  • Failed seals indicated by lubricant leakage or contamination

Summarizing, gear coupling is a mechanical device to join two rotating shafts for efficient transmission of mechanical power, are power intensive and is the king amongst the coupling types. They offer the highest load capacity and stiffness, yet easy to maintain. These are some of our reasons to love this gear coupling on the rubber machinery. 

Do you have more? Let us know your thoughts.


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One Must Dare To Dream – R.V.Gandhi

One must dare to dream. Entrepreneurship is about dreaming and conceptualising, says R.V.Gandhi, Managing Director and chief promoter of GRP Ltd in an exclusive interview with Rubber & Tyre Machinery World.

“Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role – always about the goal.” 

The above verse best summarizes Rajendra V. Gandhi (RVG). From building an ethical corporate organization in GRP, to serving on prestigious boards and industry bodies, public and private trusts that serve the cause of education in rubber, women empowerment, training in ethical values, water resource management, Gandhi’s immense contribution to Indian rubber industry has established him as an inspirational business leader and an iconic corporate citizen.

While the global reclaim industry depended on the European technology for manufacturing, Gandhi boldly decided to design, fabricate and install an entire plant and machinery for the manufacture of Reclaim Rubber, with complete indigenous components when India was largely deprived of foreign funds for imported machinery. This pioneering effort, at the start of his career as a young graduate engineer from IIT-Mumbai, ensured the beginning of a reclaim movement in India. Under Gandhi’s leadership, GRP Ltd has emerged as one of the largest manufacturer of reclaim rubber in the world, setting benchmarks for others to follow. Its an honour to know him and present you his leadership wisdom in this edition.

Know-A-Leader-R-V-Gandhi-GRP

Click cover to read online

I urge you not to miss reading this complete interview online on our digital edition (or please click on the image above). You will immensely gain from his wisdom shared through passionate narration of personal experiences of over 40 years; know his views on changes, new ideas energizing the reclaim rubber industry, sustainability, challenges, expectations from equipment manufacturers, and machinery selection advice for buyers.

Here’s one teaser Q&A below, while the full interview has 10 questions.

Q) Reclaim Rubber is widely used in manufacturing of automobile tyres and tubes as well as many other rubber products. How do you ensure that industry acknowledges the ‘sustainability & environment friendly’ aspect of Reclaim Rubber and consciously increase its usage in their products; especially when there are favourable price fluctuations for them in NR and SR?

RVG: In the aftermath of the World War II, Reclaim Rubber emerged as a significant player in countries like USA to offer the third source of rubber hydro carbon after Natural Rubber and Synthetic Rubber. But with advent of cheap crude oil prices in the 50’s and 60’s, and huge production of Synthetic Rubber saw demise of Reclaim Rubber Industry in the western world. By late 70’s barring one or two Reclaim Rubber producers almost all manufacturers ceased to exist in USA / Europe.

As a result, almost one generation of rubber technologists did not have the knowledge of use/advantages of reclaim rubber in compounding.

Consequently, when our Company in early 90s decided to enter export market we realized, we had to re-educate technical people in the compounding division of our customers to see the benefit of Reclaim Rubber as a technically sound ingredient / raw material rather than cheap inexpensive filler. It took a lot of time and efforts to build trust with our customers.

After 2005, with the Chinese economy galloping at more than 10% annually, there was a concern worldwide about possible shortage of Natural and Synthetic Rubber. The prices of Natural and Synthetic Rubber along with crude oil price began to rise rapidly. In addition, with the adverse effect of global warming, several Governments became conscious about sustainability and environmental degradation.

GRP since then has been highlighting the role of Reclaim Rubber from the point of view of sustainability and as a environmental friendly raw material. We have succeeded to some extent in this endeavour.

In recent times, however with the crash in the commodity prices as well as in the prices of Natural and Synthetic Rubber, there are fewer incentives for using more Reclaim Rubber despite of it being more environment friendly raw material.

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 Download PDF

Also, the center fold of this issue ‘One Page Leadership Insights from Around the World’ should be an added resource for you, I trust.

Centre Page Preview

Do review page 25 of the eEdition

I look forward to your feedback and thoughts of this interview.


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Industrie 4.0 And Why You Should Be Excited About It?

If you are even remotely following the advancements in manufacturing and automation, then you have already heard this term – Industrie 4.0. A German branded initiative, this is a term coined for the next stage of manufacturing that describes the main future development tasks required to achieve a ‘Smart Factory‘.

To quickly understand, you may visualize smart factories as ‘social networks’ where humans, machines and materials communicate and interact in real time.

Considered the 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing (watch a video), Industrie 4.0 is a dynamic process of evolution. It refers to the technological evolution from embedded systems to Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS).

Too much of jargons? Let me make an effort to explain…..

Relevance of CPS

In your manufacturing environment, these Cyber-Physical Systems comprise of smart machines, storage systems and production facilities capable of autonomously exchanging information, triggering actions and controlling each other independently.

This means all your machines, processes, control systems, logistics and even end-products are closely interconnected via internet-based, data-handling technologies and devices.

CPS makes your next level of decentralization realistic. It improves your resource productivity and efficiency, enables more flexible models of your work organization.

Says, Ashutosh Chincholikar, Business Head, Smart Controls India Ltd, “With Industrie 4.0, rubber and tyre machinery will no longer simply ‘processes’ the product, but your product would communicate with the machinery to tell it exactly what to do.”

Industrie-4.0-Rubber-Tyre-Machinery

Benefits of Industrie 4.0

Your benefits include flexibility in specification and volume, fine-tuning to your customer needs, and improving efficiency as a way to reduce your cost.

Your product development-to-market and order-to-shipment lead times become shorter. Expensive downtime for your machinery and plant gets reduced through remote monitoring and predictive maintenance.

Digitization, connected-ness and virtual tool planning opens your door to customized mass-production. This means you can produce very small batch sizes and yet sell at a profit.  Flexible manufacturing may mean that more of your parts and production materials have to be detected, inspected and identified. Transparency and reproducibility of your processes will enhance your product quality.

Experiences shared by Smart Controls India Ltd, include significant benefits like

  • 5% increase in productivity on 20 machines was equal to an extra machine.
  • 25% saving on a plant in Auto industry
  • 11% efficiency improvements in first 3 months at a Tire Company.
  • 68% gain in production by just fine tuning setup processes (up from 410 to 690 parts/week)
  • A large equipment manufacturer’s OEE shot up from 24% to 62% on machines

It is these benefits of speed, flexibility, quality amongst others that should keep you excited and upbeat about the prospects of Industrie 4.0. Further when you use CPS, you will have a clear advantage to attract the best employee talent since you can offer a better work-life balance.

| It is these benefits of speed, flexibility, quality amongst others that should keep you excited and upbeat about the prospects of Industrie 4.0. |

Need for a balanced approach

Interestingly, Industrie 4.0 goes by a variety of names: ‘Advanced Manufacturing’ in the USA and the UK, ‘les usines du futur’ (The Factories of the Future) in France, ‘Made Different – Factories of the Future’ in Belgium, and “Smart Industries” in the Netherlands.

As a manufacturer, you definitely need to procure equipment with right level of futuristic automation. Because Industrie 4.0 is bringing fundamental change to your business competition in today’s ‘VUCA’ (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.  If you continue using today’s automation systems you will fail due to excess cost in automation.

| If you continue using today’s automation systems you will fail due to excess cost in automation. |

However, it is also necessary to find the balance between full automation and manual work. It doesn’t make sense to automate all your manufacturing processes completely as the cost of that will be too high.

For example, tire production is high-volume customization. The tire industry seeks to consistently improve quality while cutting waste, thus reduce the cost of each tire. Experts and Leaders will tell you that the steps you need to do this in China or India are different than they are in Japan or in Europe or in the U.S.

Every application must be evaluated with regards to the breakeven point. And that is where you will benefit with the assistance of a systems integrator.

balanced-approach

Adopt a Balanced Approach. (Image Source: Web)

| Every application must be evaluated with regards to the break-even point.|

Adds Ashutosh, “In order to implement automation solutions in the tyre industry someone who understands the intricacies of tyre manufacturing processes – from mixing, tyre building, curing to inspection – is needed. This is where Smart Controls plays a big role. With over 15 years of experience in serving the tyre industry, Smart Controls has full knowledge and experience of using the Siemens Technological Platform to implement automation solutions for almost all processes of tyre making.”

(You may wish to hear more on the ‘role of a system integrator in your smart factory’, when Ashutosh Chincholikar speaks at the International Rubber Conference in Chennai on March 1-3, 2016.) 

Summarizing, Industrie 4.0 is more than just a buzzword today and hence important that you take notice. Because it ensures that your resources are used more efficiently while people and machinery work far more productively.

Let us know your thoughts on Smart Factory and and plans for Industrie 4.0.


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The Biggest Problem with Heat Transfer Efficiency in Rubber Machinery (And How You Can Fix It)

Rubber processing has a bizarre energy pattern, when seen from a layman’s perspective. Because you add heat into your process and then you cool down!

Heat addition and removal is repeated in each of your subsequent stages as well.

When you process rubber, energy is consumed across the value chain – right from transport of raw rubber, to the various processing operations (be it rubber mixing, rubber extrusion, rubber calendering, moulding etc) to convert into your suitable product and then transportation of your product.

Energy Uses in Rubber Processing

Source: Tangram

This implies that you need to cool down your rubber processing machinery regularly, which simultaneously involves heat exchange from a hot medium to a cooler medium.

And the most common medium to cool is water.

But where there’s water, you will face water-related problems caused by its mineral deposits. These deposits could give you varying degrees of water-related problems that affect your operating efficiencies and/or even leading to more costly equipment downtime issues.

This could be in your Rubber Machinery like Mixer, Mixing Mill Rolls, Calender Rolls, Press, Extruder, Heat Exchangers, Moulds, and factory equipment like Boilers, Chillers, Compressors, and TCU‘s or other Ancillary Units, etc.

You would notice that the mineral deposits accumulate quickly regardless of screens or treatment actions adopted. Even a thin coating of water scale will act to insulate the water system’s surface and retard the transfer of heat.

Hence, scaling is the biggest problem affecting the heat transfer efficiency in rubber machinery.

To increase heat transfer efficiency, lower maintenance cost, conserve overall energy consumption and thus enhance the usable life of your machinery, removing scales in all your water-cooled or water-heated rubber and tyre equipment is very important.

In a simple rubber machinery like the mixing mill, the presence of scales on rolls leads to localized hot spots affecting your mixing quality. In the case of boilers, scales can be very damaging leading to even boiler rupture. When water scale, lime and rust deposits accumulate on the water side of chambers, rotors and the drop door of the Mixer, it causes temperature of your rubber stock to rise and gradually lead to a loss in production.

Different machinery has different safe and effective method to remove scales. Recently, I was shown an instruction sheet, from one of the descalers (RYDLYME), on the process to descale a rubber mixer that I found interesting.

Here’s the process reproduced. I hope you too find it informative.

How To Clean Your Rubber Mixer

Image From RYDLYME

  1. Take mixer out of service.
  2. Close water supply valve at header as shown in the sketch above.
  3. Drain all water from all sections of mixer.
  4. Connect Descaling Solution pump discharge hose to water header. Header usually supplies all circuits.
  5. Connect return hoses to drain lines from all circuits and place into the Descaling Solution receiver.
  6. Close water supply valves to gate and jacket circuits.
  7. Start pump and pump the descaling solution into rotors to purge the water from this circuit to sewer. When the descaling solution begins to discharge from this hose, return to the receiver.
  8. Open water supply valve to gate and maintain Descaling Solution circulation through this circuit.
  9. Open water supply valve to jacket and maintain Descaling Solution circulation through this circuit.
  10. If any circuit is NOT flowing properly, restrict Descaling Solution flow in other circuits until flow returns to normal in this circuit.
  11. Circulate a total of 120 Litres of Descaling Solution through all circuits of mixer until clean. This will require approximately four (4) hours pumping time.
  12. It is suggested to periodically rotate the rotors during Descaling Solution cleaning to assure that the Descaling Solution is in contact with all of the lobes of the rotor.
  13. Upon completion of cleaning, flush all Descaling Solution from all circuits with fresh water.
  14. Disconnect the Descaling Solution pump and all hoses. The mixer is now ready to be returned to service.
  15. Periodic descaling will keep the temperatures of the mixer within acceptable limits, assuring you a better product and minimize burnt or improperly mixed stock.
  16. Clean out the Descaling Solution System and store for future use.

Summarizing, scaling is the biggest problem with heat transfer efficiency in your rubber machinery. Descaling or cleaning the scales helps you fix this issue. Hence incorporating descaling solutions into your preventive maintenance program is recommended to keep your equipment running effectively and economically.

Do you agree?


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How To Select Your Rubber And Tyre Machinery? Insightful Advices From 6 CEO’s

“How To Select Your Rubber And Tyre Machinery?”

This subject question could have volumes written in theory. But today we focus on what the CEO’s advise, distilled down from their experience, expertise, and wisdom.

Your equipment supplier ecosystem includes New Manufacturers, Rebuilders, OEM Suppliers, Pre-Owned Machinery Suppliers and Agent representatives.

So I asked all the CEO’s the same question to give you a true perspective.

“What would you advice on machinery selection to buyers and users of rubber and tire equipment?”

The different views they offered here are not only insightful, they are pertinent, prudent and practical.

Read on in our Special Supplement here….

This special supplement is one of our efforts to give you useful knowledge on-the-go in a concise and timely manner. This topic based micro-editions is in addition to our other initiatives like ‘Know Your Supplier’ that provides you information on the machinery supplier ecosystem.

Watch Video Version of this supplement on YouTube or Download Full PDF Here.


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If you are an equipment supplier and would like your organization to be promoted on Rubber Machinery World, please see the opportunities on Partner Me or Contact Me at rubbermachineryworld@gmail.com for your customized offering.


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The Ultimate Guide to Asset Management

If you had read my earlier post “A New Hope: Top 6 Things I Learnt At NRC 2015 Mumbai“, then you would have also read my learning from Naushad Shikalgar of J.N.Engineering – ‘Proactive Machinery Maintenance is not an expense and is an investment that has long-term benefits’.

Maintenance is important in any organization. Without proper maintenance, assets deteriorate over time reducing the quality of your output produced. It can also impact the safety of your asset or your people who operate it.

Traditionally, maintenance has been viewed as a cost center in an organization because it costs you money to hire maintenance technicians and purchase the spare parts to keep your systems running smoothly. Too often, senior executives ignore the value-add that maintenance can bring to your organization. These include:

  • A reduction in reactive maintenance costs
  • Reducing costs to restart production after a breakdown
  • Limiting production scrap
  • Costs of downtime such as missed orders and lost revenue
  • Customer perception/satisfaction
  • Improved quality of products
  • Reduced environmental impact

 

By definition, Asset management is a systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively.

During his talk, Naushad spoke extensively on Asset Management Strategy-Plan-Execution including the various approaches to maintenance that I found interesting and hope you too would like it when you read. Hence, I have reproduced the 34 slides (click on the picture below) here that effectively forms a comprehensive guide on asset management.

Asset Management

Click on Image

Summarizing, asset management focuses on assuring your people, parts and processes are optimized to improve asset performance. Reducing inventory, maintenance costs and the number of downtime events raises your productivity, while simultaneously driving financial performance and predictability. It also helps your employees with the right tools to make good decisions about driving your plant performance.

Do you agree? How do you look at Asset Management?


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What the Heck Is Total Cost Of Ownership of A Rubber Machinery?

“What the heck is total cost of ownership of a rubber machinery?”. If this question has popped up in your heads after reading  Prof. Dr.-Ing Andreas Limper’s interview, you are not alone.

Neither is this concept new.

Dr. Limper explains, in his interview, that the inability of a customer to see the ‘holistic perspective’ and evaluate machinery on ‘ownership cost’ basis is frustrating. This is because, most buyers select a rubber machinery on the ‘initial cost’.

“So what?” you may ask me.

And at this stage of our conversation, if I add that your ‘initial cost’ (basis which you made the strategic capital purchase) represents not more than 13-15% of your ownership cost!

TCO - Iceberg

Reference Image Only

Well, do I have your attention now?

Let me explain.

Simply put, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the total cost of your rubber machinery over the whole of its life. You can also complexly word it as ‘sum total of your purchase, ownership and post-ownership costs of your rubber machinery in a quantitative and qualitative manner’. (jargons?)

This means in your TCO calculations, all your obvious and hidden costs of ownership across the full life cycle of the rubber machinery has to be considered. There is often room for judgement and sometimes different opinions, in deciding what is the appropriate lifespan for you to analyse.

This is because some of your costs will be one-off, others will be recurring – so you need to know how many years you intend to use this machinery. For example, you could consider Depreciable Life (i.e the number of years in which the machinery is depreciated) or Economic Life (i.e the number of years in which the machinery returns more value to you than it costs to own, operate, and maintain) or Service Life (i.e. the number of years the machinery will actually be in service).

In some cases there may be some residual value in the machinery or parts. However, you will also have costs associated with its disposal.

Here’s a typical compilation of all costs associated with the purchase of your rubber machinery.

Purchasing Costs (includes but not limited to)

  • Market Research including business directory purchase
  • Consulting or specialist advice for machinery assessment and its appropriateness for your use
  • Supplier identification costs like administration costs, telephone calls to discuss, travel, accommodation costs for factory visit and negotiations, etc.
  • Purchase Price of the Machinery & its required accessories
  • Delivery Costs (freight) and insurance
  • Warranties
  • Installation, erection and commissioning costs
  • Trial run and Training
  • Licences for software and automation
  • Insurance costs

Operating Costs (includes but not limited to)

  • Consumables, ‘Wear & Tear’ Components
  • Regular Maintenance or Servicing (Self or Outsourced)
  • Spare Parts
  • Energy/Electricity Consumption Costs
  • Breakdowns & Repair Costs
  • Extended Warranties
  • Operator Costs
  • Cost of replacement service during a breakdown such as hiring (another) machinery or outsourcing the work.
  • Licence renewal/ software upgradation costs
  • Insurance renewal costs

Disposal Costs (includes but not limited to)

  • Decommissioning costs, involving technical specialists.
  • Transportation of the machinery away from the Plant
  • Disposal Fees of machinery and/or its parts as per your country laws
  • Data migration costs from existing control instrumentation and records
  • Other related cost of change of machinery after its life
  • Site clean-up costs

Resale Value: You should remember to add back any money received on the resale of your rubber machinery and its accessories.

Your formula for calculating the TCO thus becomes

TCO = Purchase Price + Regular Recurring Costs + Irregular One-off Costs + Disposal Costs – Income Generated – Revenue on Disposal/Resale Value. 

Do you get the ‘drift’ now?  

Do you agree with me that your decision to buy a rubber machinery only on the basis of initial purchase price could be a flawed strategy and need a rethink (…..if you are doing this, like the majority of other rubber machinery buyers!!).

Having outlined these thoughts, let me also caution you that the success of your evaluation depends on the type of the machinery you buy.

For example, you would not want to get into the same evaluation techniques when you buy a relatively simplistic (or one-off) machinery like bale cutter or sheet feeder as compared to a project investment of a mixing line or rubber mixing room.

Do let me know!

Summing up, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is the total cost of your rubber machinery over the whole of its life and, I think, should be the most important criterion when you invest in projects and/or strategic capital purchases.


Contact me if you seek more details on this topic. Or if  you are looking for New or Used Rubber Machinery?

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