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Finances

5 Ways To Determine the True Cost of Owning a CNC Machine

April 1, 2016

When making a major buying decision it’s important to consider factors beyond the initial price tag. After all, our goal is to get the greatest overall value. When buying capital equipment, that means getting the right machine for the job and the best return on our investment.

CNC machine tools from two different OEMs may appear, on paper, to look very much the same. Yet one is priced considerably lower, so it’s tempting to buy the machine with the cheaper price tag. However, the true cost of ownership involves more than basic specs, so before making a purchase you may want to ask yourself some important questions, including these:

  1. Is the machine tool a good match to my workload? This may seem obvious, but raw motor horsepower, spindle speed and feed rates alone may not tell the whole story. If you plan to run the machine continuously over three shifts, for example, the base and frame construction and critical components such as ballscrews and servo motors must be up to the task. Typically, machines that have rugged structures and components cost more than machines better suited for light duty. Putting demands beyond the machine tool’s capability can cause breakdowns, scrap and part quality problems, all of which add costs.
  2. How easy is it to adapt the machine for future production demands? It’s important that the machine has capabilities beyond what you need today. Parts specifications change, new orders appear and if you’re limited to certain size ranges and material capabilities, you could be in trouble. It’s also important to consider the machine control. Is it easy to program? Can you add APPs to improve your process? The more time the operator has to spend getting the machine to perform properly, the greater your production costs.
  3. Are replacement parts readily available? All machines, no matter how well built, require planned maintenance. If the bargain brand CNC has limited parts readily available, or if they must be ordered from a remote location, you could be looking at considerable downtime.
  4. What kind of technical service and customer support do I get? Is there someone I can call and actually talk to if I have a technical or service-related question? How long do I have to wait for a service technician to show up? The longer you’re waiting for service, the fewer chips you’re making.
  5. Is training included in the purchase price? If not, what will it cost to get your operators up to speed? If training is included, how convenient and thorough will it be?

Asking these and other pertinent questions can help you determine the true cost of CNC machine ownership. Every case is unique, of course, and only you can decide which machine tool offers the best overall value. The wrong choice can lead to extraordinary repairs, downtime and training costs. Not to mention greater operator costs, scrap, rework, shorter machine life and missed opportunities.

For the best value in a CNC machine, let the Gosiger team help you realize your best ROI based on the true cost of ownership.

ROI Capital Budgeting 6 Real Cost 6 Keys Equipment Lease