The purpose of this article is to expose you to the best coil handling buying tips for processing lines. Explained in this article you will be able to apply all the forms of steel coil lines, from light gauge and small operations up to heavy gauge and high-speed lines.
Some of these tips are general for buying any type of heavy equipment, and some of them apply specifically to investing in a metal processing and slitting lines.
Tip #1 - Clearly define your metal processing and slitting requirements both for your current operation and for the future markets that you may go after.
The average lifespan of a metal slitting line or metal processing machinery can often be measured in terms of 5 to 10 year increments. This means that a metal slitting line will be amortized over a fairly long useful life and is thus a long term decision to be made after carefully evaluating all factors.
This step can lead to the conclusion that there is no need to purchase an in-house metal processing or slitting line. It may be a wiser financial move to outsource the metal processing and coil slitting depending on the size and quantity requirements for your material.
Deciding between outsourcing and buying your own in-house metal slitting or processing line will involve a number of factors. Defining the current operations required along with those that you anticipate needing in the future will allow you to put numbers to the decision.
Because a metal slitting line can cost from several hundreds of thousands of dollars up to millions of dollars, along with requiring specialized maintenance and operator training, the decision is a multi-level one for most businesses.
As a guideline, a facility that only runs 10,000 to 50,000 tons per year will usually outsource their metal slitting operation. If the metal stamper runs over 50,000 tons per year then it can become costly to outsource this quantity of either metal slitting or cutting to length.
At that point, the consideration for bringing a metal processing line in-house has to be taken seriously because there are significant advantages to having the metal processing and slitting line, along with the finishing production, all under one roof. This is something however for those that can afford both the space, and the financial resources.
Tip #2 - Used metal processing and coil slitting lines are not necessarily the bargain that they may at first seem to be.
The challenge with used metal processing equipment is that the rebuild and tweaking can often take the cost of the line up to 70-80% of buying a new line. Sometimes there is a lack of financial incentive for buying a used line because leasing can be more difficult, or financing from the company providing the line will no longer be available for a used line.
On the other hand, if you can find reasonably sound used metal coil processing lines that do not require significant modifications to your facility, are still fully supported by the original factory, and have the modern accuracy improving technologies, then a used metal coil and slitting line can save as much as 40% off the equivalent new processing line.
Tip #3 - Get as much automation for your line as you can possibly afford.
The level of automation will directly impact the speed of processing, the precision, accuracy of the end products, and the amount of labor involved in maintaining a smoothly running operation.
When an operator shortchanges the line in the automation arena, such as laser edge controls and fully synchronized levelers, they can introduce a long-term headache by becoming a labor demanding process.
Tip #4 - Opt for AC vector drives for the slitter.
The reason for doing this, aside from some of the improved functionality offered by AC vector drives, is the fact that they will reduce your overall energy expenditures for the line. Energy is generally going up and becoming an increasingly expensive input for metal processing.
Every kilowatt-hour that can be saved by the addition of improved technology, such as AC vector drives, will pay increasing dividends over the lifespan of the system.
Following these basic for tips will help you to decide if you actually need to buy your own metal coil processing equipment. Then, if you do, you will know where to invest your dollars for getting the highest return both for your current operation and for your future operation.
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