In the manufacturing sector, maintaining a competitive edge requires frequent investment into improving, replacing, and updating equipment. However, this requirement can be costly, and, when budget restrictions force management to make tough allocation decisions, it is often not prioritized.
One solution that helps companies remain competitive while relieving budgetary tension is investing in preventative maintenance and refurbishing and rebuilding services.
When Should You Consider Refurbishing?
While the decision to refurbish or rebuild a machine—such as a tablet press—largely depends on the client’s standards for machine performance, budget, and opinion of preventative maintenance, there are a few performance indicators that suggest a machine would benefit from refurbishment or rebuilding services. These indicators include:
- Poor yields
- Erratic compression
- Poor or inconsistent weight control
- Chatter in the compression stations
- Unusual drive compartment noises
- Product traces in unwanted locations
- Excessive vibration
- Excessive wear on fixed parts
- Potential for component obsolescence
Additional Refurbishment Considerations
The decision to refurbish equipment requires consideration of other factors beyond machine performance. The responses to the following questions can help management make a more informed decision:
- Will refurbishing and rebuilding nullify the existing equipment warranty coverage? If coverage is maintained, what will be covered, and how long will coverage last after the work is completed?
- Does the current condition of the machine justify the refurbishment costs? The machine performance indicators listed above will provide the best answers to this question.
- Does the machine have a solid foundation on which to base all other work? If the foundation of the machine has deteriorated significantly, refurbishing or rebuilding the machine might not provide an adequate solution.
- What is the age of the equipment? If the equipment is older (i.e., 25+ years), does a significant capital investment into mechanical and computer upgrades make sense? The cost of upgrading the components of the outdated machine may exceed the cost of simply replacing it with up-to-date equipment, and, if there is a disparity in performance between the two, it may not be worth it.
- Will the rebuilding and refurbishing provide adequate and comprehensive performance equal to OEM standards? If a third-party performs the refurbishment, they must include a complete list of the parts replaced for future reference.
The Refurbishing/Rebuilding Process
When a third-party company carries out refurbishing or rebuilding operations, they generally adhere to a basic process that includes the following stages:
- Assessment and evaluation. An OEM representative physically inspects the machine and its components to determine the feasibility of refurbishing or rebuilding.
- Identification of customer expectations. The project manager discusses with the customer their expectations for the rebuilt or refurbished machine and agrees upon a plan of action.
- Execution of work. The company performs the rebuild or refurbishing work as agreed upon in the contract. Once the work is completed, they should also provide a complete list of the specific components to be replaced and whether or not they are OEM approved.
In tablet presses, some of the components that may be targeted in refurbishing or rebuilding operations include:
- Cams and cam tracks
- Chutes and ejection assemblies
- Compression rolls
- Electrical and safety interlocks
- Load cells
- Main drives
- Shrouds and guards
- Turret assembly
Benefits of Refurbishing
In more complex and specialized production equipment, such as a tablet press, it only takes one or two faulty machine parts to throw the entire process out of order. Refurbishment can provide a solution to most machine issues by bringing the machine back to its original factory performance levels. Additionally, it offers a number of benefits without the need to invest in a new machine, including:
- Longer machine service lives
- Greater production yields
- Lower investment and operation costs
- Smaller replacement part inventories
- Shorter equipment downtimes
- A wider range of updated and custom refurbishment options
- Easier compliance with newer GMP, GAMP and FDA standards
Refurbishing/Rebuilding With Fette Compacting
At Fette Compacting America, we provide full-service refurbishing and rebuilding for your existing tablet presses. From replacing worn out components to upgrading older machines with the most up-to-date technology, our expert technicians guarantee a high performance return for a low investment.
The refurbishing process we follow is fully transparent, following the refurbishing/rebuilding process steps listed above. Delivery of the promised work includes a typical downtime of 8 to 10 weeks, depending upon the availability of replacement parts at the time of the request, and can include the following:
- Full inspection and assessment machine and its components
- Delivery of a replacement parts list and project quote
- Disassembly of the machine for cleaning
- Inspection and repair of all die holes, die table surfaces, and punch bores
- Recalibration of equipment (with appropriate markings and indicators)
- Inspection, repair, or replacement of cam tracks, compression rolls, and gearboxes
- Testing, evaluation, and repair or replacement of electrical interlocks and load cells
- Inspection and cleaning of the machine’s main drive and main drive gearboxes
- Steam cleaning of the machine frame
- Checking and repair or replacement of all shrouding, tablet discharge chutes, and vacuum shrouds
- Any small or large cosmetic repairs according to customer approval
How It Works
- Technicians will first inspect the machine to determine necessary repairs prior to the disassembly, including inspecting the turret for excessive wear or damage.
- Next, a list of replacement parts and a quotation will be provided.
- Once the plan and approval is in place, the machine is disassembled and can be framed for cleaning.
- All punch bores, die holes, and die table surfaces will be checked and repaired if required.
- The machines will also be calibrated and equipped with a calibration sticker.
- As each section is broken down, cam tracks, compression rolls, and all adjustment gearboxes will be inspected, repaired, or replaced.
- Load cells and electrical interlocks will be tested, evaluated based on their condition and repaired or replaced.
- The main drive and main drive gearbox will be inspected and cleaned.
- If the drive is removed, it will be steamed clean.
- All shrouding, tablet discharge chutes and vacuum shrouds will be checked for proper functionality.
- Additionally, small cosmetic repairs will be fixed.
- If the cosmetic repairs are large (such as cracked window flaps, they will be fixed after the approval from the customer.