When you aren’t already replacing or redoing a whole packaging line, it can be difficult to decide when it is time to stop fixing your existing labeling equipment and purchase a newer model.  Here are a few signs that it might be time to start shopping and running your ROI calculations

#1 Can't Keep Up

Labeling requirements change over time and if your equipment hasn’t kept up and you are supplementing with hand labeling, it might be time to look for some money in the budget.  Manufacturers are continuing to add new skus and packaging variation to meet consumer needs.  In addition, the technology that is being implemented to track all of these new products is changing the labeling requirements.  Many manufacturers are having to respond to the requirements of major retailers.  If your equipment isn’t meeting your current needs, then it certainly won’t be able to accommodate any future needs.

#2 Increased Downtime for Maintenance

If the equipment is old and gets out of adjustment easily, drops labels, or doesn’t include troubleshooting aids to help operators to quickly identify the source of the fault, the downtime can take a heavy toll on your production capacity.  At some point the cost of all this downtime is going to catch up to the cost of new equipment.

#3 Outdated parts

Many OEMs only support spare parts for their equipment for 20 years.  If you can’t get replacement wear parts, it might be time to consider new equipment.  Additionaly, if your controls are outdated and no longer work with your broader system or are no longer available, it might be time to consider replacing the equipment.  You could always check with your OEM to see if they offer a controls upgrade package, but controls often take up a large portion of the cost of a new piece of equipment, and when coupled with other changes that may have to be made to the equipment to accomodate the controls, downtime to implement the upgrades, or other age factors, it may be more economical to replace the whole unit.

#4 No Service and Support

So what happens when your equipment goes down and your team needs support from the OEM?  Can you get a hold of them easily? Are they responsive and knowledgeable? Are they still in business?  The relationship between a manufacturer and an OEM doesn’t just end when the equipment is installed.  If you can’t get the level of support and service that your production requires, it might be time to replace the equipment in favor of a new machine that comes with better support.