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The true cost of fabricated parts

By |  July 8, 2022
Manufacturers design and build vibrating screens as a total system. The weight of the parts, required running speed and amplitude are all taken into consideration when balancing the machine. Photo: Haver & Boecker Niagara

Manufacturers design and build vibrating screens as a total system. The weight of the parts, required running speed and amplitude are all taken into consideration when balancing the machine. Photo: Haver & Boecker Niagara

Cutting costs is one way operation managers strive to increase profits in an aggregate operation.

Parts are often an area production managers eye as a way to save money. It’s important, however, to look beyond price and understand the role a component plays in a vibrating screen’s performance and long-term productivity.

Operation managers must be sure they choose the most reliable parts for their equipment. They need to consider the knowledge, experience and resources required to manufacture the part, the potential hazards of using a fabricated version, and the value of having support from the OEM.

Here’s a look at the difference between fabricated and OEM parts and how those differences can impact production.

OEM expertise

Consider the difference between fabricated and OEM components.

Fabrication shops have come a long way and are often able to produce quality components. But some equipment, such as vibrating screens, need such a precise tolerance that a fabricated part may not work correctly – no matter how closely it resembles the OEM version. Only a machine’s manufacturer has the precise equipment drawings, measurements, plus/minus tolerances, material composition and know-how on what needs to be heat-tempered.

This means only the manufacturer can produce a component that fits those fine-tuned parameters. Even a reputable fabrication shop with capabilities similar to an OEM has to rely on reverse engineering and guesswork to fashion a replacement. The part may look identical, but it could cause problems if it’s even a little off.

A vibrating screen isn’t a machine, but rather a complete system where every component works in tandem to accomplish a specific goal. If an operation screens 1,200 tph, for example, a manufacturer designs parts with different strength and rigidity than they would for a 200-tph application. This customization ensures the entire system runs to the proper g-force and is strong enough to resist the forces of materials running over the screen.

The weight of parts, the required running speed and amplitude are all taken into consideration when balancing a screen. If an operation chooses to fabricate a side plate and the weight is wrong, for example, it could impact the machine’s balance. This could lead to improper motion in the vibrating screen, causing poor stratification of material, lower bearing life or premature breakage of body components due to improper operation.

In the end, this leads to unscheduled downtime, contaminated product or the required tons per hour not being produced.

Call for backup

Additionally, custom fabrication shops can’t offer the support benefits OEMs do.

OEMs usually have infrastructure to ensure fast, efficient problem-solving. If there is a problem with a part, the OEM will take full responsibility, quickly assess the situation and send a replacement almost immediately. Most parts shops don’t have the resources for a quick, precise turnaround if the part doesn’t work right, and there is no guarantee the replacement fabricated part will be correct.

Working with an OEM means having a support team that understands an operation, its production and equipment. They know what parts will wear quickly and what parts need to be on hand to limit downtime. They often offer OEM supplier agreements that ensure they have critical parts in stock for immediate delivery, limiting or eliminating extended downtime.

An OEM’s focus on vibrating screens also brings an in-depth product knowledge that’s rare elsewhere.

Some manufacturers’ certified technicians test machines as a system before they leave the factory, and they run the same tests once the vibrating screen is commissioned to ensure results are identical. They use this information to ensure every component is running at OEM standards and the machine and components are backed by a strong warranty program.


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