Clearview National March 2016 - Issue 172 - Page 114

MACHINERY Working around obsolescence The pace of technology means that machines - or parts of them - regularly become obsolete. Steve Haines, from Norfolk-based machinery company Stuga, talks about obsolescence and machinery refurbishment. »»“A WELL-KNOWN FABRICATOR IN the north east of England sadly went into administration recently and closed down. Its equipment was sold by online auction as has now become the norm and whilst most of it sold quite well the prices were generally speaking not that high with the exception of the two Stuga machines - and one other. These two machines were not the latest or most sought after technology but nonetheless both fetched amazingly high prices. Some people expressed surprise at the prices a Stuga Autocut saw center and Ecoline prepping center fetched but at Stuga no-one was surprised. Stuga machines normally fetch excellent values on the second-hand market and the main reasons are very simple. Stuga machine comes in that is anything more than, say, two years old it is fully refurbished to as near to the latest specification as possible. This will often create an almost new version that is very close to the same or similar machine when it was new. A classic example is the 76 Flowlines that were built before the machine was recreated as the ZX3. More than 20 of these old Flowlines dating around the early 2000 to 2002 period have been totally rebuilt to the latest ZX3 upgrade specification. These are back in the market place producing windows with a higher output than when they were new and with many excellent design updates engineered into them. “Potential customers often call Stuga seeking to purchase machines that have been on the market for very many years and they may be looking for new or refurbished ones but they are satisfied that whatever they purchase it will be able to be updated, improved and kept in service for many more years. They also know they can rely on Stuga back-up that ensures peace of mind on a daily basis. ‘nearly every machine the company has ever made is operational in the market today’ “Stuga is not only the manufacturer rather than a dealer but is also a British manufacturer based here in this country with all the benefits that brings. The Stuga brand has been produced in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, since 1986 and very nearly every machine the company has ever made is operational in the market today. There are numerous machines supplied by dealers that have come from other parts of the world - mainly Europe - that were long ago scrapped, sometimes because they were worn out and sometimes because of technology or obsolescence. This doesn’t really happen to a Stuga because the company will always refurbish any worn out machine to make it as good as new and obsolescence is designed out on an ongoing basis. “The fast pace of modern technological change creates a situation whereby machines or parts of them regularly become obsolete and this can be a major headache for the manufacturer. Stuga often gets no notice of components becoming unavailable and sometimes it is only at time of order this 114 » MAR 2016 » CL EARVI E W- UK . C O M ‘They also knew they could call on Stuga expertise’ comes to light. When it happens the company has to very quickly design a ‘work-around.’ These work- arounds then have to form part of a long term design update, either just as they are or to be improved upon later. In some cases these design changes can be major, especially if they require new software to be written. Stuga has always had in-house design staff to work on these complications and a considerable degree of success has been achieved. Stuga’s constant involvement in these evolutionary design changes sometimes leads to complete new designs or major improvements on old ones. “Stuga often purchases back its own machines either as part-exchange or simply because they have become surplus to requirement for a multitude of reasons such as insolvency or stopping fabrication. When a “To return to those machines at the recent auction the purchasers were prepared to pay a lot of money for quite old Stugas sound in the knowledge that they could get the parts, have the machines serviced and get the benefits of the most recent updates and enhancements that will have been introduced on an ongoing basis. They also knew they could call on Stuga expertise to move the machines and re-commission them as Stuga has a range of options available for re-siting their machines from a simple install right through to a full decommissioning, move and recommission package.” For further infor