Thermal spray maintenance costs

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In continuation with our discussion on hidden costs that go unnoticed in most thermal spray shops, we will be concentrating on costs associated with thermal spray maintenance in this post. Most thermal spray companies have ongoing routine maintenance programs such as thermal spray gun maintenance, turntables, up-down traverses and other thermal spray equipment maintenance such as grit blast cabinets, degreasers, thermal spray dust collectors and such. While this is important for the proper and smooth functioning of your thermal spray business, it is important to identify the costs associated with such maintenance.

It is important to collect this data on thermal spray maintenance, but equally important is the fact that you need to use this data effectively to enable improvements in the company’s bottom line. Of the few that do collect this data, fewer still make judicious use of it. Now, using this maintenance costs data wisely can provide information on where the most amount of resources are being spent and also in judging if it is time to get rid of an old piece of equipment and replace it with a new one or not. For example, I was once involved with a thermal spray facility where the x-y traverse was going down every other week and this piece of equipment was installed in a high volume booth which produced about five thousand parts every week. So every other week, when the traverse was removed from production for service, it made absolutely no sense from a production stand point. We kept nudging the higher ups to get rid of this piece of clunker and replace it with a state of the art thermal spray robot. Needless to say, the people higher up were paying no attention to the maintenance costs and where the costs were getting sucked up, otherwise they would have made this decision a long time ago.

Additionally, the costs of maintenance must be somehow amortized on a per sales dollar basis, so that quotations reflect the associated costs properly and thermal spray pricing can be submitted accurately. In other words, find out the total amount spent on thermal spray maintenance over a specific time period, say a year and then using the sales value for the same time period, determine the percentage basis of maintenance costs per sales dollar revenue and use this percentage to mark up the thermal spray quote accordingly. Someone has to pay this cost of maintenance and more likely it is going to be your customer. I have seen many quotation work outs that do not even come close to utilizing such information. Well, in such cases, the maintenance costs really end up coming from the bottom line profits of the company when in actuality there is no need for this. Additionally, if you find that specific areas are more maintenance intensive such as low pressure plasma spray cells, then such jobs can be priced accordingly utilizing a higher maintenance mark up.

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