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Renting Portable Machine Tools for On-site Machining – A Smart Move in Uncertain Times

Sat, 01 December 2012

Companies throughout the power generation, shipbuilding, heavy construction, and service and engineering industries often rely on renting equipment such as portable boring machines, flange facers, lathes, linear mills and valve repair machines for on-site machining. Known for power, precision and versatility, portable machine tools enable machinists to significantly shorten the amount of time it takes to repair corroded, worn or out-of-spec heavy equipment and get it back in service fast.

In markets suffering from a slowdown in the economy, few companies have the capital budget to buy tools that may be used only occasionally. As such, tools may sit idle for long periods of time between projects.

Consider an alternate tool strategy. Renting portable machine tools for on-site machining is a smart move for a number of reasons, such as gaining ready access to the newest technology and providing an extension to a company’s fleet of equipment. The most significant benefit is that capital is freed up for other uses. Renting equipment is the easiest way to economically grow a business without making unnecessary capital expenditures.

Renting allows repair and maintenance teams to try the latest, safest and most technically advanced equipment on the market, paying only when you use it. Industry leaders are continually improving their portable machines. Climax Portable Machine Tools, for instance, integrated new features into its new line of heavy-duty portable flange facers including a milling option, patented safety feature that lets operators remotely adjust the feed rate, infinitely variable feed rates, and a tool head that can rotate 360 degrees to machine angular surfaces. With these machines, an experienced machinist can hold tight tolerances and get on-site machining projects done faster.

Another significant advantage of renting portable machine tools is that they can supplement a company’s existing arsenal of tools. For example, if its own boring machines, flange facers or milling equipment are already in use, new machining projects don’t have to be put on hold. Field service companies and contractors can bid on new projects, keep their machinists actively employed, and the company profitable. Renting the equipment also lets users test the equipment out first, to guarantee it’s right for the application, and that it will ensure the user’s investment has a successful outcome.

Access to these on-site machining tools is also important. Potential renters may worry that when a critical piece of equipment is down, the supplier won’t have the necessary machine tool available when needed. However, many machine manufacturers have rental depots or distributors strategically located, so machine tools can be ordered and shipped within 24 hours from the nearest location to the job site. Once the on-site machining project is complete, the machine tool can be shipped back to the supplier, eliminating the need for equipment storage. Companies who foresee renting equipment for various phases of a repair or ongoing maintenance project can set up programs that allow them to reserve equipment at various intervals and for specific lengths of time. This option has worked particularly well for the ship repair industry, enabling the ship’s engineers to call the shipyard while still at sea to schedule repairs or ongoing maintenance whenever a ship will be in port.

Many factors enter into the decision of whether to buy or rent portable machine tools including the overall cost to buy, maintain, and house the equipment, as well as the amount of time the machine will be in use over its entire lifetime. Buying is a very good option for companies that have ongoing use for the machine or need extra equipment on hand to repair critical equipment that threatens to cause a plant shutdown. However, renting is a very smart alternative for those companies who want to control costs and have limited usage for these machines, but still want access to top-quality machines when needed

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