Bespoke machinery: Weighing up the pros and cons

Manufacturers are often stuck in a limbo between standard automated machinery that is seemingly easy to install and maintain, and machinery that is tailor-made but that risks causing hassle down the line through time-consuming repairs and soaring costs.

It is widely acknowledged that off-the-shelf machinery has allowed the manufacturing sector to make significant strides over the past number of years. However, this approach is often an issue for those within the manufacturing sector, as they require a level of adaptability that standard solutions are sometimes unable to provide.

With that in mind, it is sensible to consider the pros and cons associated with bespoke machinery, in order to decide whether or not a customisable solution will ultimately benefit your business.

Pros

Reduced long-term costs – It is a common misconception that bespoke machinery costs more. In fact, it can be adapted to integrate and optimise overall efficiency, leading to lower energy use and improved use of materials.

Improved efficiency – The aim for any manufacturer is to increase throughput while maintaining high standards. Integrating customised machinery into the production process means a range of tasks can be completed faster, freeing up staff to concentrate on other areas.

Optimised Machine Usage – Purchasing a range of machines that each perform a specific task is common and may appear to be the most logical solution. However, the time it takes to install each piece of equipment is considerable, not to mention the man-power required to train and operate. Custom machinery allows various add-ons, increasing productivity and ease of use.

Cons

Technology longevity – As technology advances, the manufacturing process will evolve and change and there is a perception that bespoke machinery will not be able to adapt. However, forward planning will ensure measures have been taken to enable future alterations, as and when required.

Higher upfront costs – There should always be a detailed analysis of where and how the installation of bespoke machinery can improve the manufacturing operation. Before seeing a return on investment, the initial cost of purchasing automated machines will be relatively high, along with any training and education required for staff members.

Whether or not to use bespoke machinery will differ from business to business. Through completing extensive research and seeking professional advice, desired results can be achieved.

At Value Stream Machinery (VSM), we can provide off-the-shelf and bespoke machinery and our experienced team would welcome the opportunity to discuss the options available.

To discuss further, please call us on +44 28 90 730153.