Why Forming a Machine-Tool Buying Committee Is a Good Idea

With a decision as heavy as buying a new machine tool, it’s important to consider how such a purchase will touch all the relevant departments of the shop.


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There are many factors to be considered before acquiring a new machine tool, and a lot of questions have to be asked and answered prior to selecting the right CNC machine. This process includes asking questions about why the shop is buying in the first place and considering what size and sort of workpieces will be machined. It’s also useful to recall all the different people and departments the new machine will affect before moving to purchase.

Need a Meeting of the Minds? Form a Committee

During the machine-buying process, some companies will form committees, especially when numerous departments will be involved in and responsible for the daily operation of the machine. Buying committees allow each department to have input, conveying their requirements and concerns prior to machine selection.

Engineering: The engineering department may have concerns about the machine’s ability to achieve and maintain the required part specifications and accuracies.

Production: The production department will want to ensure that it will be able to meet agreed-upon production requirements and schedules.

Maintenance: The maintenance department will undoubtedly have concerns because its members will be forced to live with a poor machine selection. This department may be most interested in the machine’s spare parts; electrical components; electrical and air requirements; grease, air and oil filters; type of machine controller; recommended preventive maintenance procedures and their frequency; and general upkeep once installed.

Facility: Facility representatives might bring up concerns about factory space, machine footprint and layout, electrical and air drops, and fork truck access.

Purchasing: The purchasing department will want to make sure it understands the machine specifications and requirements in order to apply due pressure on the vendors to achieve the best financial deal and follow-up support for the company.

Machine selection by committee is usually done only in larger companies. Even then, if the machine is being purchased to replace an existing machine, and the required machine type and model are already known, a committee may not be necessary.  In a job shop environment, the owner of the company may be the one purchasing the machine and may find the committee method unnecessary and far too time-consuming. Also, in smaller shops, the owner may be the person operating the machine and knows exactly what he or she wants without needing anyone else’s input.

Do Your Research

Inevitably, all machine buyers get to the point in the process of comparing machine types and machine models. Techspex.com, a free research center and analysis tool, can help anyone find the right machine for the job. This handy website database contains more than 500 machine tool brands with more than 8,600 models of every machine type imaginable—all in one place. Techspex maintains the deepest, most up-to-date machine tool information, whether the equipment is a milling, turning, grinding, EDM or coordinate measuring machine (CMM)—it’s all there. Simply enter the basic attributes and specifications that are required, and the system will provide a side-by-side comparison by machine type, model and builder.

This is part three of a three-part series about buying machine tools.

Find more insights about acquiring a new machining center by visiting the Techspex Knowledge Center, “Guide to Buying Machine Tools.”

This blog post was adapted from an article by Barry Rogers published in the Machine/Shop supplement to Modern Machine Shop magazine.


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