Updating Test Equipment

5 replies [Last post]
mlamendola's picture
Joined: 2013-11-13

I don't have a horse in this particular race; that is, I don't represent any test equipment manufacturers or get any compensation from any of them. Yet, I am very impressed at the new equipment that's regularly introduced.
The new features often save time and improve safety. I hear that from actual users. When I worked in manufacturing as a plant engineer, it was hard to build a case with management to pay for new test equipment.
Does anyone have comments on this? Are there technical reasons to NOT upgrade? Are the technical reasons compelling for the technicians and electricians, but somehow that doesn't translate into a compelling case for the bean counters?
As an example of what I'm talking about, consider trying to buy a couple of power analyzers. The bean counters may ask what you hope to measure that you aren't measuring now and how that's going to pay for itself. What do you tell them?

rbarnett's picture
Joined: 2014-03-04

One thing for sure is test equipment is one heckuva lot safer than it used to be. My standard answer to the bean counters would be "energy savings, increased plant efficiency and reduced downtime."
Of course, it would help immensely to have some numbers to throw out.

PetrosA's picture
Joined: 2013-12-24

If it's the bean counters you're worried about, you need to take a pragmatic approach. Describe your need in detail, then offer a list of tools that would satisfy that need. If your old tools can do something similar, what will be the benefits to buying the new tool? Will it save time? How much time will it save? This will take some work on your part, but that's part of the game. I suspect "improving safety" may not be enough of an argument for them. Are the old tools unsafe? Do the old tools no longer comply with safety requirements that you need to meet? Give them facts.

mdshunk's picture
Joined: 2014-03-14

When buying new test equipment that can test for things not previously diagnosed, I sometimes find it helpful to first hire the work done. When you have delays in work orders waiting to get on the third party's schedule, possible upcharges for overtime/emergency work, plus the normal billing for a tech and the test equipment rental, it's easy to "prove" that the equipment needs to be owned and ready for use.

SCEPowerQuality's picture
Joined: 2014-06-04

Many of the manufacturers will list certain products as no longer being supported. This can be one way of justifying a replacement as you may not be able to obtain software for the latest operating system. If it is a DMM you're looking to upgrade, features such as a built in current clamp can be justified by taking into account the additional expense of calibrating an external current clamp or purchasing one if you don't have one already. I agree with mdshunk regarding the ready to use approach, particularly when faced with an emergency situation. However, be honest and realistic with your needs, some of the latest equipment is really just fancy packaging of the same hardware with features such as tablet apps to read the data. If you can't get a company tablet this feature is not worth upgrading for.

Sparky43207's picture
Joined: 2015-04-03

One of the reasons I give is reliability. My test equipment is used to keep the plant operational and diagnose/repair malfunctions. The quicker I can do that, the more product out the door. It may take several older instruments to do what what one may do now. Increased safety is also a good reason.

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