So what to do when an old system breaks or your customer requires a test that cannot be performed with your existing machine? Do you replace the machine with a new one or do you upgrade/retrofit the existing machine?
When considering the purchase of a new or upgrade of an existing hydraulic testing machine of 60,000 lb capacity or higher it is almost always less expensive to upgrade the existing machine. New 60,000 lb and 400,000 lb hydraulic testing machines cost between $50,000-55,000 and $150,000- 200,000, respectively. In general, retrofits cost between $500, for the integration of a simple digital indicator, to $35,000 for a new servo-hydraulic power unit with a Windows-based materials testing system. As a rule, the dollar savings increase as the capacity of the machine increases. So, a retrofit would save well over $100,000 on a large machine and tens of thousands of dollars on a smaller machine.
In addition to the direct machine costs, there are other considerations that come into play.
You have to consider your investment in grips, fixtures and test jigs for your existing machine(s) – the larger the investment, the greater the replacement expense. Another common situation is that all of a company’s machines are identical and it is best from a fixturing, training and maintenance standpoint to keep it that way. In some cases, either because of contractual terms or regulations, new machines would require recertification. Finally, there is the very pressing situation when your existing machine has failed and you need a quick repair and the lead time for a new machine is too long. Retrofits can be installed at the customer’s site in one to three days.