When Should You Replace Your Conveyor System?

Jun 16, 2022
conveyor repair vs replacement

Sometimes it's hard to know when to replace a conveyor instead of repair it. Here are some guidelines to follow.

Conveyor wear is inevitable for most warehouse and production facilities. Conveyors can work flawlessly for years, and then almost overnight, it seems like you are constantly halting production and calling in technicians. If you find this description all too familiar, it may be time to get a new conveyor system.

Sometimes it's hard to tell when it's finally time to do something. Replacing a conveyor is costly and it’s important to get all the use you can out of such a significant capital investment. On the other hand, at some point lost productivity and frequent maintenance expenses will outweigh the cost of replacement.

When To Start Considering Replacement

Your conveyor system is built to last for many years, but eventually it will wear out.  If you are experiencing frequent outages, start documenting the cost of service and parts, along with down time for each outage event. This can help you build a business case for replacement.

Also keep seasonal demands in mind as you consider whether you need a new conveyor. Would a prolonged outage right before the holiday season be devastating to your operation?

Would More Modern Equipment Improve Your Efficiency?

Warehouse technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades.  More sophisticated conveyor equipment and integration with modern software systems may actually improve your efficiency and productivity, which can often cost-justify equipment replacement on its own. 

In other words, keeping that old conveyor system around may actually be costing you money.  Between outages, frequent maintenance and opportunity cost, you may be far better off replacing your system now. 

Is Your Older Conveyor System Appropriate For Your Current Volume?

Conveyors get more and more use as operations grow, and systems often become inadequate after a few years. If your conveyor system is struggling to keep up with your current volume, it may be time to replace it, even if it still has some useful life left.

Oftentimes, businesses will replace their conveyors in conjunction with some other event like a warehouse move, redesign, or automation effort.  

Is Your Conveyor System Becoming Obsolete?

Material handling technology advances every year. What may have been a state-of-the-art conveyor system 20 years ago may now be an outdated clunker.  Manufactures move on, and eventually they stop supporting and supplying parts for outdated machinery.  While you may be able to keep things running by finding used parts or scouring Ebay, those are not a long term solution to a growing problem.  

When parts begin to fail and you can’t easily find replacements for them, it’s a good indicator that you should start considering a new system. 

Can You Justify The Total Cost Of Ownership For Your Conveyor?

Even with regular, meticulous maintenance, components of your conveyor will start to fail with enough use and at some point the total cost of ownership does not justify keeping the equipment online. If you had a car with 200,000 miles on it that was essentially worthless on the used market, would you spend $4,000 for an engine rebuild? Probably not, you would just buy a new car. 

The same idea applies to warehouse equipment. At some point, it just makes sense to replace it, and you may find the benefits of more modern equipment to be well worth the purchase price.

Call The Conveyor Experts

If you think it may be time to consider upgrading your conveyor system, talk to a material handling expert at Raymond West today.