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A Genuine Bargain or More Than You Bargained For?

The old adage, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true is relevant in all aspects of life. Let’s face it in times of austerity we’re all seeking a bargain. But some (so called) bargains are just not worth the ultimate price you have to pay when it all goes wrong and one place you really can’t afford for it to go wrong is in the melting shop.

Since our eager teenage years, we’ve all spent a lifetime learning that the supped-up, turbo charged dream car that usually comes with a hefty price tag to match that appears to be going cheap in the classifieds might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Even the one careful female driver and ridiculously low mileage claims (honest guv!) aren’t necessarily what they seem. So if you wouldn’t buy a used car without some serious investigation and consideration, why would you risk buying a used furnace without the same attention to detail and keen-eyed scepticism?

Cost, I hear you answer! Well are you sure, are you really, really sure that the costs are so different for the right piece of equipment for the tasks you have in hand? 

Second-hand equipment may provide a solution for a company with immediate needs and the desire to keep costs low and that can, on occasions, be a sensible route. But for the sake of a telephone call to a world-leading expert why take the risk? If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution to short, medium and long-term production plans, talking to a supplier that has built a reputation of providing quality solutions however large or small the job is, must surely be your first port of call!

Steve Hill of induction melting experts Inductotherm Europe Ltd has seen and heard the horror stories and he says there’s one simple solution. “Sometimes brand new is not as expensive as people think, and often a refurbished furnace is just as costly. Sometimes it is more cost-effective and we can come up with a solution that suits everyone. The point is all anyone who wants induction melting has to do is talk to us before they commit to buying anything else. We can supply the latest furnaces on the market, can look at a foundry’s existing melting facilities and suggest upgrades, or we can source existing furnaces and refurbish them for a foundry. All we ask is that people talk to us first about what their requirements are and their budget constraints before committing to buying anything. We also have some lease and hire options available to ease the process.”

Having seen the consequences of shoddy workmanship and false economies, Steve and his colleagues know all too well what can happen if the wrong decision is taken. 

“It’s not cut and dry as to whether new is better or even cheaper. Each case must be considered on its own merit. If existing melting facilities are over 30 years old, refurbishment may not be worth it but on some occasions the furnaces can be re-used with the addition of new power supplies. If equipment is between 15 to 20 years old, refurbishment is often a worthwhile exercise.”

One company to take advantage of Inductotherm’s expertise and advice is Russell Ductile Castings Ltd in Scunthorpe which commissioned the furnace manufacturer to rebuild one of the foundry’s furnaces to bring it up to modern standards and improved melting capabilities including converting the machine into kw/hr. Foundry manager John Harwood was keen to tell Foundry Trade Journal about the teamwork that helped the company out. “We had a failure on the 1250kW VIP POWER TRAK and needed to sort out the problem. Although the furnace was about 15 years old, the major components were still there and so we felt confident that an upgrade was the answer for us. We discussed the issue with Inductotherm and the solution they came up with was about half the cost of a new furnace and, with the production levels being satisfied by the existing one, we opted for a refurbishment.

“We were delighted with the very tight turnaround from Inductotherm. They completed the rebuild in two weeks over the Christmas and New Year shutdown which meant no disruption for us. It was the sensible decision for us at the time and I can honestly say that the results have been excellent. We’ve had one hundred per cent out of the furnace in the two years since the refurbishment and I would recommend chatting to the guys at Droitwich before talking to anyone else.”

This is just one example, others include foundries in the UK and refurbished furnaces in Hungary (with Inductotherm providing the power supply and sister company EMSCO the upgraded furnace), and Spain.

Steve Hill says the important thing to remember is not to buy in haste and end up with a furnace that isn’t fit for purpose or worse, one that is low in efficiency with high kilowatt per hour consumption and prolonged melting rates. “When you speak to us you are recognising you need efficiency and support. Even if you are buying second hand equipment, you still need support as it’s not just about buying the furnace; you need to ensure you have the right power supply and are getting the best out of your melting equipment otherwise, whatever you paid, it’s going to cost you much more than you bargained for in the future.”

Contact: Steve Hill, Inductotherm Europe Ltd, The Furlong, Berry Hill, Droitwich, Worcestershire WR9 9AH United Kingdom. 
Tel: +44 (0) 1905 795100
Fax: +44 (0) 1905 795138
email: [email protected]