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Who Is Testing Your Machines?
If it’s not your vendor, it’s you

All new machines get tested … eventually. The question is whether you’d prefer your vendor to test it, or whether you end up doing the testing on the production floor. With the machine in full use, you will run that machine more hours in one week than any vendor will be able to replicate at their facility. Custom machines in particular, by their very nature, will experience at least some issues upon start up. The question is: Does your vendor do everything they can to minimize these issues and their potential impact on your operations?

Great engineering is the first step toward a machine that does exactly what you need it to. But testing is what gets a machine ready for production. The better the testing process, the less likely you will find problems once the machine is running on your production floor. Unfortunately, this part of the process often does not get enough attention.

All too often, companies receive machines that are built but not tested thoroughly. And if you’re facing tight delivery schedules for your products, relying on an untested machine could be a risk – to your production as well as your own reputation.

The trick is that you can’t tell if a machine has been tested just by looking at it. From the outside, a tested machine looks exactly like an untested machine. Even a run off won’t catch every potential issue. Here are three questions to ask your vendor so you can be sure your machine is thoroughly tested and production-ready.

1. Do you have a documented risk assessment process?
The strongest vendors take the time to identify potential risks every step of the way, from the moment they receive your order to the moment your machine leaves their dock.

The goal of risk assessment is to identify the potential failure points in every process. Once a weak point has been identified, it can then be rectified and solved. Many times, however, these weak points aren’t obvious. Therefore, smart vendors rely not just on an individual to conduct risk assessment but a team of experts, each with their own areas of specialty and experience, focused solely on searching out weak points that need to be addressed, so they can proactively be solved.

2. Do you have a documented testing process?
When it comes to testing, a documented process will ensure that every machine is tested in exactly the same way. Because many individuals may be involved in the design and production of your machine...

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