Getting Ready to Purchase a New Mixer? Tips on How to Justify the Capital Expenditure
Purchase of new mixing equipment is typically not a hasty event. Unless an unexpected challenge abruptly hit your operations such as a sudden failure of an existing mixer or a right-now sales opportunity demanding an unprecedented spike in production, process engineers generally have time to prepare for what could be a serious expenditure. As with any capital investment, the purchase of a new mixing system ideally requires time and research. Getting the project approved entails a sound evaluation of your goals, your company's business needs and all technical and financial options available to you.
What is your goal?
By purchasing a new mixer, what will it ultimately accomplish? Increased production is an all too easy answer. If you can adjust the scope of your goal to include reduction of existing problems, from say frequent power overloads to recurrent maintenance nightmares, then the new mixer becomes the answer to many problems. List a complete set of benefits that requires exactly the features a new mixer will provide. Some examples:
- Savings in energy consumption.
- Cleaner operation – less after-batch clean up, less dusting, better working conditions for mixer operators.
- Improved end product – increased batch-to-batch consistency, elimination of entrapped air contributing to better product appearance, fewer reworks or rejects, ability to extend the functionality of raw materials, etc.
- Shorter mixing cycle, heating/cooling time, or discharge time.
- Elimination of downstream deaeration steps.
- Smaller footprint.
- Less rigorous maintenance schedule and fewer parts replacements.
- Reduced dependence on operator skills (i.e. minimal training required for operators to efficiently run the new mixer).
- Safer environment for employees
Your request for a new mixer must also fit your company's long-term goals. It makes no sense to install a new mixer if your company plans to outsource production by next year. In terms of the big picture, what will a new mixer achieve? Consider that this can result in overall increase in product out the door only if mixing is the production bottleneck. Otherwise, increasing output from your mixer or mixers means you're only going to make mixed product sit idle longer. You're only as fast as your slowest operation.