Although the shelves at timing-control equipment manufacturers are filled with shiny, new, ready-made gearboxes, the engineers and technicians at the best manufacturers understand that technical support is key to customer satisfaction. For many applications, it is the extra effort—beyond meeting the product literature specs—that helps a client be successful.
John Neary, engineering manager at QuadTech, gives an example. “I was designing a piece of equipment for the print industry that had to work in a very harsh, hot environment,” he said. The off-the-shelf differential gearbox failed because the lubricant burned off and the equipment shut down. John worked with his supplier and they developed a new method for lubrication that allowed his equipment to keep running.
Another example comes from Omar Dozal, tooling engineer at Valeo Engine Design. Dozal was looking for a timing component to precisely cut the fins on a radiator. He found a company that made precision equipment for the print industry and contacted them to see if they would be interested in supporting his design. They were willing to take on the challenge and ten years later his machine is still running—with no maintenance to the gearbox. “Any time I have a technical question,” says Dozal, “their tech support people help me. They know their stuff.”
Retrofitting an existing line also requires customization and technical support. Steve Zabran, engineering manager at TMI – Tishma Innovations, found himself in this situation recently with a distillery using antiquated systems for filling bottles. They were having significant downtime to adjust for backlash and for product changeover; they needed an update and the equipment had to fit in with the pre-existing line. Zabran said that tech support and follow-up from the gearbox supplier was key to his success with the application. “The tech support person stopped by on his way to work in the morning to make sure we were doing okay,” said Zabran. The distillery loves the new system, saying it is “spot-on.”
Cookie-cutter solutions are great for many applications, but a good timing device manufacturer will also provide customization and tech support. When you select a gearbox or coupling device for a tricky application, remember to look for a supplier with extensive experience and technical knowledge. A local supplier can also make a world of difference in support and follow-up. The extra effort you take to find the right supplier will improve the success of your company, your equipment, and your career.