When buying an expensive cnc machine a lot of people tend not to read the small print. They think that the small print, like the terms and conditions, is standard for all companies and they don't matter. Even when people do read the T&C, the salesman will often dismiss the customer's questions by saying "all small print is like this, it's just lawyer talk, I can catergorically reassure you that....". Well, I say the T&C do matter and they vary massively from company to company. One of the issues that always occurs in the T&C is the warrantee.
I feel that if a manufacturer is confident of their product, they will give a good warrantee. If the manufacturer knows that there are problems with their machines they will give a poor warrantee to avoid any future repercussions. I think that warrantees tell a great deal about the quality of the product. We only have to look at the example of cars. Cars never used to come with warrantess but as the manufacturers improved them and they became more reliable, manufacturers started offering warrantees. Today, warrantees that come with new cars are common place and they are steadily getting longer and longer. I bought a new car 2 years ago and it came with a 3 year warrantee. Now I am hearing of 5 year warrantees. My feeling is, this philosophy can be applied to cnc machines.
I have just looked at the warrantees for two German manufacturers, Homag and Holzher. The warrantees they give are an improvement on the warrantees that SCM or MW give. Homag and Holzher give a one years warrantee and the only iffy part of it is that they do not guaranatee on any third party components that their machines contain. I pointed out to Homag that this was ridiculus because how do I know what third products their machines are made up from? I asked him if he would be prepared to change this and put it in writing and he said yes. He also said the ones years warrantee was also negotiable. If he is telling the truth, this is the only real full warrantee that I have come across so far.
Another good warrantee that I have come across is from 'Ney' that they give with their Busellato machines. They give a 3 years warantee and the only iffy thing in it is that the electric components are not guaranteed for electric spikes from the supply. How can anyone tell the difference between the machine breaking down from a spike in the supply or from just a faulty part? I don't think this is possible. They did hint that this maybe this would be negotiable. Nevertheless this is still one of the better warrantees.
I have made my own leaderboard of how good I think each manufacturer's warrantee is without negotiation.:-
1) Homag/Holzher. These two have virtually no exclusions.
2) Ney. This one is good but needs tweeking.
3) SCM, you have to read the T&C on this one, a bit complex really.
4) MW, by the time you have taken all the exclusions off, I can't identify what is left. Come on MW, you can do better than this.
You could argue that a poor warrantee is given to keep costs down on a machine but I feel, this is a poor excuse. There should be a period of time, no matter how short, after the commissioning of a machine where the manufacturer is confident enough in their machine to give a 'full warrantee' and not a 'limited warrantee'.
Another thing to consider is the speed in which a machine is to be repaired when it is under warrantee. This is a very complex issue and depends on what goes wrong with the machine and what parties are involved. If a company has a thousands machines in a particular area and there is only one mechanic to do warrantee work, how long will it take before he gets round to you? I would suggest a maximum response time of an engineer coming to look at your machine of about 2 days if the problem cannot be rectified online. If the problem is mechanical I suggest no longer than one week to repair. If it is a software issue then this becomes complicated as third parties are involved and I wouldn't know what to suggest for this.
Last edited by thinkingcnc; 02-12-2009 at 06:09 PM.
Here in the US, we've had HolzHer machines for 20 years and have been very happy with their support and service. But that may not have any relevance to how they operate in Europe.
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(Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)