Outsource CNC Precision Cutting or Invest in your own Equipment?

cncblogLarge and small manufacturers alike are always looking for the most cost-efficient ways to run their operation. When you need precision-cut parts and pieces, you have to weigh your options. Will it make more sense to buy your own equipment or outsource the task? Here are some factors to consider if you want to buy a machine:

Consider the entire cost of the initial investment. The machine you might buy will depend on your needed capabilities. Low-end models range from $4,000 to $25,000, and when you get to the high-end models, you’re looking at $150,000 and up. That isn’t the only initial cost to tally, though. In addition, you need to factor in:

  • Shipping and installation. The machines weigh anything from a few hundred pounds to several tons. Find out how this influences your cost from the vendor. To get it installed, you may need to reinforce floors, widen doorways, or make other structural changes to safely fit and keep the machine.
  • Training. Your machine only works as well as the person operating it. You need to train staff to properly and safely use it.
  • Software. The machine also needs a design software package to program the tool path. Many of them require an annual license fee. A complete package usually goes for anywhere between $2,000 and $15,000.

Consider ongoing costs. Annual consumables include things like tooling, lubricants, repairs, and spare parts as well as any upgrades you want to make. It also includes energy costs to run it, space it’s taking up, and how much you’re paying people to operate it. You may also pay for a longer warranty if the manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t cover you well enough.

Consider troubleshooting and support. What do you do if the parts you designed don’t work with the equipment or system the way they’re needed? Do you have experienced engineers who can solve the problem?

Before you buy a machine, you need to determine whether you’ll use it enough to overcome the costs associated with owning and running it. If you’re unsure, add up the costs we described above. Talk to some companies that do CNC cutting and get estimates for the kinds of jobs you need done. Compare the numbers – how many outsourced jobs does it take to break even?

If you need CNC cutting, and buying a machine isn’t right for you, contact Packnet. There is no minimum order, and we can handle large-scale requests. Our 5’ x 10’ Omnitech routers have an 8-position automatic tool changer and 9-position vertical-boring block to create simple or complex patterns quickly will little downtime. Let us know what you need: 952-944-9124; click here for a free assessment.